Types of Number Plates in India | Know More About Laws, Types and Important Details

Imagine you are stuck in heavy traffic and see no chance of release.

To pass on the time, you look here and there at different bikes and cars. You observe different colours, tires, styles, and various number plates of the vehicle. Have you ever wondered why there are different number plates? What purpose do they serve? Who can use them?

If yes, then great!

If not, and would like to know, then keep reading.

This article discusses the different types of number plates in India.

Also Read: Driving Licence | Check Eligibility, Documents, Apply, Age limit, DL Type

About Number Plate:

In India, a number plate or licence plate is issued by the respective state’s Regional Transport Authority (RTO). It is a combination of alphabets and digits that create a registered number. Every vehicle is provided with a unique number plate.

A Number Plate is an important part of the vehicle, as it serves the two purposes:

  • Gives identity to a vehicle. Thus, we can trace and secure vehicles in case of misuse, stolen.
  • It gives allowance to vehicles to ply on the road.

It is also known as the licence plate of High-Security Registration Plates (HSRP).

The Motor Vehicle Act 1988 made it mandatory that all motorized vehicles plying on Indian roads registered with RTO and have a number plate.

A number plate is placed in the front and the back of the vehicle.

IND is an international code for India.

Also Read: What is Toll Tax? Everything You Need to Know

Components of Number Plate

A Number Plate consists of four types that make it unique and easier to find.

Background: The most common number plate background used in India is white. It indicated that a vehicle is used for personal work and has a private owner—the alphabets and numbers are written in the black colour on this background.

At night, the number is made visible due to an illuminating material used in the background, as it glows whenever light falls upon it.

Registration Number: This is imprinted on the number plate, hot-stamped with IND, which is carved at a 45-degree angle.

Hologram: Hot-stamped chromium-based hologram of Asok Chakra is carved on the left corner of the registration plate. Below this IND- International number plate is printed.

Serial Number: Every number plate has a serial number carved by laser.

Structure of Number Plate:

The initial two letters on a number plate indicate the region or state the vehicle is registered with.

For ex-If a vehicle is registered in Maharashtra RTO, a number plate will bear MH.

Further, two numbers denote the district where the vehicle is registered.

Following numbers (usually four) on the licence plate is a unique alpha-numeric combination code.

RTO auctions provide vanity numbers like 1111, 0001 at a premium price.

The end part of the number plate shows the international registration code for India (IND).

In India, the number plates are categorized into 8 different types. RTO provides number plates according to the purpose, vehicle, and government issues.

  1. White coloured number plate
  2. Yellow coloured number plate
  3. Green coloured number plate
  4. Red coloured number plate
  5. Blue coloured number plate
  6. Black coloured number plate
  7. Number plate with an upward-pointing arrow
  8. Red number plate with the emblem of India

Here is their description:

1. White Number Plate

RTO issues the number plate only to private car owners, for personal use only. It is a widely used number plate with black letters printed on it . Transport of goods and passengers are not allowed to vehicles bearing white number plates.

2. Yellow Number Plate

Vehicles that are being used for commercial purposes have yellow number plates.

Commercial vehicles such as taxis, cabs, trucks drivers must have a commercial driving licence.

The yellow number plate has a black text pattern.

The vehicles with yellow number plates are solely used to transport people and goods.

3. Green Number Plate

As we all know, with the help of technology, humans have brought electric cars into daily use.

Green number plates are allocated to electric cars and buses.

The green background number plate, with white letters on it, is allocated to vehicles being used for private use.

While the vehicle has green number plates and yellow letters on it is permitted to use for commercial purposes.

4. Black Number Plate

Rental and self-driven vehicles can have black number plates. In these number plates, yellow letters are printed on black background.

The majority of luxurious hotel transports use these number plates. To drive these vehicles, drivers need not to have a commercial driving licence even though the vehicle is being used for commercial purposes.

 5. Red Number Plate

Any brand new car, which is yet to be issued by RTO, is allocated a red number plate. It indicates that the vehicle has temporary vehicle registration, valid for 1 month only. The red number plate contains white letters.

Every state has slightly different rules and regulations regarding temporary vehicle registration. Some states do not allow temporarily registered vehicles on the road. 

Vehicles of governors of state have plain red number plates.

6. Blue Number Plate

Only the foreign diplomats’ vehicles can have blue number plates. It has a blue background and white letters printed on it.

These number plates carry alphabets such as UN ( United Nations), DC (Diplomatic Corps), CC (Consular Corps).

These number plates come with the country code of diplomat.

In the given table, we have written the country code of any diplomat.

Code (Number)Country
11Great Britain
77United States

7. Number Plate With Upward Arrow

Military vehicles carry these number plates. These number plates are operated under the Ministry of Defence, India.

The first and third upward-pointing arrows on this number plate are known as the Broad arrow. The immediate two digits after the arrow denote the year in which the vehicle was brought.

Further comes the base code, followed by the serial number. The letter coming after the end of the serial number denotes the class of the vehicle.

8. Red Number Plate that carries Emblem of India

This red background plate has the Emblem of India in gold. Vehicles from which the President of India and state governors travel have these number plates.


Number plates act as an allowance for vehicles to ply on the road. There are eight types of number plates in which they are categorized. Each number plate serves a different purpose.

This article has explained the different types of number plates.

FAQ Related to Types of Number Plates in India

Q. What is the time duration to get a number plate fitted on the car?

Ans – You can get your number plate around 10-12 days after document verification by the RTO.
Once the number plate is available, you can get it installed at your nearest RTO or the vehicle showroom.

Q. What is the approximate cost of a number plate in India?

Ans – Generally, the number plate depends upon your vehicle dealer, the region you live in, and the style of number plate you want.
However, number plate costs for a car ranges from Rs.1000 to Rs. 2000, and for a two-wheeler, it can range between Rs. 400 to Rs. 1000.

Q. Is a number plate mandatory?

Ans – Yes, it is illegal to drive a vehicle without a number plate in India. You might face difficulties if you drive without a vehicle without a number plate.
Thus, it is recommended to drive a vehicle with a number plate.

Q. What do green number plates indicate?

Ans – Electric vehicles bear green cloured number plates. It denotes that the vehicle has zero emission.

Q. Why are all HSRPs ( Higher Security Registration Plates) similar?

Ans – Higher Security Registration Plates denote the unique identity of the vehicle. Thus, it prevents a vehicle from getting stolen and used for the wrong purpose.
Once HSRP is taken off the vehicle; it can not be rescued.
In case HSRP gets damaged, you need to contact RTO for a duplicate HSRP.

Q.How to track an IND number plate?

Ans – Go to findandtrace.com website. Through this website, you can find any vehicle by entering RTO registration and vehicle number.
This website works for any state, district, city, area vehicle.

Q. Can I get 2 number plates for my vehicle?

Ans – No. In India, Regional Transport Office (RTO) allot only one number plate code for a one-vehicle. You can not have two number plates for a similar vehicle. 

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