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How To: Get a Duplicate Driving License

12th January, 2011

What would India be without 'Puchtaach'?The Indian government is an interesting machine. While some parts are well-oiled and run full speed (think Telecom and Aviation), other parts are rusted and dilapidated chunks that should be retired. According to Murphy and his rather accurate laws, I always have to deal with the latter.

So without further adieu, I present to you: How to get a Duplicate Driving License and Not Pay Anything More Than a Paper Clip!

Step 1: Lose your Driving License

I believe that losing your driving license is the most important step. It’s vitally crucial to all of mankind that you to complete this, without which it would be impossible for you to continue to the next step.

There are multiple ways to lose your driving license. You could ask your friend Rohonesh to keep it for a day, he’ll surely lose it. Or you could take a crowded 9:00 am bus to office, like I did, and get pick pocketed for free!

(I even wore my bag in the front, like they do in Mumbai’s locals, and kept my phone and wallet inside my bag. The [very professional] bugger managed to open the bag’s front zip, pull out my wallet, close it and open another zip before I got off the bus. A total travel time of 5 minutes.)

Somehow, you feel happy it was a fine professional job. At least you’re weren’t like Rohonesh.

Step 2: File a Police Complaint

Ah, you’ve lost your wallet / purse? Ensured that apart from easily-replaceable items like credit cards and debit cards you’ve lost your driving license too? Great job, you! Keep up the good work. Remember, victory shall be yours!

The  process for a duplicate driving license starts here!

Do ensure that you go to your nearest Police Station and file a complaint. Remember, you’ll have to file a complaint in the station that was nearest to the place you lost your wallet, not nearest to your house. A complaint would be a handwritten letter signed by the person-in-charge. It’s nice to have a photocopy of your driving license to mention the DL number. Do note that the police would prefer you mention ‘lost wallet’ rather than ‘stolen wallet’, but I’d leave this fight to you.

And if the ‘person-in-charge’ asks for some lunch money, tell him/her that you just lost your wallet. And show them the puppy face. It works – really!

Step 3: Visit your Friendly Neighbourhood RTO

I lost my wallet in Bangalore, so I went to the nearest RTO (Road Transport Office?) to get a duplicate made. I did some online research before that and I knew exactly which form to fill, etc. In fact Karnataka’s government website has some really helpful information!

The weekend after my wallet was stolen I went to the Bangalore RTO. Kayaking through a sea of touts (who were haggling to ‘help me’ as if I was a customer at a fish market), I went straight to get a form and filled it up. It was simple and easy. Went up to the desk to submit my papers ..

And they told me to go home. It turns out that my driving license was issued in Delhi, and only there can I get my duplicate made. This moment is also known as the WTF moment.

Step 4: Travel to your Hometown

So I waited two-and-a-half months before I could take any action. That’s when I went home but, alas, I was busy with too many social engagements to go to the RTO there. (Yes, an evening spent in a staring competition with your dog counts as a social engagement.)

It was in my next trip home, a month-and-a-half later, that I actually got down to business.

Step 5: Stand in a Few Queues

Target: Sheik Sarai RTO, New Delhi

The street was empty, littered with election pamphlets, devoid of any cacophony. The wind picked up the sand and blew it on our faces. My nemesis and I. In a duel. Out in the Wild Wild West.

I could hear the pulse of his beat twenty paces away. He wore his stupid tweed jacket, laced with his blood from the fight indoors. All for a glass of water. But this was the Wild Wild West, and people would die for such things. He would die for such things.

Stop With the Western, Will You?

Oh right. Back to the RTO. I day-dream a lot.

Outside, there was an “Enquiry” booth that handed out forms too, so I picked up the L.L.D form for a duplicate driving license (pictured above!). After filling it up, I attached a photocopy of my previous driving license, the acknowledgement of the police complaint, and a self-attested medical declaration form.

(Interesting bit: the medical declaration form has around ten Yes/No questions, but the questions are framed such that some answers are Yes, some are No. Very smart – you can’t ‘do a Rohonesh’ by circling all the ‘Yes’es! It’s a small little test in ‘attention to detail’)

I had to stand in Booth 1 and when it was my turn to submit my form I was asked to get a photocopy of the L.L.D form. Argh. Repeated the procedure to finally submit my form. Without any dramatic effort or thunderous sound, they told me to come a week later. This was my second WTF moment.

