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Car Number Plate in India: A definitive Guide to RTO Number Plate

Buying any vehicle in recent days has never been easier as compared to the past years. There are many offers available in the market, various product schemes and discounts that vehicle companies and other outlets are always offering. Therefore, it is not at all a hassle for you to buy a vehicle at a reasonable price. In fact, now it has become much easier with the availability of finance through loans and EMIs for you to own a vehicle. When you are buying any vehicle, the vehicle number plate takes an important position and hence it becomes essential for you to know the importance of your vehicle number plate to avoid any unwanted fines or penalties.

All motor vehicles in India are labelled with a registration number or a license number. The Vehicle registration plate or a car number plate, generally known as vehicle number plate which is issued by the Regional Transport Office of a particular state which is the key authority handling the entire transport.

The vehicle number plate is a grouping of numbers and letters that gives every vehicle a separate identity and registers the vehicle with the Regional Transport Office. As per The Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, it is obligatory for all vehicle owners like you to get their vehicles registered according to the RTO number plate rules and fix the vehicle number plate on both the back and the front side of the vehicle. Any non-adherence to this rule is treated as the defilement of the rule book and the owner of the vehicle will be penalized. The primary reason why a vehicle is allotted a vehicle number plate is that there is a record of the vehicle with the respective RTO and can be easily traced as and when needed and the whereabouts of the vehicle can be found if needed.

Now let us see and understand what does a vehicle number plate or a car number plate contains so that you are aware of the same

Vehicle Number Plate and its Important parts

It is important for you to know what the numbers and letters in a car number plate imply and what is the significance of the same. Let us see the below points:

  • 1st Two Letters:
    The first 2 letters of the Vehicle Number Platespecify the state or the region in which the vehicle is registered with the respective RTO. For example: if your vehicle is registered in Kolkata then your vehicle will be allocated WB which is the code of the State
  • Next Two numbers:
    This represents the district where the vehicle is being registered. This number differs with each and every district as all districts have a different Regional Transport Office
  • 3rd section:
    This part in the Vehicle Number Plateis the exclusive numerical grouping which is given to the vehicle. This number contains 4 digits but the combination may be of lesser digits or can be a specially chosen grouping of numbers which is purchased at the Regional Transport Office in specified auctions with more price
  • 4th and Last part:
    This part in the Vehicle Number Plateshows a symbol which is IND implies India. This is a very recent update in the parts of a vehicle number plate. The purpose is to prevent unprincipled and dishonest individuals who are engaged in illegal and unlawful doings. This number is specifically used in HSRP which is known as High-Security Registration Plates. HRSP are damage-proof plates that were first brought into the picture in 2005. The main purpose was to lessen the number of thefts of the vehicles and it is compulsory for all the vehicles as per the law.

What is High-Security Registration Plates (HSRP)?

You must be wondering what is HSRP and why it is important? As per the latest RTO number plate rules, all the vehicles, be it old or new must be having the HSRP on the vehicle. This law has been enforced to safeguard consistency and regularity of registration plates across India. RTO number plate rule also mentions that from 1st April 2019, every vehicle which is new will be attached with HSRPs to avoid any botheration to you as a buyer of the vehicle and comes as a breather to you and other buyers standing in long lines to have the HSRP fixed after completing the process of registration for their vehicles.

Advantage of High-Security Registration Plates (HSRP)

The main advantage of fixing an HSRP on the vehicle is it stops thefts of the motor vehicles. Criminals will not be able to exchange the number plates with the new one as the ownership and control of those plates is entrusted only with the Indian Government which helps the respective authorities to keep a tab on the growing of vehicle thefts in India.Important points of High-Security Registration Plates (HSRP)

Some important points or aspects for you to remember pertaining to HSRP are:

  • The High-Security Registration Plates are made of aluminium with rounded ends
  • These places of registration have a 7-digit exclusive code carrying a snap lock which can be removed
  • If an individual tries to swap the High-Security Registration Plates with the number plate which belongs to him, he will fail to do so, as by breaking of the snap lock, installation of another number car number plate becomes impossible
  • High-Security Registration Plates contain a hologram of the Ashok Chakra and the abbreviation of India which is written as IND on the car number plate
  • Fixing of High-Security Registration Plates makes sure that all the RTOs have the complete data of the country of all the vehicles registered to keep a tab and control of all movement of the vehicles
  • You should go to the RTO office to get a new vehicle number plate issued in cases where there has been damage to the High-Security Registration Plates

What is a temporary Vehicle Number Plate?

