Tourists opt for international driving permits.

From January 1 to November 15 this year, the Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO) has seen a significant increase in the issuance of International Driving Permits (IDPs), reaching a total of 4,576. According to officials, the surge is mainly due to increased demand for short-term travel abroad. In 2022, RTOs issued 4,424 IDPs, showing a significant increase from 1,689 in 2021. The figure fell to 826 in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but rose to 3,607 in 2019.

Previously, most IDP applicants were students and individuals traveling abroad for employment, who required permits for their daily activities. However, the number of tourists applying for international driving licenses has increased significantly in the last two years, an RTO official said.

Pune Regional Transport Officer, Sanjeev Bhor highlighted the significant increase in international driving license applicants, emphasizing that the trend has shifted towards more tourists seeking permits. Given the high cost of renting cars and drivers in various destinations, many tourists find it financially beneficial to carry an international driving license. With this, many Pune residents are opting to rent a car and drive independently to save costs.

Applicants have to undergo a test for international driving license, the RTO verifies their driving license, passport and country visa before issuing the final document. The application process can be completed online through 'Sarthi' service, where applicants can upload the required documents, pay the fee online and get the international driving license within a day.

The International Driving License allows the holder to drive any type of vehicle (except heavy vehicles) in countries that have agreements with the Government of India, such as the United States, South Africa, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. In some countries, the International Driving License is considered a valid identity proof and remains valid for one year.

Don explained that the international driving permit is issued within a day without the need for testing and is valid for one year. If a traveler intends to drive in a foreign country after that period, he or she must apply for a local driving license. Tourists like Michelle D'Souza coming to Germany appreciate the convenience of obtaining an international driving license, reducing additional expenses on drivers and allowing more money to explore other destinations.

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