Step 6: Stand in a Lot More Queues

So I returned, exactly a week later, to show my face.

Stood in Booth 1 to pick up my form and was told to go to Booth 6 for Data Entry. I noticed what they took a week for: a computer printout of my prior driving license details. Anyways, stood for 20 minutes in the queue for Booth 6, and got a ‘number’ after the data entry was done. What I really liked was that the booth had a monitor facing the customer, so he could see the spelling of all the stuff being typed. Very cool touch.

After getting my ‘number’ I stood in the horrendously long line at Booth 2 for payment. Quite funny that when it comes to payment, the RTO has the longest and slowest line! Stood for 30 minutes and paid the exact fare (Rs. 200/- as of this writing) and got a receipt. Poor touts must have felt sad.

Step 7: Get your Photograph Clicked

After all this, I had to go and stand in a long line at Booth 9. That is where I actually got my photograph clicked, finger scanned and signature taken. All very digital very cool. It was funny how the touts were trying to get their clients to butt in – we called them the “Extra Fees ki Line”.

As a final step, you get your entire bunch of papers signed by one person who cross-verifies everything. He even asked me if the police complaint was correct (it was in Kannada after all, I’m sure he couldn’t understand) and asked me to show my original address proof.

And that was it! With my form submitted, my driving license was sent to me via Speed Post and it reached me within two days. WOW! It’s a fancy one too – a proper smart-card to store my information.


Step 8: Nirula’s Hot Chocolate Fudge to Celebrate

It was quite a herculean task – but I managed to pull through. Ignored the touts, stood in all the lines in a building that was almost about to collapse (due to the pressure of all the paan-thook). For all this effort, I deserved an over-priced under-sized Nirula’s Hot Chocolate Fudge. Yes.

And so do you, reading through 1300 words of utter rubbish after a long hiatus. I sympathize with you all, I really do!

Photo Credits: Me! Woha!

56 Comments leave one →
  1. 12th January, 2011 6:05 PM

    I guess such a structured post requires a structured comment as well.
    1. I believe you nailed the fact that the first step is the most critical. Also, I must commend the very subtle example that was used as to how one can complete the first step.
    2. Good touch in complimenting the work of the pick pocket. Most of the times the efforts of these people are under-appreciated. Extremely professional and efficient handiwork on his part. I am sure he would be proud if could read this post.
    3. Please post a picture of the “Puppy Face”. Would make things much easier to understand.
    4. Completely agree with your example of a Social Engagement.
    5. The entire process cost Rs. 200/-. Yahoo must be paying you very well if 200 bucks is what you pay for a paper clip.
    6. What is “Woha! ???”

    Oh, and congratulations on completing the Herculean task with only 2 WTF moments while battling touts, braving through long queues amidst the ‘paan thook’ across two cities (And the Wild Wild West)

    Apologies for the long and infuriating comment, but I am jobless and irritated at work right now.

    • 12th January, 2011 10:29 PM

      Dear jobless and irritated-at-work,

      Thank you so much for dropping by. Maalik I will never forget this gesture. Never.

      Also, Rohonesh’s track record is quite impeccable. Remember all the things he’s lost? Impressive list. Impressive.

      And yes, I had only 2 WTF moments. Not bad na? Thank you thank you!

  2. 12th January, 2011 7:23 PM

    So, the RCA is “never lose an INDIAN driving license” :). Peace!

    • 12th January, 2011 10:33 PM

      Methinks you have great analytical skills! Hehe!

  3. 12th January, 2011 8:26 PM


    Lol at all the Rohonesh “jabs” that you’ve taken.

    My damn DL is in tatters… do i have to go get this cool smart card DL too. 😐 Noooooooo

    • 12th January, 2011 10:35 PM

      You managed to read till the end? Wow. I dozed off in the middle!

      Plus, I couldn’t resist taking pot-shots at Rohonesh. He’s the epitome of losing-everything-ness!

      You have a book-type driving license? You should really upgrade to this smart card one, it’s awesome!

