Driving License Procedure in Pakistan Needs an Upgrade! (Personal Experience)

Driving License Lahore

I have a driver’s license that I got issued from Karachi. It is about to expire and I am currently in Lahore. I went to the Lahore License office in Liberty Lahore to get some information on the renewal procedure. As I reached the office, I saw a lot of people waiting. There were two counters open at that time. One counter was for senior citizens while the other was for the average aged citizens.

Lahore City Traffic Police

There was no one to guide me and I felt completely lost. I saw a traffic police officer nearby and I decided to ask him about the process of renewing a driver’s license. When the traffic police officer found out that my license was issued in Karachi, he told me that it can’t be renewed in Lahore. Then he told me that my NIC must have a Lahore address, for my driver’s license to be renewed in Lahore. He also added, “this applies to everyone, including people with NICs from other districts of Punjab”. I was disappointed and headed back to my car. While heading back to my car, I got an idea of writing a blog on the process of getting a driver’s license. I went back to the officer and asked him a few more questions.

Driving License Lahore

The officer was thankfully cooperative in this regard and told me that it costs Rs.360 to get a learner’s permit (Rs.60 for the ticket, Rs.100 for medical form and Rs.200 as processing fee).  A learner’s permit is valid for a year and I can apply for a proper driver’s license after 42 days. The process for a learner’s permit involves, database entry, medical fitness test, and finally picture capture. He told me, the medical officer checks your eyesight and verifies, whether or not you are mentally stable. The learner’s permit is issued immediately and a book is given with all the rules and regulations for driving in Pakistan.

The documents needed for a learner’s permit are:

  • Copy of CNIC
  • Ticket of Rs.60 for each category (issued by General Post Office and Learner’s Permit Office)
  • Medical Certificate (issued by a registered medical practitioner authorized by the govt.)

The documents needed for a driver’s license are:

  • Copy of CNIC
  • 3 Passport size photographs
  • Medical Certificate (issued by a registered medical practitioner authorized by the govt.)
  • Medical Fitness Certificate (only for the candidates who are 50+ years of age)
  • Application form (A)
  • Original learner’s permit (at-least 42 days within validity period)
  • 180 on STR form has to be deposited in the licensing office after passing the test.

Karachi License Process

According to the officer, a driver’s license for a Motor car category costs Rs.900 and with the other charges (medical & processing fee) it would cost a total of Rs.1,250 (valid for 3 years). He also added that I will need to pass a written test as well as a driving test before the license is issued. I asked him what would happen if I fail the test, he replied “you will need to come back after 42 days for another test”.  I then asked about renewal charges, and he said it will cost Rs.500-Rs.700 for a car driver’s license.

Now I will have to go to NADRA’s office to get my address changed to Lahore, and then get my driver’s license renewed in Lahore. I don’t know why there is discrimination among provinces in Pakistan? All the databases should be made centralized to make it easy for everyone to get a license from anywhere in Pakistan.

Do share your experience and opinion with us.

Samiullah Sharief

Samiullah Sharief is a car enthusiat. He is passionate about writing blogs and reviews about cars. His hobbies are driving,watching TV Shows like Top Gear, Mega Factories and he follows Popular car magazines. You can reach out to him by tweeting @sami649

  • guest

    It’s because the fee you pay goes to province you live in. If it was a federal, then its could have been centralised . (Just like your car token )

  • Guest

    1. As another gentleman/lady said, driving license is a provincial head. M.V tax is also a provincial head.

    2. The other gentleman talked about federal driving license but missed one thing. Military driving license is a federal driving license. But it is limited to a vehicle which is the property of federal government. This means technically a military driver can drive only arrow number plate, if he wants to drive another car, he/she must use a civilian driving license. When he/she leaves service (retirement, on medical basis etc.), military license is revoked though it can be converted to civilian license.

    3. Discrimination 1: In addition to being a provincial head, driving license also belongs to the area of domicile of the applicants. In Karachi, there are 3 driving license offices, Clifton, Nazimabad and Korangi. The reason is very simple: to balance the workload on the staff.

    4. However, in any case if you change your permanent residence to another province (a new PRC but domicile is always permanent), it is assumed you would never return to your old place, hence the nearest driving license office will honor your application on the basis of permanent address.

    5. For foreigners: A remarkable number of foreigners also apply for and acquire Pakistani driving license. This includes truckers from Afghanistan and a variety of refugees from Burma, Thailand etc. also madressah students coming from Muslim minority countries. They can go to the nearest office. Since Pakistan is already a very high population country, no amount of foreigner application have resulted in an unmanageable workload for the offices.

