Here’s How You Can Get A Driving License In Karachi

There are two types of traffic licenses in Karachi — one a valid driving license, with a photo of a license holder, issued by an authorized Pakistani governmental department…OR the one with a photo of Founder of Pakistan – a banknote of 50 or 100 rupee, to be exact. To be fair this, kind of, applies to other cities as well, and not just Karachi.

The process of acquiring a driving license is indeed hectic, but it is not an excuse to not get one. As a dignified and responsible citizen, one should try to get a valid driving license no matter how frantic and frustrating the process is. Do keep in mind, a valid license is going to help you in case of some unfortunate vehicle related accident, from legal point of view as well. Also you won’t be harassed by Traffic Police if you possess a valid license.

RELATED: 90pc Of Drivers In Karachi Don’t Have A Valid Driving License

There are three types of driving licenses usually. But depending on motor vehicle you have (Motorcycle/Car/Rickshaw/Heavy and Light Commercial Vehicles), you might need some specific license as well. You can’t operate a heavy lorry on your car driving license.

Learner Driving License

Even if you are an expert driver and drive a supercar or you have experience of driving cars in different countries, you need to get a learning license first, without exception.

This license is issued to everyone against simple registration process and fee.

  • Validity: One year
  • Requirement: CNIC Copy, Four passport sized photos
  • Fees for Motorcycle: Rs 50
  • Fees for Car: 100
  • Fees for Car/ Motorcycle (combined): 150
  • Renewal charges are Rs 100 for every category

Permanent Driving License

You are eligible for a permanent driving license after you have had your learner’s license for 42 days. But obtaining permanent license is no piece of cake.

Knowledge and Driver Fitness Tests

driving-license-officeThere will be a written test and a practical driving test that will lead you to a permanent driving license in Karachi. Besides, there will be a fitness test of your eye sight including color blindness and major disability, if any.

  • Validity: 3-5 years
  • Requirement: CNIC Copy, Four passport sized photos
  • Fee for Motorcycle: Rs. 510 for 3 years, Rs. 660 for 5 years
  • Fee for Car: Rs. 960 for 3 years, Rs.1260 for 5 years
  • Fee for Car/Motorcycle (combined): 150

Once you get the license, you need to pay extra fee for renewal after 3 or 5 years.

Note: The form could be obtained for Rs. 20. The facility of photo is available but charged at Rs. 100 for four copies at selected centers of Traffic Police Department.

Also Check Out: Cars for Sale in Karachi

You can also download application forms from here, free-of-cost in MS Word and PDF formats. You don’t need to pay Rs 100 for new photographs if you already have four of them.

For Permanent Driving License, you should buy a Highway and Motor Code with Traffic Signs book for written test preparation that could be purchased from Post Office situated nearby the designated license centers or download books here in English and Urdu.

International Driving Permit

int-dl-karachiIf you are planning to go on a relatively long holiday abroad, or for studies and want to buy your own vehicle, it is better to obtain an international driving license from here. It will give you legal cover until you apply for a driving license there.

  • Requirements: CNIC Photocopy, Visa Photocopy
  • Photocopy of local driving license.
  • Medical Certificate
  • The applicant should appear before the license authority Karachi in Pakistan
  • Fees: Varies

Locations of Driving License Center

Majority of public in Karachi knows only two license centers but there are now four stations from where you can get a license. They are:

  1. Clifton Branch near Mohatta Palace and Do Talwar map
  2. Korangi Branch Mehran Town map
  3. Baldia Town Branch near Hub Chowki map
  4. Nazimabad Branch near Nazimabad No.4,  Caltex petrol pump map


  • Monday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Friday: 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • Lunch Break: 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm

The process of getting driving license may include external factors such as bribe and recommendations of influential persons. But that is on you how you want to go through it.

Disclaimer: The post provides you basic and updated information for obtaining driving license. PakWheels takes no responsibility of any change in fee or procedure by Traffic Police Department.


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Yasir Ameen

I am a journalist and blogger who loves to write on the subjects of technology, telecom, economy and automobile.

