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Types of number plates in India: A complete guide

Team AckoApr 30, 2024

Number plates are not just a legal requirement but also serve as a means of identification for your vehicle. But did you know there are different number plate types in India? In this article, we will discuss the various types of number plates available in India and their significance.




What is a number plate?

A number plate is an aluminium plate with a sign affixed to the vehicle’s front and rear. It displays the vehicle’s registration number. The lettering and numbering denote the specific information of the respective vehicle.

Different Types of number plates in India

The Regional Transport Office (RTO) is responsible for issuing vehicle number plates. Here are the 8 different types of number plates issued by the RTO.

Sl. No.

Types of vehicle number plate 














Number plate with an upward-pointing arrow


Red with the emblem of India

Different types of number plates with their guidelines

Here are the various types of vehicle number plates in India with their respective guidelines.

White number plate

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

Yellow number plate

The number plate is used for transport vehicles in India, including taxis, rickshaws, buses, and trucks. These number plates feature black letters and numbers on a yellow background. 

Black number plate

Black number plates are used for self-rental vehicles (bikes and cars) in India. They are registered as commercial vehicles. However, the driver doesn’t require a commercial driving licence to drive a black number plate vehicle. These number plates feature yellow letters and numbers on a black background. 

Green number plate

Green number plates are used for electric vehicles in India. These number plates feature white letters and numbers on a green background. However, there is a difference in letter colouring between commercial and private vehicles. While commercial vehicles get a green number plate with yellow lettering, private vehicles get a green number plate with white lettering.

Red number plate

Red number plates are issued to brand-new vehicles. These are temporary registration numbers. A red number plate displays the temporary registration number in white. It is valid for 30 days. However, some states may not allow you to drive with this type of vehicle number plate. 

Blue number plate

Blue number plates are used for vehicles that belong to foreign missions and embassies in India. These number plates feature white letters and numbers on a blue background. The number plate displays CC denoting Consular Corps, UN denoting United Nations, DC (Diplomat Corps), etc.

Number plate with an upward-pointing arrow

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

Red number plate with India’s Emblem

Red number plates with India's emblem are used for official vehicles of the President of India, Vice President of India, Governors of States, Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories, and other high-ranking government officials. 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

Here are the details of the components of the Indian vehicle number plate.

  • The first two letters of the number plate denote the state where the vehicle is registered. For example, a vehicle registered in Karnataka will bear the letters KA.

  • The following digits denote the Regional Transport Office (RTO) where the vehicle is registered.

  • The third component is alpha-numeric. Each vehicle has a unique code.

  • The last component denotes the international registration code for India, “IND”.

Types of vehicle number plates and the designated user

Here are the details about the designated user for each type of number plate.

  • White: Common citizens.

  • Yellow: Commercial vehicle users.

  • Green: Electric vehicle users.

  • Black: Rental vehicle users, usually cars.

  • Red: Temporary registration number plate usually stays with the dealership.

  • Blue: Foreign vehicle users, usually Ambassadors and foreign delegates.

  • Number plate with an upward arrow: Military vehicle users.

  • Red with India’s emblem: President of India or Governor of a State.

What is a High-Security Registration Plate (HSRP)?

HSRP is a type of vehicle number plate made of aluminium and designed to be tamper-proof. It contains a unique laser-etched code below India's international code (IND) and an Ashoka Chakra hologram. 

The laws governing number plates for motor vehicles in India mandate that all vehicles running on the country's roads must possess a valid vehicle registration plate. It is issued by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) under the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988. To curb fraudulent activities and remove ambiguity, the Ministry of Roads and Highways (MoRTH) has recently amended the existing rules related to vehicle registration plates. These changes were introduced following an amendment to the Act in 1989 and came into effect on 1st October 2020. Here are the details. 

  • Driving a new motor vehicle with a temporary registration number in a paper print is considered an offence. Additionally, temporary licence plates will now be issued with red alpha numerals on a yellow background instead of the earlier colour scheme. 

  • MoRTH has banned using characters other than basic English letters and Arabic numerals, including regional languages and VIP numbers auctioned or sold by different states or Union Territories

  • The Ministry has updated the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), which specify the characters' size, thickness, and spacing on the number plate. According to the new rule, the three parameters should be 65 mm, 10 mm, and 10 mm, respectively, and apply to all motor vehicles except two and three-wheeled vehicles.

  • The updated rules also apply to BS-VI four-wheelers, which will now 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. Vehicles running on diesel will have an orange coloured sticker, while those running on CNG or petrol will bear a blue coloured sticker.

Rules for vehicle number plates in India

Here are some rules for number plates in India.

  • No pictures or fancy lettering on the number plate.

  • The transport vehicle’s rear number plate should be affixed on the right side at the height of 1 metre from the ground.

  • Transport vehicles should paint the registration number on the left and right sides of the vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions-About vehicle number plates in India


How do I obtain a new number plate in India?

You can obtain a new number plate in India by registering your vehicle with the RTO in your state. The RTO will issue a number plate that complies with the guidelines. 

Can I use a personalised number plate in India?

No, personalised number plates are not allowed in India.

What is a temporary number plate in India?

A temporary vehicle number plate is assigned to a brand-new vehicle until the respective RTO issues the permanent number plate to the vehicle. It is valid for a month and comes with colour-coded alpha-numerical based on the type of vehicle.

Can I use a number plate with different colours?

No, only the colours specified for each type of number plate are allowed in India.

Can I use a number plate that does not comply with the guidelines?

No, using a number plate that does not comply with the guidelines can result in a fine and legal action.

Can I obtain a green number plate for my petrol or diesel vehicle?

No, green number plates are only issued for electric vehicles in India.

Are high-security number plates mandatory for all vehicles in India?

Yes, high-security number plates are mandatory for all new vehicles sold in India from April 2019.

How do I apply for a fancy number plate?

You can apply for a fancy number plate through your state's transport department. The availability of fancy number plates may vary depending on the state.

Can I use my fancy number plate on a commercial or government vehicle?

No, fancy number plates are only available for private vehicles.

Which is the best car insurance policy?

Opt for Comprehensive Insurance Policy since it offers wide-ranging benefits, including coverage for damages to the vehicle, theft and third-party liabilities.

Explore More:

"In conclusion, while ensuring the safety and compliance of your vehicle is crucial, it's equally important to prioritise your personal safety and financial security while travelling. By obtaining comprehensive travel insurance online, you can confidently explore new destinations and enjoy your journey without worrying about unexpected events and mishaps."

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on industry experience and several secondary sources on the internet, and is subject to changes. Please go through the applicable policy wordings for updated ACKO-centric content, and before making any insurance-related decisions.


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