  4. 13th January, 2011 11:10 AM

    I called for it, didn’t I? And it was suuuper worth it. The post made-up for your absence. It was a WAHR! You are wondering what it means, go figure it out.

    Lesson learnt- my driving license which till yesterday went everywhere with me is now safely kept at home. I can find better reasons to celebrate with a Hot Chocolate Fudge

    • 13th January, 2011 2:55 PM

      WAHR? WAHR? Whaat is WAHR? Please tell us, the non-cool kids, what WAHR means!

      This whole process was rather simple. Really. You just have to accept that it will mean standing in a few lines for a few hours for a few days. That’s it! Hehe!

      And thanks for prepping me up to get back to writing! Some more coming up 🙂

  5. 13th January, 2011 3:00 PM

    Umm actually I don’t understand all these acronyms too so sometimes I just create my own for the heck of it… WAHR means – what a hilarious read!!! 😉 🙂

    I can sound super silly at times, bear please!

    • 13th January, 2011 5:11 PM

      WAHR to your comment! I think you’ve started a trend here – I’ll use WAHR everywhere I go! Oh awesome awesome 🙂

      (Funny thing, though, but I read ‘bear please’ as ‘beer please’. I think you’ve inspired me to have a beer tonight!)

  6. 13th January, 2011 3:28 PM

    The good part is that we learn to smile in all situations!!!

    • 13th January, 2011 5:12 PM

      Yes – there are great payouts at the end of the tunnel! This fancy smartcard driving license is very hep!

  7. 13th January, 2011 5:14 PM

    Haha, really?? WATD!

    next time you come to Delhi I will take you to this ‘ Beer only’ Cafe- a must check out

    • 13th January, 2011 5:23 PM

      I like you already :D. Are you talking about that cafe where you can see how the beer is made? (I think that one is in Gurgaon, don’t remember the name!)

  8. 13th January, 2011 5:27 PM

    No its not Rockman’s which is a micro-brewery in Gurgaon. This place is called The Beer Cafe and trust me its heaven for beer guzzlers 🙂 🙂

    • 14th January, 2011 11:09 AM

      Hehe … cool! Will catch up next time I’m there!

  9. 13th January, 2011 6:35 PM

    LOL…..I too have had a duplicate made but I didn’t suffer so many WTF moments. Dude, your license is always remade where you got it originally, unless and until you show proof that you have changed residence and then apply for a new one. Always read the fine print. 😛
    Anyway, enough gyaan. Nice post. 🙂

    • 14th January, 2011 11:09 AM

      Ah, the fine print. Always shoots us in the foot!

    • avinashsharma permalink
      30th March, 2011 2:42 PM

      Hi Kartikay,

      Awesome article, so if I no longer stay in delhi and i don’t have any proof for the previous delhi address, I should not think of applying for a duplicate (broken my license).


    • 30th March, 2011 6:10 PM

      Oh well, not in Delhi at least! These guys do try to ensure that your story matches up – you were / are residing in Delhi to apply for a DL from Delhi.

      I would suggest that you apply for a new driving license from your current place of residence (you do need that proof of address!)

  10. tangyorangesour permalink
    14th January, 2011 12:28 AM

    vivid description, nice.

  11. 15th January, 2011 12:25 PM

    Who the F&*^ is Rohonesh? Does he even exist? But the post was worth the wait – couldn’t stop chuckling.
    My favourite – Step1

    And the sinfully sweet ending. Where’ my share??

    • 17th January, 2011 9:09 AM

      Hehe! Rohonesh is an actual living entity with flesh, bones and an extremely nimble mind. He’s a good friend who has a knack (God-gifted knack) to lose things.

      Sinfully sweet ending? Hehe! Though I’m disappointed these days – the memories of the HCF in my school days are blinding me from accepting the fact that it stinks now!

  12. 31st January, 2011 2:28 PM

    What a riot this was. Extremely well written , hilarious and engrossing. Rohonesh sounds much like Joey in F.R.I.E.N.D.S 🙂 Can’t wait to read more of your ‘adventures’. And btw, the last I heard, the touts are going on a morcha 🙂 to protest the injustice meted out to them (i.e., their rightful pound of, being given to Nirula’s :-))

    • 31st January, 2011 4:53 PM

      Thanks a lot thanks a lot and thanks a lot! Rohonesh is indeed a Joey – you got that right!

