A couple of friends and I are thinking of travelling to India. The idea is to rent a car for a road trip. I am not sure we can drive there.

Two of us have European drivers licenses, the other a US drivers license. I've been looking around and I found plenty of information about driving inside Europe. Particularly EU (European Union), but not much about other countries. I even went to a driving school and asked if I could drive in India. They showed me a list of country's, but India is not listed.

In the other hand I've been speaking with some friends that went there and all of them said they had no trouble. The only issue is that they rented scooters/motorbikes.

Are US / European drivers licenses accepted in India?

  • 2
    @phoog EU - European Union (my mistake, wrote UE first). Why would they accept them? Driver licenses as far as I know are not universal. They are valid for a given country and optionally accepted by others. I assume, but I am not sure, the principle of reciprocity applys, but that's what I want to find out.
    – nsn
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 16:16
  • My second question was just filler to reach the minimum comment length. I'll delete the comment.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 16:22
  • Ever heard of International Driving Permits? Those are translations to your own driving licence and will allow you, in combination with your normal driving licence, to drive in many more countries. Having an English language driving licence might help in not needing it but they do not cost much and might even be helpful in countries they are not needed.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 16:50
  • 4
    1. Traffic in India is very unruly, think twice before deciding to drive yourself ... but ... 2. Its actually cheaper / more common to rent cars with drivers as well, so you can just get a chauffeured ride instead (idk how this would work for cross city/state trips).
    – Alok
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 22:35
  • From what I've heard from multiple friends who have been there, I highly second Alok's comment (and, from personal experience, I'd say the same about the Philippines.) If you're used to U.S. or E.U. traffic, you'll find most South Asian traffic to be very different (and vice versa.) Personally, I would definitely hire a driver or find some other mode of transit.
    – reirab
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 23:20

1 Answer 1


India is a signatory to the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic and recognizes the standard format International Driving Permit.

As long as you are licensed to drive in your country and your country is also a signatory to the convention, you can get an IDP and use it in India.

Assuming your country is a signatory to the convention, there will be an organization which is authorized to issue these permits in your country.
This somewhat old page shows a list of some of the options for different countries.
For example in the USA, the AAA and National Automobile Club both offer this service and in the UK the AA and the Post Office are options.

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