  • I don’t know when the author went and applied for a driving license (Probably sometime in the early 2000’s like I did when it wasn’t painless and you definitely needed to bribe people just to accept your application), but the process is very straight forward now. I recently renewed my license and my sister upgraded from a learner license and we didn’t pay anyone any bribes. The whole process took half the day at the Clifton Driving License branch. Take the form, fill it out, attach the photos, the copy of the CNIC and the original learner license and then the counters inside the license branch are numbered. Register for the license first, then the medical which is just a formality (the doctor is usually in a hurry and just checks your eyesight, sometimes even skips that), after you pass that, make the payment of the license fees, then go for the computer based written test – essentially pick the option out of 4 choices. For that you need to study and remember stuff and the material is available in the form of a pamphlet from the reception, just ask for it. Pass that (instantaneous results) after which comes the driving test – just a forward – park – reverse – get out thing which if you’ve been driving, is a piece of cake. For bikes, it’s a figure 8 or a slalom through the cones which is again easy. After that comes the photo, then wait for 30-45 minutes and voila. License ready.

    And yeah – the ASI at the reception will tell you that he can help you pass the written test for 5 grand. Tell him to eff off. You can do it yourself without the bribes, trust me.

  • Guest

    A few points left unclear by writer.

    1. Candidate should be minimum 18 years of age.

    2. CNIC should be present, so you cannot go for license on your birthday, first spend a month or so for CNIC.

    3. For LTV license, minimum age is 21. In first go, you cannot get LTV. If you are under 21 and have LTV license, it is fake.

    4. For LTV license, you will have to drive an LTV, usually a Shehzore (or Hiace). Many people apply for LTV because they see it as an upgraded model of motorcar license, but it has many more requirements. E.g LTV is bigger in size so you could have to go another test center far away to attempt the practical exam. Also, the test for LTV is held less frequently, so you need to wait longer.

    5. Some wording needs to be improved. You can make an attempt for permanent license after at least 42 days of getting learner’s license. It is written, “You are eligible for a permanent driving license after you have had your learner’s license for 42 days.”. In reality, you are not eligible for the license, you are eligible to attempt the exam (which in turn consists of medical exam, theory exam, viva and practical test).

    6. Various expenses are written, but some are missing such as cost of test (if you fail the test, you may have to repay for the next attempt). Also, separate fees is charged for printing of the card. (Driving license is shaped like a credit card, you have to pay separately). There is reason for charging the card separately, suppose you misplaced it, then you have pay the fees for card again, but not the fees of all other stages of the process. And suppose you failed the test, so no need to pay for the card at every re-attempt.

    7. International driving permit is only valid for tourist visa and transit visa, and only in countries who are signatory of IDP treaty. Also, IDP is made for only one country of expatriation. Also, if you are entering a foreign country for work, study or long-term family joining, you will not be on tourist visa (rather you will be on a residence visa), in this case IDP is not valid and you need to apply for a local license.

    8. Choice of words (such as hectic, frustrating, frantic, no piece of cake) has been made to discourage the potential applicants more and more. Obtaining driving license is not a hectic affair at all. If you see, processes for CNIC, passport and driving license have improved by a great extent in the past several years. The level of corruption has also lessened. Younger people may not know it of course.

    9. Initially it is written, “There are three types of driving licenses usually.” Which 3? Not defined. Maybe the author meant motorcycle, motorcar and motorcycle/motorcar combined. Please make it clear there.

    10. Some wording could be improved: “depending on motor vehicle you have”. It could be replaced with “depending on the motor vehicle you intend to drive”. Because driving license has nothing to do with ownership. Non-human entities such as companies can also posses vehicles. Invalid and unable to drive people can also own a vehicle. And people who do not own a car can also possess driving license and can also drive other’s vehicles using a letter of authority (or power of attorney also).

    11. A little information which is incomplete and wording can be improved to make it less confusing: “Once you get the license, you need to pay extra fee for renewal after 3 or 5 years.”
    For one, you do not need to pay extra fee if you apply within one month after expiry of your license (called one month grace period) or anytime before expiry of license. If the license has been expired for a long time, you need to pay the renewal fees + late penalty, this late fees could be called “extra” fees.
    Also, whenever you go for renewal, you need to take the medical exam again, though you do not need to re-take the theory, viva and practical exams.
    Also, in addition to the renewal fees, you will pay the medical fees (it has been incorporated in the renewal fees, but if you fail the medical exam, for the re-attempt you will need to repay. They would give you around 2 weeks time to get your eyes checked and get new glasses etc.)
    Also, you will again pay the price of the plastic card and printing.

