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Tata Capital > Blog > Loan for Vehicle > Types of Number Plates in India: A Comprehensive Guide

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Types of Number Plates in India: A Comprehensive Guide

Types of Number Plates in India: A Comprehensive Guide

Different types of number plates bear distinctive meanings depending on the type of vehicle. From personal vehicles to commercial vehicles, electric cars, and even military vehicles, each has its unique identification. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various types of number plates in India, their significance, guidelines, and other relevant information. So, let's dive right in!

Number plates not only serve as a legal requirement but also play a crucial role in identifying vehicles on Indian roads. The Regional Transport Office (RTO) is responsible for issuing vehicle number plates in India. They issue eight different types of number plates that cater to the diverse needs of various vehicles.

Different Types of Number Plates in India with Their Guidelines:

Let's take a closer look at each type of vehicle number plate along with their respective guidelines:

1. White Number Plate

The most common type of number plate in India is the white number plate which is used for personal vehicles. These number plates feature black numbers and letters on a white background.

2. Yellow Number Plate

Yellow number plates are used for transport vehicles including taxis, rickshaws, buses, and trucks. They feature black letters and numbers on a yellow background.

3. Green Number Plate

Green number plates are exclusively used for electric vehicles in India. However, there is a difference in letter colouring between commercial and private electric vehicles.

4. Black Number Plate

Black number plates are used for self-rental vehicles such as bikes and cars in India. Although registered as commercial vehicles, drivers do not require a commercial driving license to drive these vehicles.

5. Red Number Plate

Red number plates are temporary registration numbers issued to brand-new vehicles. They display the temporary registration numbers in white and are valid for 30 days.

6. Blue Number Plate

Blue number plates are reserved for vehicles belonging to foreign missions and embassies in India. These number plates feature white letters and numbers on a blue background.

7. Number Plate with an Upward-Pointing Arrow

Number plates with upward-pointing arrows are used for military vehicles in India. They feature black letters and numbers on a yellow background, with an upward-pointing arrow in the first part of the number plate.

8. Red Number Plate with India's Emblem

Red number plates with India's emblem are exclusively used for official vehicles of high-ranking government officials such as the President of India, Vice President of India, Governors of States, and Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories. These number plates feature white letters and numbers on a red background, with India's emblem in the centre.

Components of a Vehicle Number Plate

A vehicle number plate consists of several components that provide specific information about the vehicle. The first two letters denote the state where the vehicle is registered, followed by digits representing the Regional Transport Office (RTO) code. The third component is alpha-numeric and unique to each vehicle, while the last component denotes the international registration code for India, which is "IND."

Understanding High-Security Registration Plates (HSRP)

High-security registration plates (HSRP) are tamper-proof number plates made of aluminium. They contain a unique laser-etched code below India's international code (IND) and an Ashoka Chakra hologram. HSRPs were introduced to maintain a digitised record of all registered vehicles and prevent fraudulent activities related to number plates.

Laws Related to Vehicle Registration Number Plates in India

To ensure compliance and eliminate ambiguities, the Ministry of Roads and Highways has recently amended rules for vehicle registration and new type number plates in India. Here are some key updates:

1. Temporary Registration Number Plates: Driving a new motor vehicle with a temporary registration number printed on paper is considered an offence. Temporary license plates will now be issued with red alpha numerals on a yellow background instead of the earlier colour scheme.

2. Use of Characters: Characters other than basic English letters and Arabic numerals, including regional languages and VIP numbers auctioned or sold by different states or Union Territories, are banned.

3. Specification Updates: The Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR) now specify the size, thickness, and spacing of characters on number plates. The three parameters should be 65 mm, 10 mm, and 10 mm, respectively, for all motor vehicles except two and three-wheeled vehicles.

4. Green Layer for BS-VI Vehicles: BS-VI four-wheelers will have a green-coloured layer of 1 cm on the number plate along with a sticker indicating whether the vehicle runs on diesel, CNG, or petrol.

Rules for Vehicle Number Plates in India

Apart from the specific guidelines for each type of number plate mentioned above, some general rules apply to all vehicle number plates in India:

1. No pictures or fancy lettering is allowed on the number plate.

2. Transport vehicles should paint the registration number on both the left and right sides.

3. Rear number plates of transport vehicles should be affixed on the right side at a height of 1 meter from the ground.


In this complete guide, we explored the various types of number plates in India and their significance. Understanding these different types can help you identify different categories of vehicles on Indian roads. Remember to abide by the laws related to vehicle registration number plates to avoid any legal consequences.

Now that you are aware of the different types of number plates in India, make informed decisions when it comes to vehicles and their registration. If you're planning to purchase a new vehicle or need financial assistance for your existing one, Tata Capital offers various vehicle loan options like used car loans and two-wheeler loans to suit your needs. You can also explore more vehicle loans on Tata Capital.

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