      From what you describe, I think the touts are suffering from bouts of bad mouths! Sad rhyme, I’m sorry.

  13. 6th March, 2011 12:15 PM

    Am sure many people are going to google this “How to” and reach here!
    I m not one of them 😛 FYI
    This was one hilarious post!
    And who is this rohonesh guy who has left this great impression on ur life!! 😀

    • 6th March, 2011 9:33 PM

      Oh you haven’t (yet) lost your driving licence? Pity. Anyways, good luck always favours the brave. (I’m talking about me here! Hehe!)

      Rohonesh is quite a character, I can tell you that. He’s lost so many mobile phones that he though the only way to arrest his sad fate was to purchase an iPhone. How stupid can one get? Man!

  14. Kunal Naithani permalink
    18th April, 2012 7:16 PM

    Amazing post +1
    could you just tell me the details bout the police complaint you filed, since i am in the exact same position as you ?
    Did the police guys give you a CMiss receipt(Small piece of paper) or were you able to wiggle out a proper FIR from them ?

    • 18th April, 2012 9:12 PM

      Hi Kunal,

      I actually got an FIR made. The policemen were quite helpful, barring the fact that I could only mention that I lost my wallet. I do hope you get an FIR made, it might prevent a lot of problems later on!

      Thanks for dropping by!

  15. kasam permalink
    4th May, 2012 7:30 PM

    dude i want a duplicate drivin licence!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    wat to do??????????????????????????????????????????????????

    • 7th May, 2012 11:10 AM

      Hey Kasam!

      I guess you’ll need to tell me some more info. Where are you located? Did you lose your earlier driving license? etc etc!

  16. Ghochu permalink
    5th June, 2012 6:39 PM


  17. Anupam permalink
    30th July, 2012 10:59 PM

    i lost my earlier licence and don’t have a photocopy or its number 😦 any ideas for such situation?

    • 4th September, 2012 11:38 AM

      Hmm .. tricky situation. I’d suggest starting over: learner’s license and then applying for a new driver’s license!

  18. 4th September, 2012 10:02 AM

    my liesence was washed out and i have its number so wat i do to make duplicate lisence.

    • 4th September, 2012 11:39 AM

      Do you still have the license with you? If you do, you can use the original (along with all other documents) while applying for a duplicate.

  19. Bibhash permalink
    5th September, 2012 11:31 PM

    I can so surely relate here buddy, I m here cause I m dumb strucked by this scenario right now….wish me luck for the proceedings !!

    • 6th September, 2012 12:32 AM

      Oh you need it! Best of luck there!

  20. bepenfriendsbert permalink
    26th September, 2012 9:41 PM

    Me it is simple when i lost my license @ banglaore

    File for another LLR and in another month get the actual license. Now i am a local citizen where i can use license to get every other things that need to be done.

    • 26th September, 2012 10:17 PM

      You, sir, are very smart! You’ve become a proper local citizen and that will help you in a million things! Smart going!

  21. NRI from Canada permalink
    9th October, 2012 10:24 AM

    Wow ! Getting things done in India without paying a Bribe is a miracle in itself. I am surprised these corrupt babus did not ask you to grease their palms. 3-4 trips to get things done in India is normal :).. You should be actually shocked if things get done in one trip 🙂

    • 9th October, 2012 11:42 AM

      Things are changing, and changing for good!

      I’m not denying that there are touts who can get your driving licenses without any effort, but I vehemently detest them. They – along with us – promote the system of bribery. By not giving them my business, and instead roughing it out standing in queues, I feel I’m doing my bit 😀

      Supply and demand after all.

  22. 18th October, 2012 9:04 AM

    I was to go with my younger brother to help him get his learner’s license made. We were discussing about how funny the photographs on the driving licenses are. They clearly narrate the day you were there standing in the queues at the RTO cursing the govt. and their deeds. To show my photograph on the license I reached for my wallet and…
    It wasn’t there! Since when? God!! Why me? Why me?