When you buy a vehicle, the most important and critical step is to undergo the registration process as per the RTO number plate rules. Basically, here the dealer is responsible for issuing a label named as TR. This TR is a provisional number which is a validity period of only for a month and within this time frame, you as an owner of the vehicle should go to the RTO office to get his or her vehicle legitimately registered and obtaining a normal vehicle number plate. This process is usually done by the authorized car dealers who get the permanent vehicle number plate for you. As per the rule, the motor vehicle examiner at the RTO department does all the necessary verification and authentication. One very important point to note here is that during this time in the process where the vehicle is getting registered, you are not allowed to drive the vehicle on the road and if found the same, this will be treated as a serious offence and you will be liable to pay heavy penalties.

The difference in the format of the car number plate

Have you often noticed that there are different alphabets and various colours which are seen in many car numbers plates? Why is this so and what do those imply? Let us see the answer here. There can be a slight difference or variation in the car number plate. In a couple of states in India, the initial 0 of the district court is substituted from the vehicle number plate through a letter. These letters represent the class of the vehicle. Below is the list of the letters and the type of vehicles:

  • C stands for SUVs and Cars
  • E stands for all vehicles which run in electric
  • P stands for vehicles carrying passengers like buses, etc.
  • R stands for all three-wheeler vehicles which are basically rickshaws
  • S stands for all two-wheeler’s vehicles
  • T stands for vehicles carrying tourists
  • Y stands for vehicles which are used to hire
  • V stands for all the pickup trucks and vans

Importance of the different colours in vehicle number plates

  • White: When the vehicle number plate is white in colour and in black font, the vehicle is considered as a private one and the same should not be used commercially
  • Yellow: When the vehicle number plate is yellow in colour and in black font, the vehicle specifies as a taxi used commercially or a truck. The driver of the vehicle needs a license from the respective registering authority to drive the same
  • Blue: When the vehicle number plate is blue in colour and in white text, the vehicle is being used by a foreign representative. The vehicle number plate will have the country code in the place of the code of the state
  • Black: When the vehicle number plate is black and in yellow font, the vehicle is commercially used by a private owner who has given the vehicle on rent
  • Red: When the vehicle number plate is red, the vehicle is considered to be used by the Indian President or any governors of the state

Special and Distinct Vehicle Registration Formats

You must have seen vehicles which have a very unique vehicle number plate and do not follow the general pattern and must have questioned. You will find it interesting that there are certain types of vehicles which do not follow the usual set-up of High-Security Registration Plates and they can be listed as below. These categories of VVIP (Very Very Important) individuals have vehicles with these kinds of number plates.

  • Vehicles which belongs to the President of India
  • Vehicles which belongs to the Governor of several states in India
  • Vehicles which belongs to the Military
  • Vehicles which belongs to the Diplomats who are serving India
  • Vehicles which belongs to the State Governments

So, hope the above information about vehicle number plates and HSRPs are useful to you and now you have a fair idea about the same. Have your vehicle registered and drive only after your permanent registration to avoid any penalty and enjoy your ride.


Yes, you can, however, you need to give a written application and pay a certain amount depending on the type of the fancy number and your vehicle.

Custom Font is a font type which can be seen from a distance by anyone. Any mismatch may get you in troublesome situations with the traffic police. You must not use any unreadable fancy fonts or maybe a hassle in reading numbers and different alphabets. You must always clear and bold letters for your vehicle number plate.

Rising Arrow in the car number plate is being used by the Military vehicles. The scheme uses a wide arrow at the beginning and the code of the state is substituted by the manufacturing year of the vehicle.

These HSRPs have a hologram of the Ashok Chakra and the acronym of India written on the same as IND.

The new change of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 has made it compulsory for all vehicles sold on or after April 1, 2019, to be fixed with the High-Security Registration Plates -HSRP which helps in keeping a tab on the vehicle, and makes it easier for the respective authority to track a lost or a stolen vehicle.