Renewing driving license in Bangalore

tl; dr
  • Valid as of 20th June 2018
  • Check if your license shows up in Know your DL Status page of Ministry of Road Transports & Highways.  
  • If Yes, follow steps in this wikiprocedure
Simple, right?  Unless like me, your license is in an older format and thus doesn't show up in the portal.  

In this case, the first step is to visit RTO office with a copy of your driving license and request them to do a backlog entry.  This would be in a counter in the Driving License section.  A staff writes down your name in a book and takes your license copy.  The backlog entry process typically takes a week.  It is good is to ask the staff when you should come back.  

Go back to RTO office on the day mentioned by the staff.   Ask for backlog update.  You will be shown a box with assorted applications and can choose yours from among the many.  Verify that the backlog is done by looking for a new license number that is written down along with the application number for the same.  

Access Parivahan site in the RTO office itself (on your mobile) and try to apply for renewal online.  Have your Aaadhaar number handy since this is the first information sought once you provide your license number.  Chances are that you may see a message stating that the backlong entry is not approved (as it happened in my case).  Go back to the RTO Counter and request them to approve.  Ensure it is done by redoing the steps.

Now the hard part begins - applying for the license renewal online.  This process is common for all - backlog or no backlog.

This is best done at home/office on desktop.  The web app itself it is not mobile unfriendly.  But you will need to scan and upload forms and/or crop photos, which are quite challenging on a cell phone.

Chances are that you will need to change your address too (twenty years is too long to be in one place for most)!   Choose both Renewal and Address change checkboxes (to avoid needing to edit the application later).

Once the Application Number is generated, then you will have an option to print the form.  Do this since it will have the pre-filled data for both the Renewal Application (Form 9) and the two Medical forms (Form 1 and 1A).

Now affix a photo on Form 1A and get it filled/signed and sealed by a Medical practitioner accepted by the RTO.  (I have no idea who that is, but usually there is a doctor/clinic close to every RTO office, who does the requisite job for Rs.100/-)

Come back and upload the following
  • Filled Form 1A
  • Address proof (in case of address change - typically Aadhaar)
  • Photo
  • Signature

If you think this is straightforward, think again.  There is a size restriction for each file, which is difficult to meet in most cases, unless you know how (convert to jpg with low quality, compress pdf, etc).  There is also a specified height and width requirement for signature and photo, which you need to achieve by playing with an image manipulation software.  I am unsure if the upload is mandatory since I didn't see this being verified in RTO.

Once these are done, you have the option to pay the fee.  If you are adventurous like me, you can pay the fee online.  Else pay Cash in the RTO counter.

Take screenshots of each step during Fee payment so as to have reference later.  (I didn't do this). The payment did not complete correctly for me.  The money got debited though.  The portal showed me a status that said.

30 minutes passed, an hour passed and two. No change in status and it was a sleepless night for me.  There were helpline numbers which I decided to call the next day.  (There was even a Whatsapp number who showed up as Last active in Oct 2017.  I sent a note to this number and got a reponse the next day - Contact your RTO!).

Fortunately for me, the status got updated to Paid the next day and I could generate the receipt for the payment.  (The receipt mentions an addition Rs.49/- to be paid for the biometrics directly in RTO)

So now you have uploaded required documents online.  You also have the printed, signed forms.

Armed with these, your current license in a clear plastic self-sealing envelope and  a self-addressed envelope stamped Rs.17/- you visit the RTO (the third time for me).   Take the original address proof just in case (I was not asked). Take a copy of Form 9 (the actual renewal form) as well.  I will tell you when you need it soon...

Have the documents verified in the Driving License section.  The lady will ask you to go to the Fee counter.  If you have paid fee, don't pay heed to her and stand in the queue to get the signature from ARTO.  Stand in a different queue from those for new license applications, etc. since Renewal needs to be mandatorily signed by the ARTO (unlike the others, which can be done by other staff in the room).

Then it is time for biometrics (just a fancy term to take a photo and signature).  Why would you need it having uploaded both the previous day?  I haven't figured this out yet. I will know when I get my license and see which photo/signature was used.   You need to pay Rs.60/-  It is actually Rs.58/- but no one tells you that and fat chance getting Rs.2/- back!  (Parivahan software needs to update the  payment receipt from Rs.49/- to Rs.58/-  (No bug reporting link though).

Now back to the Driving License counter who takes your form and asks for a copy of the Form 9. This is for the staff to put a seal - an acknowledgement that you can carry around till your actual new license comes.  (I had to run down and get a copy and come back).   The staff told it will take 40 days for the license to come home.  My countdown has started.

I had got my license from Bangalore Indira Nagar RTO office and my renewal was there as well.  (There is no longer an Indira Nagar RTO - it is now Kasthuri Nagar RTO and is located in Kasthuri Nagar).  You may need to check if any additional steps are required if the renewal is in a different RTO from where you have the license (especially if across State).

Kasthuri Nagar RTO is housed in a new building with plenty of Parking in and around the campus (especially for two-wheelers).   A Security mans the single entrance in an attempt to prevent agents/touts.  The latter can be spotted around the premise though I see no value addition that they can bring for license renewal process.

I found the RTO staff to be quite friendly and helpful, though always pre-occupied (if not busy).  Speaking in Kannada helps, even if it is broken Kannada.  There are staff in khakhi to guide people to queues.  They even have staplers to ensure forms are stapled.

There is queue for everything and it is fairly well enforced (though those who know the RTO staff do get around them).

In many ways, I found the process similar to Passport renewal - online application, document upload, in person verification, biometrics... wonder why it should still take 40 days for the license!

Update: 31st Jul 2018

Exactly 40 days after I submitted the application, today the license came home by Speed Post (in the self-addressed stamp envelope that had been provided during application).

As can be screen from the screenshot,  Scrutiny was done exactly 15 days after application and printing of the license, another 15 days after scrutiny.  Another 10 days to dispatch it (for some reason the status for this not yet updated).

All is well that ends well.