    Kartikay you atleast had the duplicate. I have none. 😦

    And the photograph of the enquiry booth @ Sheik Sarai RTO brings back memories which were to be forgotten. 😦

    • 23rd October, 2012 6:45 PM

      Shit! That’s horrible! (The timing couldn’t have been worse!) Hope you’ve been able to get a new license.

      Plus, you should frame the Sheik Sarai photograph. Yes, you should!

  23. sadiq ali permalink
    28th November, 2012 12:55 PM

    hey i lost my license 5 year ago, i have only number but don’t have photo copy of it, so can i applied for duplicate license?? kindly goude me

    • 28th November, 2012 2:43 PM

      That’s a really long time! Wow!

      I would suggest you apply for a licence again. You would have to complete your driving test again, but considering the hassle you would have to go through to prove your innocence that you lost your licence 5 years ago, it should be fine!

  24. Rob permalink
    12th January, 2013 7:48 PM

    Thanks, this article helped me save time. My DL was in bad condition.
    So, I booked an appoinment online-

    On the schedule day, got all the docs attested. Checked with the Enquiry guy, he said that I didn’t need a photocopy of LLD form. He told to go to Booth 9 for online appointment.

    Went straight to Booth 9, got my pic and prints taken. My application was taken before 2 guys already waiting just because of online appointment as clarified by the lady.

    In booth 10, the guy after checking the docs asked for a passport PHOTO to stick on LLD form.

    PHOTO? Thankfully I had a few photos with me.

    It took me 15 mins at the RTO, after 2 working days I got the new DL.

    • 13th January, 2013 12:19 PM

      Thanks Rob for sharing this info. Looks like the process has been simplified since I last rugged it out.

      It’s a wonderful feeling to see this all working, isn’t it? 15 minutes at the RTO, and within 2 days you’ve got your new DL? Wow!

  25. Deepshikha permalink
    25th February, 2014 10:00 PM

    Hilariously hilarious!!! Loved the procedural wtf moments.
    Btw if rohonesh ever feels like meeting rohonesh-2, he can meet my brother. He has lost everything everything everything possibly possible to be lost on earth. He has the biggest stake on Bermuda triangle or the Black holes 😉 .
    And I noticed you haven’t been really active with your posts in 2014. I do not want to be punished as latecomer yet again ( nostalgia of this sort is definitely not happening).

    • 27th February, 2014 10:26 AM

      Rohonesh, oh Rohonesh. He is a cult-classic :D!

      And yes yes yes I will start again. All it takes is one cozy comfy corner, a lazy Sunday afternoon, a bag of nachos and a hot coffee. Maybe even a sandwich. Some calm music? A nice breeze, a rustle of leaves. Comfy pyjamas? A fully-charged laptop?

      That was my laundry list of excuses. Holy smokes I’m good at excuses! Okay, will be back, I’ve got so much to vent!

      Thanks for dropping by Deepshikha, will make sure there’s more for you next time!

  26. 19th October, 2014 1:20 PM

    Nein Nein!! I take that as a personal insult to my dear friend Rohonesh!!

    To set things right, and prove my point: I propose a practical experiment.

    Step 1: Approach Rohonesh when he is upto something that can exhaust one’s grey cells. For instance getting into the car..
    Step 2: Accost him and hand over your driving license; re-iterating the importance of the document, need for safekeeping, etc etc..
    Step 3: Listen to the reassuring barrage of words delivered hurriedly (the creature who is the subject of this discussion is always running late)
    Step 4: As he zips away, start the stopwatch
    Step 5: Just before 5 mins (the record set by your pincher), accost him again and demand the document..

    >>Experiment cocludes

    • 19th October, 2014 6:02 PM

      Hahaha! You know what? I might have to ask YOU to conduct this experiment!

      But anyways, I hear from the grapevine that he’s become much better. I think old age works the opposite way on him. Weird!

  27. lost permalink
    6th July, 2015 3:46 PM

    I had a smart DL to begin with..finger printers, iris scan and all…Do I still have to get my picture taken for the duplicate?

  28. furkan permalink
    19th February, 2016 9:52 PM

    sir mara licence kho gya hi

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