I hope you have already received your Schengen Visa which is required to travel in Europe, else I would recommend you to first go through my previous blog on Things you should know to get Schengen tourist Visa with Indian Passport or Indian Citizenship.
Once you have received your visa, you can work on getting an International driving license for your Europe Trip.
Compared to getting a Schengen visa, getting an International driving license is easy and not very expensive as well. So my suggestion would be to have an international driving license even if you are planning to go for just a week because if you wish to change your plan later on and wish to go for a small road trip on bike/Car in Europe, you won’t be able to do it most of European Countries without International Driving License.
What is International Driving Licence(IDL)?
It is nothing but an authorized certificate from the Road transport office(RTO) in India that you know how to ride a motorcycle/car in India. Since different countries have different languages, so an international driving license is supposed to be the translated version of your driving license from your state/country language to a language which can be understood in a country where you are going.
Nowadays most spoken language around the world is English, so International driving license issued from India is just a Copy of your driving license in English stamped by government officers.
Do Indians Need International Driving Licence in all Schengen countries?
No, it is not required in all the Schengen countries. There are few countries like Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Norway where Indian driving license is valid for few months (3-6 months although I am not sure about time period). So if you are planning to just visit these countries, please verify the duration Embassy or google it.
How/Where can Indians apply for International Driving License?
Without Visa, you won’t be able to apply for an International driving license. So, once you have received your Schengen visa, you can visit nearest RTO office to get an International driving license.
* You can google the RTO name(Check on your license) and City from where it was issued to get the location or you can check RTO location in India on this website. RTO information India
*Ideally you should be able to download the International Driving license form through RTO website but it may not work in many states. Like when I tried to find a suitable form for myself on Uttrakhand RTO website, I couldn’t find the form for International driving license
So the only option you left in such cases is to visit RTO nearby and get the form for an International driving license.
NOTE: My driving license got delayed for 3 days because even RTO didn’t have international driving license form and printer in their office was also not working.
What documents are needed to apply for International Driving License from RTO in India?
* A signed copy of your passport. In case you have two (an old expired one), you need to give a photocopy of both the passports.
* A photocopy of Indian Driving License.
* A photocopy of Valid Visa.
* 3 recent passport Size photographs
* Any other ID proof like Adhaar card or voter Id card for address and birth proof.
How much is the fee for International Driving License?
As on RTO Uttrakhand Website for different License fees, it is shown as 1000 INR.
But since getting anything done by yourself in RTO office won’t be possible in India(Especially in North India). You need to give it to some agents sitting outside the RTO office(Else you could wait for some unknown time). It cost me 1700 INR in Haridwar, Uttrakhand.
How does International Driving License look?
IDL may vary from place to place in India. In some places(Big cities), An international driving license(IDL) is a booklet which looks similar to your passport. But in my city, it was issued as a certificate(Rarely believable) like this
How Much time will it take to Get International Driving license in India?
For an International driving License like above, it will take only 3-4 Hours in transport office as after you submit your fully filled form and paid the fee. The RTO will just download this Certificate from their portal and give you a printout with stamp and signature. In case of passbook like license, it may take 1-2 days.
How much is the validity of International Driving License issued in Indian RTO?
The license issued in form of booklet is normally issued for 1 year in the area of your visa(or maybe worldwide as I am not sure) but the license which I had received from my RTO was only valid for Schengen area and that too with limited validity as per my visa.
When do we need to show International Driving License(IDL) in Europe?
As per rules, you are required to have IDL while riding in Europe all the time, but no one will actually ask for it unless you hit someone or caught in drink and driving case. All the countries which come under Schengen area don’t have any internal checking post. So you can keep riding from one country to another without showing any bike’s document or your driving license. I started from Poland and rod 18 countries in Schengen area and came back to Poland without being asked for my driving license or passport.
But if you are planning to visit Balkan countries with your Schengen visa, you will be asked for your IDL on border crossing as all the Balkan countries have checkpoints on their entry and exit.
After having an International driving license, you have two options. Either you carry your own motorcycle to Europe or you ride a Motorcycle Registered in Europe.
Riding European registered Motorcycle In Europe with Indian Passport /Indian citizenship
This will be the cheapest option as compared to the others but it will be a little tricky. As per a rule in Europe, only people who have a resident permit in Europe are allowed to buy a Motor vehicle in Europe.
So if you are planning for few days like 10-15 days then renting a motorcycle would be the good option and it will cost a minimum of 30-50 Euros/per day(Could be higher depending on bike you are renting) depending on the location from where you are renting
But if you are Planning to for LONG ROAD TRIP across Europe with European Registered motorcycle read below details.
- Arrange a contact In Europe who could buy a motorcycle on his/her name and hand over to you all documents of the bike for the time you are traveling in Europe.