    12. The way the article is written takes the tone of how to beat the test and acquire the license. Whereas it should be emphasized that people should learn proper use of vehicle through the highway code book and practice. Highway code book is mentioned cursorily while choice of wording could be made to emphasize its role in driver training. It is available in both Urdu and English. In the past decade, highway code has been standardized by the NH&MP, the contents and print of the book both are very high quality and comparable with international standard.

    13. Less-known point w.r.t this sentence, “have experience of driving cars in different countries, you need to get a learning license first, without exception.” Pakistani government indeed respects license awarded by traffic department of other countries under CHAPTER II LICENSING OF DRIVERS OF MOTOR VEHICLES section 7 Grant of licence, clause (6) b in the Motor Vehicles Ordinance. If a foreigner/overseas Pakistani has valid driving license from their country of residence which is more than one year old (2 conditions: more than one year old AND still have remaining validity), they should be given an equivalent Pakistani license on the basis of English translation of that license. But many overseas Pakistanis do not know this, many expats also do not know this and as a result fail to avail the relaxation allowed in the law.
    Similarly, if somebody had army license with validity more than 3 years, but now has left the army (due to e.g retirement) and has to surrender the army license, can get the civilian license on basis of previously held army license without going through all the routine, only has to pass medical exam and theory exam.
    It may be possible that due to limitations of computer system, you need to get a leaner’s permit first but then the requirements of minimum 42 days for learning and practice would be waived.

  • Salman Hasan

    “Also you won’t be harassed by Traffic Police if you possess a valid license.”

    haha, not sure about that one..

  • Zulfiqar Ali Soomro

    Can I drive on National Highway with a learners license or am I restricted within a city? Legal proof as I dont know much I just recently applied for a licrnse

  • Guest

    License process is not only about driving the vehicle (which in turn incorporates 2 aspects: machine control and traffic negotiation), license process is also about being theoretically strong (technical knowledge about vehicle and occupants/surrounding persons and legal knowledge).

    You should find out that with learner’s permit you can drive any car falling in the category of your permit which has red “L” displayed on it while a person who already has a valid driving license more than 3 years old of that relevant category of vehicle. To make it simpler:

    1. The vehicle you are driving belongs to the category of your learner’s permit.
    2. Learner should not be lone person in the car. Your trainer should be sitting beside you. Not necessary that the trainer be hired teacher or owner of that vehicle, could be anyone satisfying the requirements.
    3. Trainer should have a valid driving license.
    4. Trainer should have had held the license for at least 3 years.
    5. License should be relevant to the type of vehicle (which in turn would make the vehicle, learner driver and trainer driver all have the same category).
    6. Vehicle should have prominent red “L” displayed on it.

    In this case you can drive anywhere, but not slower than the minimum speed, and in the leftmost lane or anywhere where the action of learning would not pose hazard to other persons and property.

  • Zulfiqar Ali Soomro

    I have been driving since 2007 so Im well aware with the rules and regulations and technical knowledge of the cars. Its just that I’ve applied 4years later than when I was eligible. So seedhi baat, matlab highway pe drive karsakta hun :p

  • Junaid Pervaiz

    Can you drive a motor car eg: corolla, civic alto on a LTV license?

  • Hassan Sheikh

    Is it legal for a person to drive a car owned by his father?

  • Osama

    If learning licence issued from Clifton branch and permanent licence was created from Nazimabad branch then what would be the signature detail on permanent licence?

    Actually my learning licence issued from Clifton branch and i went to Nazimabad branch after a year for permanent licence, after completed the test licence was issued but under DSP signature details shows Clifton branch on Permanent licence.

    Waiting for the appropriate answer. Thanks.

  • Suboor Haider

    If cinc is been sancthed and if have its fir so mean while can i apply for the learning driving license

  • Umair Javed

    How to get NOC for driving license if you are sitting abroad? there is no email address where i can send application for NOC. Anyone can advise please?

  • ibrahim hanif

    (2 conditions: more than one year old AND still have remaining validity), they should be given an equivalent Pakistani license on the basis of English translation of that license.)
    I Got My driving licence from Saudia Arabia, Now from where and how i can get translated into english that licence enable to apply for Pakistani driving licence. Thanks

  • Munir Ahmed


  • Daniyal Ahmed

    Sir, I am 17 years old and have a NIC. Now you can get them made early and are called smart student cards which are exactly the NIC card just given this name. Can I apply for my learner’s license?