Riding Motorcycle In Europe with Indian Passport & How to get International Driving license in India

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.Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 11.06.31 AM

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 thisIMG_20170918_152741315_HDR

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 to read blog post by Riders in India who went to Europe from India on Indian Motorcycle in 2015. Those 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 πŸ™‚

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

16 thoughts on “Riding Motorcycle In Europe with Indian Passport & How to get International Driving license in India

  1. Weird as it may sound…mumbai RTO refused to issue me IDP because I had “motorcycle only” license. their form has selection for “two wheeler OR four wheeler”. They generally issue four wheeler IDP and like a “one plus one free” offer, give two wheeler endorsement. They couldnt believe anyone would want to have IDP just to ride in USA.
    Had to talk them out to get it done.


    1. Yeah the rules are very complex in RTO. It should not be an issue I guess . Because when they issue IDP, the type of vehicle you can drive is mentioned like in mine they have mentioned Motor cycles L1 and L2.
      Also I had an experience with Ghaziabad RTO. For bike transfer, I had to visit RTO office for almost 6 months and bring my bike to Ghaziabad multiple time.. This time when I visited RTO and didn’t find the form for IDP , I just went to Agent and gave him money and all documents . Maybe you should try with some


      1. I got it last year for my ride…had to argue with RTO officer to do that. After that finished the Bucket-Ride without being stopped by any cop for 17000kms…so in a way it was wasted money πŸ™‚ but the preparation was peace of mind πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. haha ok so RTO in Mumbai as well have similar working culture it seems. RTO seems to be worst government offices in India πŸ˜›
          Glad to know you completed your ride,
          After Europe trip, It seems like no one really cares about all these things in Europe and the only problem you will have is RTO offices in India :D. but it’s better to have documents done before going to other countries


  2. Hey,
    Anand here. Thanks for your post.
    I’m trying to get an idp today for iceland and Netherlands.
    Seems like there is no Schengen IDP. It’s more over on a per country basis and they charge like 500/- per country.
    What was your experience in this case?
    I’m trying out here in nagpur.



    1. Hey anand.. the rules of RTO are really complex. As I said in my home town uttrakhand they issue IDP like that only ….But IDP could be of one country or it could be for multiple countries. In delhi and mumbai they issue a booklet for IdP which is valid for 1 year and issued for 100+ countries . You can even renew that IdP every year…..You need to check regarding that IDP from you RTO….Else you need to take separate IDP for different country and as per your visa dates


      1. Thanks for the reply lonely India.
        Well I got my IDP for Iceland’ for 1 yr which is a printed paper with country and visa no on it.
        Though talking to the RTO officers there, they mentioned they do not have any clue or circular issued for issuing IDP for multiple countries on the same visa.
        My request to you is, if you know any circular or document that I can show up to the RTO officer,it’ll be really helpful.


  3. Hi Deepak,
    this is chiara, from Italy.
    I’m writing this just to look for some good advices.
    We re an italian couple who is currently living and working in Mumbai. Last year we bought a royal enfield and now the plan is to go back to Italy (milan) by this bike during this July.
    The main problem is that we don’t know which route would be the best one.
    A lot of people told us to skip Pakistan and try to get to Italy by other routes.
    Do you have any suggestion? I have read a lot of study about all your journeys!
    Could you please give us some suggestions if you can?

    Really appreciate your help and time!


    1. Hi Chiara,
      Good to hear about your motorcycle trip Plan. It will surely be a memorable journey.
      I do have few good advices for you πŸ™‚
      1) Don’t listern to people especially when you already have dreamed about this journey. I would love to cross pakistan but we indians don’t get visa easily and if I ask them for Motorcycle trip than definitely I won’t get Visa πŸ˜€ .
      2) Drop me an Email(dkchauhan2k7@gmail.com) and I will connect you to motorcycle group or my friends who had been to europe on motorcycle from India.
      3) You can also join this facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/mtmgrid/) and Drop a message there. This is most active group for overland motorcycle touring in India. I am also a member of this group and my friends who had been to europe( on motorcycle from india ) are also part of this group. People are really nice in this group and they will respond immeidiately
      4) Some of these riders are close to Mumbai So I think you can also meet them, and they will help you in planning a route as well πŸ™‚



  4. Dear
    I am parveen from karnal (Haryana) India . I love bike riding I’m 34 year old . I want to travel Europe on a bike . I hve travelled russia . Ukraine Thailand. Etc but now I plan to travel on bike I hve license also I will arrange international license and I’m advocate also so plz arranged sponsors to me and my friend . We will go together on my New bullet bike


  5. From reading this article is sounds like a lot of red tape to ride in Europe
    Staying in the US sounds better . Plenty of places to ride in the US. thanks for the through info on documentation


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