There are many reasons why people do not convert their Indian drivers licence to an Australian drivers licence. Perhaps they are here temporarily or not intending to remain in Australia and so they do not see the need to convert, others may be waiting for their visa approvals, some could be waiting to become an Australian citizen, while many people just think that the process is too difficult and so postpone / procrastinate on following it through.
Whatever the reason, it has been our experience that delaying the process can create other complications and so we highly recommend converting (or at least starting the process) sooner than later.
As a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney, we assist many people to convert their Indian drivers licence to an Australian drivers licence through our Indian Drivers Licence Verification process. If your name on your Indian drivers licence and your Indian passport, you will need to undertake this process in order to convert your licence. However, be aware that the process is not a simple process or a straight forward process, meaning you must allow for processing times, expect delays and account for these possibilities and contingencies when applying to convert your licence. For more information regarding the process, please visit the VFS website and review the IDLV checklist.
Problems caused by delayHere are some problems that people face because they delayed converting their licence.
- VFS changes. This has happened before, and it will happen again. Processes and requirements change due to changes in the law or policy and the IDLV process through VFS is no different. At this stage, we do not know what future changes may be, but we know what the process is now. Accordingly, if you want (and especially if you need) to convert your Indian drivers licence to an Australian drivers licence then you may benefit from doing it now rather than wait for the uncertainty of the future. Of course you might get lucky in that VFS makes the process easier in the future, but that would be the chance you take. However, even if the process is easier, it is unlikely that the cost/fees would be cheaper - as most things, this will only increase over time.
- Citizenship. Many people do not (by choice or because they forget) convert their licence, but they adopt Australian citizenship. The IDLV checklist clearly relates to verifying the identity of the Indian drivers licence holder with the Indian passport holder. As far as we are aware, VFS will not assist you with the IDLV process if you are an Australian citizen and will not provide a verification between an Indian drivers licence and an Australian passport. Accordingly, if your name on your Indian drivers licence and your Indian passport are different, you must complete this process through VFS before you become an Australian citizen.
- RTO changes. Part of the IDLV process requires a letter from the relevant RTO in India to confirm the Indian drivers licence details. The IDLV checklist states that the name on letter from the RTO and the Indian drivers licence must be identical. Due to various changes or upgrades to systems and processes in India, occasionally we have been told by clients that the name in the letter from their RTO in India no longer matches the name on their Indian drivers licence (for whatever reason). This will create complications for VFS. The scope of our notary public services is limited to verifying that you are the one and the same person on your Indian drivers licence and your Indian passport. Unfortunately, we cannot help you with any changes to your details on the RTO letter.
- Licence or passport expiry. Too many times we have been asked to verify the identity of the Indian drivers licence holder and the Indian passport holder are the one and the same person because either their drivers licence or their passport was about to expire. At this point, people are rushing with unrealistic deadlines. Be aware that the process can take weeks - not hours.
- RTO letter expiry. The IDLV process requires that the letter from the relevant RTO in India is less than 6 months old. Again, we are often approached a day or two (or even on the day) that the 6 months expire to complete the verification process. If it is not possible, we will tell you. As much as we want to assist, waiting to the last minute will only create yourself more complications and problems - meaning you will potentially need to re-start the process.
- Appointments with VFS. We also receive requests from people who are rushing to an appointment with VFS - but why? If you have an appointment with VFS which requires documents to be notarised, and your appointment is at 12pm - it is unlikely that we are able to 'squeeze you in' at 11am, and it is impossible to do this if you also need to have your documents stamped with an apostille from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Remember, this process can take weeks. It will not happen at the last minute. Again, if it is not possible, we will tell you.
- Change of name. Some people change their name (ie, if they marry, if they want to shorten or simplify, or if they Anglicise or adopt an English name). If they formally change their name on their Indian passport (which then differs from the name on their Indian drivers licence) before they convert their licence, they then must go through the IDLV process. Perhaps it would have been cheaper and easier to have converted their licence before they change their name.
Although these are just some examples, there can be many reasons why delaying could cause more complications - unnecessary complications - to the IDLV process, and those complications could also have been easily avoided by attempting this process sooner than later. Sometimes the consequence is additional delay, or additional cost, but sometimes it could potentially prevent you from converting your licence meaning to obtain an Australian drivers licence through the 'normal' process (ie, starting from the start with no recognition of prior driving history or licence). Regardless of the reason behind these circumstances, a little forward planning could have and potentially would have avoided any issues.
To obtain a quote on our notary public services for India, please visit http://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/notary-fees/.
This blog is supported and maintained by Phang Legal. Phang Legal is a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. With offices conveniently located in Parramatta, Phang Legal supports and services the Indian community across Sydney with readily available and easily accessible notary public services at highly competitive rates.
For more information regarding notary public services for documents going to India, view our notary publications at http://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/jurisdiction/india-notary/.
Frequently asked questions regarding our notary public services can also be found at http://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/faqs/.
For Hindi to English translation services by NAATI accredited translators, see http://hindi-naati-translation.blogspot.com.au/.
Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public, including the kinds of problems and solutions that his clients face when sending documents to India.
IMPORTANT: the information in this article is correct at the time of publication, however the law constantly changes. This means you should always refer to the most recent articles because we try to update this blog on a regular basis with the most current information.