Search online platforms which are selling 2nd hand/used motorcycle/car like this one in Italy is very popular. Used Motorcycle in Italy. You can also post your queries for an old motorcycle on facebook groups like MTM Grid.
If you don’t get any contact through an online platform, you could reach Europe first and search for 2nd hand shops later. The reason I suggest you search it first is to save your visa timing as you have limited time period visa only.
How much will it cost to buy a Used Motorcycle in Europe?. How Much will be reselling value?
Depending on the place you are buying, the prize may vary a lot. I suggest Balkans or eastern Europe for buying a cheap motorcycle. I bought the 25-year-old Honda Transalp for 1500 Euros(1,10,000 INR). Paperwork, Insurance, and servicing cost me 300 Euros More. After this trip, I left the bike again at my friend’s place and hoping to sell it for 1200 Euros. So total motorcycle cost me (500-600 Euros for 80 days).
Once have figured out a motorcycle,
1) your friend needs to legally buy the motorcycle. The paperwork will cost 80-100 Euros(In Poland could be different in other countries) more for transferring motorcycle to your friend’s name.
2) A new number plate will be issued in just 1-2 days from the time you submit purchase paper in local transport office of place from where you are buying a motorcycle In Europe. But getting a Registration paper may take 3-4 days.
3) Once you have registration paper, you need to buy insurance for motorcycle and a Green Card for your motorcycle. This Green card is actually the permission of riding Motorcycle around Europe. Without a green card, you are not legally allowed to ride a motorcycle outside the country you have bought this motorcycle.
4) Now you have all the documents registered in your friend’s name. To ride this motorcycle, you need to have an agreement with your friend on whose name motorcycle is registered. I advise you to make the agreement in 3 languages(Country where you buy, English and German). Here is a copy of my agreement in English, Polish and German, you can copy the same one for yourself as well.
5) Having all documents (Registration paper of Bike, Insurance for the bike, Green card, and Agreement), it would be advisable to carry a photocopy of your friend’s resident permit and Passport. More documents you have of your friend, better it will be for you (in case you get stuck somewhere regarding bike ownership).
After completing above 1-5 steps, you can legally ride a motorcycle in Europe registered on someone else name.
And if you are willing to ride Indian Registered motorcycle In Europe with Indian Passport/ Indian Citizenship:
If you have a good budget and ready to spend some money on transportation, I would recommend this blog post by one of my Rider friend in India who went to Europe from India on Indian Motorcycle in 2015. This blog would clear any doubt on how to Take your bike and documents you required(Like carnet) to carry your bike to other countries.
A few more things which could help you while driving in Europe with Indian passport
* What If motorcycle/Car brake down in middle of the highway in Europe?
One great benefit of having a Europen registered bike is to have Euro Assistance. If you have taken Euro assistance and your bike break down in middle of highway, you need to inform the company from whom you have taken Euro assistance and they will send a Tow truck which will tow your bike to nearest mechanic shop in 150 km area of their choice or 40-50km distance if you suggest a location of your choice.
In case your tank gets empty where no fuel station is nearby, you will be delivered fuel for which you just need to pay the price of fuel and nothing else. The cost of Euro assistance for a complete Year will vary from country to country(check from the agent who issued you insurance and green card). I didn’t buy this as my insurance paper were not proper.
Which country in Europe is Best to buy a motorcycle?
Eastern Europe or Balkan area is the cheapest place to buy a used motorcycle in Europe. If you buy in countries like France Switzerland or Italy, it will be more expensive. I bought the motorcycle from Poland which I consider is good place to buy a motorcycle as well
Which motorcycle should I buy in Europe for Europe Trip?
Normally people in Europe don’t use a motorcycle for Day to day purpose and Most of the time during winter(snow) people don’t prefer to go out on a motorcycle. Even during the time of winter, all motorcycle owner try to maintain their bike and put in the closed garage(Basically caring for the machine even when it’s not in use).
And for the same reasons, the used motorcycles are in good condition. I rode a 25-Year-old Honda(Transalp 600) motorcycle and have fallen in love with Honda. So I would recommend any motorcycle from Honda 🙂
Different Address on Driving License and Passport?
Try to have the same address on your Passport and Driving license. Sometimes we have a different address on our documents. This might create a problem if you are stuck somewhere in Europe. Because as not everyone speaks and understand English perfectly in Europe and two different documents showing different address could create a doubt and put you in little trouble.
Last but not least is to follow the rules in European countries. There will be a little change in signboards and traffic rules(speed limits variation and free parking place). And don’t try to bribe the police because if you are caught :D, you may end up losing your visa.
PS: Here is link of my journey if you have not read before
16,000 Kilometers,80 Days,18 European Countries on a 25-year-old motorcycle with a mobile Camera using Couchsurfing and Crowdfunding