How to Read a Tamil Nadu Driving License

Thumbtack sticking in map of India.
Thumbtack sticking in map of India. (Image: Istimages/iStock/Getty Images)

Driver’s licenses in India are issued by the Regional Transport Authority in the driver’s state of residence. Licenses vary in appearance from state to state, but they all include a color photograph of the driver and basic information such as name, address, license number, place of issuance, signature of the driver and issuing officer and dates of birth, issuance and expiration. The driver’s license issued in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is a two-sided, plastic laminate card approximately the size of a credit card.

Things You'll Need

  • Tamil Nadu driver's license
  • Regional Transit Authority list of codes

Decoding a Tamil Nadu Driver’s License

The top line of a Tamil Nadu driver's license states "India Driving License (Tamilnadu)". On the right hand side of the license is the abbreviation "D.O. I." (date of issuance) above a color photograph of the driver.

There are several pieces of information on the left side, including the driver's license number, listed as "D.L. No." The first letters of the number indicate the state of issuance, which in this case is TN for Tamil Nadu. TN is followed by a forward slash, the number code of the city of issuance within Tamil Nadu and another forward slash. The next six numbers are the actual number of that particular license separated by a forward slash from the four-digit year. For example: TN/29Y/000468/2004 would read Tamil Nadu, issued in the city of Dharmapuri, license number 000458, issued in 2004.

Look for the driver’s name on the next line. Following the name is “S/D/W of” which stands for “son/daughter/wife of.” This is necessary because several Indians may share the same name and birth date but can be further identified by the name of father or husband.

The next line lists the home address of the driver.

The last line on the front of the license is “D.O.B.” and lists the driver’s date of birth in the format day/month/year.

Turn the card over for further information, which details what type(s) of vehicles the driver can operate and when the license expires followed by signatures of the driver and licensing officer. At the top of the card, find the words, “Licensed to drive throughout India, vehicles of the following description and valid up to.” The first set of numbers is the expiration date of the license, listed as day/month/year.

On the next line, decipher the type of vehicles the driver is licensed to drive. “LMV” stands for “Light Motor Vehicle,” which includes cars, passenger vans and minivans. “HMV” stands for “Heavy Motor Vehicles,” which are various trucks. Following these letters, you will find the date of issuance (day/month/year), state and city of issuance. For example: LMV-22/01/2004/TN/29Y would read Light Motor Vehicle, issued January 22, 2004, in Tamil Nadu, in the city of Dharmapuri.

Look for the driver's signature in the lower left-hand corner. Find the issuing officer's signature in the lower right-hand corner.

Tips & Warnings

  • Initial driver’s licenses expire on the driver’s 50th birthday. They can be renewed at that time.
  • You can tell the city and state of issuance by knowing the Regional Transit Authority codes.
  • Indian drivers apply for licenses in the state of their residence, just as we do in the United States.

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