How to apply for a new smart driving license in Kenya

Kenya driver license a3techworld

For quite some time, drivers in Kenya have been required to carry compact booklet-style Driving Licences, issued by the government upon successfully passing their driving exams. Additionally, the renewal of these licenses has been necessary, either on an annual basis or once every three years, involving a corresponding fee.

In 2017, the National Transport and Safety Authority, acting on behalf of the government, initiated a transformative shift from the traditional manual booklets to a modern card-style Smart Driving License. Notably, this updated version also incorporates an embedded chip designed to record essential driver information, encompassing personal details as well as comprehensive driving history, including any past infractions.

For those entering the realm of driving in Kenya, the issuance of the new generation driving license has become standard procedure. Simultaneously, holders of the prior generation cards are encouraged to transition to the new generation format. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on the seamless process of obtaining this updated card.

How to Apply for the New Generation Driving License in Kenya

  1. On your browser, go to and log into your TIMS account. You can also get to this via eCitizen.
  2. Click “Get Code” and wait for an OTP code that will be sent to you.
  3. Now, enter the verification code you have just received and click “Sign In”.
  4. Click on “Driving License” and select “Apply for a smart driving license”.
  5. Double-check to ensure that your details are correct and click on “Next” at the bottom.
  6. Click on “Pay”.
  7. You will be taken to a payment page where you will choose your payment method. Choose your preferred method and pay Ksh. 3050.
  8. Click on “Complete” to finish the payment process.
  9. After that, you will be directed to a page with your invoice. You can download it to your device as a PDF document.

That is the first step. After that, you need to go back to the TIMS Dashboard and click on the ‘Smart DL Appointment’ option. This will allow you to select a centre that you will have to visit for the second phase.

The second phase involves you submitting your biometrics to the NTSA along with the verification of the details that will appear on your Smart DL.

After this, you will be asked to wait for a given period before coming for the Smart DL. Please note that these take anywhere between a week and 5 weeks to get ready.

Consequences for Driving Without a License in Kenya

If caught driving without a valid license, the penalties can be substantial. A first-time offence could result in a fine of up to Kshs. 20,000 or even a jail term of up to 3 months. Subsequent convictions carry heavier consequences, with fines reaching up to Kshs. 30,000 or imprisonment for up to 6 months, or both. For a similar article read our comprehensive guide on How to check your NHIF status in Kenya.

Qualifications for Obtaining a Driving License

For those seeking a driving license, specific criteria must be met. As per Section 33 of the regulations, the minimum age for acquiring a driving license is 18 years for motor vehicles and 16 years for motorcycles. However, individuals aiming to become Public Service Vehicle drivers need to be at least 24 years old. Furthermore, such applicants must possess a driving license for a minimum of four years.

Applicants must also fulfil the following conditions, outlined in Section 31:

  1. Successfully pass the driving test.
  2. Declare that they possess no physical disabilities that could jeopardize public safety while driving.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to read a motor vehicle identification plate from a distance of twenty-five meters, whether with or without corrective eyewear.

Application Process for Provisional Driving License (PDL)

According to Section 32 of the Traffic Act, those seeking to learn to drive must acquire a provisional driving license (PDL). However, individuals with a PDL are only permitted to drive under the supervision of a qualified driver holding a valid license for the applicable class.

Here is the step-by-step procedure for obtaining a PDL:

  1. Access the TIMS NTSA portal at
  2. Choose the “Driving License” option.
  3. Select “Apply for PDL,” furnish the required information, and complete the necessary payment.
  4. Download the provisional driving license (PDL).

Upon completing driving school, you can apply for the driving test through the NTSA TIMS portal and proceed with the required fee payment.

Application Process for New Driving License

Section 37 of the Act mandates the digital issuance of driving licenses in the form of smart cards, effective from December 11, 2017. Once you’ve successfully passed the driving test, you’re eligible to apply for the issuance of your driving license. Even current license holders can apply for the new smart license.

To apply for a smart license, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the TIMS NTSA portal at
  2. Select the “Driving License” option.
  3. Click on “Apply for Smart Driving License.”
  4. Provide the requisite details.
  5. Complete the payment and visit the NTSA Office with your invoice and passport photo.
  6. Collect your smart driving license at the designated time.

Renewal of Your Driving License

Per Section 30(4) of the Act, a license can be renewed for a three-year duration upon expiration.

Old-generation driving licence

Holders of the old generation licences should apply for renewal on e-citizen. However, the renewal is only for a period of one year. The process is as follows:

  1. Log into the e-citizen website
  2. Select the NTSA portal
  3. Select Make application then select Driving licence
  4. Select a one-year driving licence renewal
  5. fill in the required details and pay the required fee
  6. Download your licence and stick it in your red book.

Smart driving licence

Holders of the smart licences should apply for renewal on the NTSA TIMS portal. The renewal is for a period of three years. The process is as follows:

  1. Log into the TIMS NTSA portal
  2. Select a driving licence.
  3. Select Renew the driving licence and fill in the required details.
  4. Pay the required fee and pick up your licence from NTSA.

Obtaining a Duplicate Driving License

As outlined in Section 38 of the Traffic Act, individuals can apply for a duplicate license in cases where the original license is lost, defaced, or damaged.

For lost or mutilated licenses, the process for obtaining a new smart license on the NTSA TIMS portal is as follows:

  1. Log in to the TIMS NTSA portal at
  2. Select the “Driving License” option.
  3. Click on “Apply for Smart Driving License.”
  4. Provide the required information.
  5. Make the payment and visit the NTSA Office with your invoice and passport photo.
  6. Collect your duplicate driving license at the designated time.

Verifying Your Licensed Driver Status

As per Section 36 of the Traffic Act, any person operating a motor vehicle must carry a driving license or provisional license. Moreover, if requested by a police officer, the driver is obligated to present the license for inspection.

Valid forms of proof for holding a driving license include:

  • A printed license
  • A smart license
  • A softcopy license
  • A confirmation from 22846 containing your license details. Send DL (ID Number) to 22846 to receive this confirmation.

How to Check Driver License Expiry Date in Kenya

Below are the three ways to check your driver’s license expiry date in Kenya:

1. Via SMS

  1. Type “DL” followed by your national ID number and send it to 22846.
  2. You will receive an SMS message with the expiry date of your driving license.

2. Via The NTSA App

  1. Download the NTSA app from the Google Play Store or the App Store.
  2. Open the app and sign in with your NTSA account.
  3. Click on “View Application Status” and select “Verify License”.
  4. Enter your national ID number and you will see the expiry date of your driving license.

3. Via The ECitizen Website

  1. Go to the eCitizen website and log in to your account.
  2. Click on “NTSA Services” and select “Driving License Services”.
  3. Click on “Check License Listing” and enter your national ID number. You will see the expiry date of your driving license.

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