    6. Discrimination 2: Discrimination of driving license exists everywhere in the world. Once you are in UAE, if you have Abu Dhabi visa, you must get Abu Dhabi driving license. If you change your school/job to Dubai visa, you have to convert your driving license too. Usually people do not change immediately but when they need to go for renewal, they cannot renew it from the same emirate it was first issued, they have to renew it in the emirate where they belong now.
    In USA it is the same. Your driving license comes from the state you belong to.
    It is the same in Saudia, China and other countries.
    In one way it is reasonable because once you’ve switched to a new location, then your driving license should also belong there, because you belong there too. But if you are only on a short term visit, it makes no sense unless you want to open a new file.

    7. Discrimination 3: Quality of driving license. Driving license is a precious qualification (at least in countries like UAE where it is difficult to get and necessary to survive). Some driving license offices have more corruption and some have less. A good driving license office’s license will always have more prestige as the applicant can uphold to the world that he/she have passed a rigorous test, others such as traffic policemen will also hold such person in higher regard. Such person would not want to change his/her driving license with a branch where corruption and/or negligence is rampant, as this would diminish the prestige of the license-holder.
    On the other hand, driving license branches with good quality processes, rigorous testing are unwilling to renew the licenses of other, suspected-to-be lenient/lax/negligent/corrupt offices despite belonging to the same country/city/district. The main reason is that all driving licenses were created equal but some are more equal than others. In this situation, the driving license office would refuse to renew the license of a person who presumably has been tested to a lesser degree before being awarded the license (by another office). However they may renew it on the basis of transfer of residence because now they know the candidate has no other option (this is called “grant of exception”). And renewing the license of one or a few people would not dent the reputation of that particular office.
    However if such applications (transfer+renewal) come in bulk then they may as well see reason to change their policy and make the applicants go through the whole process (start the process a-new from the learner’s license level).

  • Zulfiqar Ali Soomro

    I got my license from Hyd but it says Traffic Police Karachi on the very top. When I inquired the officer, he said now all your licenses are linked to Khi database. Now is that centralised or what I dont understand?

  • Atif Khan

    primary goal is which province will receive the money generated , they do not bother about importance of testing one and giving license ..thats why i have been driving without it for years,

  • Mubashir Ali

    In province Punjab, everyone need to pay 5000-6000 for LTV driving license without test, it it require to get within 3 days, he should need to pay 12000-15000

  • Usman Haider Sheikh

    Centralized for Sindh region, but it should be for Pakistan just like Nadra’s ID Card database.

  • You elected these people. Now bear the thorny coming to fruition.

  • Guest

    Motor Vehicles Ordinance was made during the time of Ayub Khan.
    The “fruit” is froma tree sown in Ayub Khan’s time. How is the current (or even the few before) governments responsible for it?

    Who elected Ayub Khan? Was he an elected leader?

  • Sultan Kiani

    I was going to post the same but you’ve already nailed it. You can get admission in one of their driving schools, if your attendance is more than 80% and your driving skills are just above average, you will get drivers’ license it’s 100% guaranteed!

  • Guest

    Should everybody go to Islamabad?

    They have no sense of privacy of public. They have published the name, CNIC # and other personal details of all the poor souls who ever got license from them. God knows where and when all that information can be misused.

  • Guest again

    Just now I saw their website in detail and they have given a PDF of total detail of how they would test. I must say it is very easy, as they only test for starting (and its prerequisites), road behaviour (manners & etiquette), traffic negotiation at roundabout, lane selection and departure, straight reverse, parallel parking & unparking, 90-degree parking.& unparking.

    There is no difficult test such as figure of 8, stopping and continuing at ascent (ramp). Stopping at stop line. (In fact those tests are also not difficult for somebody who’s been properly trained but for the sake of comparison.)

    Depending on how you see it, most people would fail in parallel parking though. While figure of 8 is lots more complex than a simple parallel park.

    One strange thing is that they allow test candidate to bring their own vehicle. As you may see, the space required by a Mehran and the space required by a Rolls Royce are very different due to size. And the cone placement is standard (speaking from the point of view of a person who arranges the test). That’s why in Dubai they only use Nissan Sunny as the cones have been adjusted for Nissan Sunny. You take a Celerio and it is so easy. You take a Merc S and it would definitely not fit between the cones.