(Disclaimer: Don’t be fooled by the header image. Karachi aisa nahi hai) 😀
I started learning how to drive in 2015. I used to drive my father’s old Suzuki FX. I remember I wasn’t allowed to practice on any other car because what if I bumped it somewhere. (Side note: I still haven’t bumped any car yet Alhamdolilah. Not even a single scratch. So much for women can’t drive, eh?).
At that time, I had a learner’s driving licence which allows you to drive in the presence of a licensed driver. The learner’s is valid for 6 months from its date of issuance after which you must get a permanent driving licence. Getting a permanent licence felt like a nightmare to me. On top of that, people had a lot to say about the process of getting a licence.
“Test bohat mushkil hota hai” (Oh?)
“Reverse parallel park karwate hain” (Acha jee)
“Ab tou written test bhi lete hain! Us mein tou fail hi hotay hain.” (Wow)
“Paisay dekar banwa lo, araam se ban jaye ga”. (Bribery is haram bro. Didn’t you get the memo?)
Because of all this and my own lack of confidence, I delayed getting a permanent driving licence for two years since my learner’s expired. During this time, I even bought my own car and managed to drive in even the most difficult areas of Karachi without any difficulty. But somehow, going to the Licence office and getting this done seemed like a daunting task until one day, I made up my mind and decided ke bas bohat hogai.
My experience was amazing, contrary to what everyone told me it would be like. I found the whole process very organized (Pakistani standard of organized). All the officers were very helpful, because the lady card works like magic here. You get special treatment like getting your process done first if there is a long queue of men at the counters.
So I decided to pen down the steps that I went through to get my permanent driving licence made. Please note that these steps are for a NEW license after your learners expires. Renewal of an old permanent license has a different procedure that has all the same steps except for the written and practical tests. Also, this is the procedure followed at the Driving License Office in Clifton. I am not sure if it’s the same at other centres.
Steps to Get a Driving Licence in Pakistan
- Go to the Driving License Office in Clifton with your vehicle. Park the vehicle outside the premises.
- Go inside and just outside room # 2, there’s a police man who will generate a token for you from a machine.
- With that token, go inside room # 2 where an officer will take the token from you and ask you to wait in the waiting area. (There are ample seats to sit).
- Remember your token number. Soon your name or token number will be called.
- Head over to the counter that summoned you. Here an officer will ask you to present your CNIC and he will retrieve your info from their database. (If you have a valid without rishwat wala learners, then they already have all your details). He will ask you to verify your details like Name, Address, Father’s/Husband’s Name, Phone Number etc. After that he will stamp some stuff on your token and learners and ask you to proceed to the payment counter.
- At the payment counter, you will pay your fee (Around Rs 1813 for a license valid for 5 years). Here you will have to be careful that your bum doesn’t bump into other guys because all our desi guys are hoarded over the counter and you really have to struggle to make your way past them. It took me a couple of loud shouts like “Bhai rasta deejye ga!” to get to the front. Plus being a female, you will be processed faster and officers will be like, “madam ap aaein pehle“. If you’re lucky and there are not many people around that day then that’s even better.
- After your payment is done, you will be directed to go to the room labelled as MEDICAL, where a doctor will test your eyes. Wear your prescription glasses or contact lenses if you have any. You can’t pass your medical test without those.
- Next, you will be directed to another room to the right side of the medical room where there are a couple of computers installed. Here you will give your written exam. You will be given 25 MCQs to answer out of which you have to score at least 18 correctly in order to pass the test. Once you submit the answer the score is displayed and you will summon the officer to declare that you have completed the test. You have 20 mins to complete this test. It’s mostly about road signs and general common sense traffic rules. Ideally, you should purchase a book called, “The Highway and Motor Code“, from the licence office a few weeks before your test to go through it and prepare for the test. But if you want to try your luck, you can buy some handouts available at the licence office photocopier and do a last minute crash study.
- If you fail the written test, the officer will give you another date for a retest and ask you to come prepared. If you pass this test, you will be asked to get your vehicle and proceed to the ground where your practical exam will take place. Your car will only be allowed inside the premises during the practical exam.
- In the ground, the officer will ask you to participate in a sprint race, a drag race, and ask you to perform some stunts. LOLLLL JUST KIDDINGGGGG!!!!!! He asked me to reverse, then turn left. Then he asked me to parallel park between two barriers in one single attempt.
- After you pass the practical test, he will scribble something on your papers and ask you to go to the Medical Room. There a lady police officer will also scribble something on your paper and direct you towards the final step in the journey: Room # 3.
- Outside room 3, there’s an officer sitting who will take the paper from you and ask you to wait. Soon he will bring out a printed form which has all your details. He will ask you to verify your details and sign it.
- He will give you a final receipt and tell you that you will receive your license card within a week via courier. (P.S. My licence arrived in the mail the very next day).
- Now you can go home and live peacefully that you will soon be a licensed driver in your country.
I hope this guide helps anyone who is planning to get their driving licence made. Share it with your friends and let me know what your experience was like.