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Types of Number Plates in India
Feb 15, 2023

Types of Number Plates in India: Meaning Explained

With more than 74 million registered vehicles, India has one of the highest number of vehicles on road globally [1]. However, this number keeps increasing each year as newer models are launched by car manufacturers, leading to more sales. Not only does this increase the burden on the existing infrastructure, but it also increases the number of road accidents that can take place. As a car owner, you can financially protect yourself and your loved ones from these road mishaps with the help of motor insurance. Along with motor insurance, another vital document for your car is the registration certificate. This certificate shows the registration number and location of your car. The same is displayed on your car’s number plate. There are different types of number plates in India. If you wish to know about them, here is more information related to the different car number plates in India.

What is a number plate?

The number plate is a plate which is required to be attached to the front and rear of your vehicle as per the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988. This plate displays the registration number of your vehicle. The registration number is issued by the Regional Transport Office (RTO). The first two initials denote the state where the vehicle has been registered, for example, MH stands for Maharashtra. It is followed by two digits which denote the RTO from where it got the passing certificate, example 01 is Tardeo in Mumbai. This is followed by two or three alphabets which denote the passing series, for example, if the initials are DA, the car belongs to DA passing series. The last four digits can be a combination of numeric code which is unique to your vehicle only. The international registration code for India is IND, which is also displayed on the number plate.

Types of number plates in India

There are eight types of number plates in India that you might come across. These are:
  1. White number plate

The most common type of number plate in India, these have black lettering on them. A white number plate is used for non-transport vehicles, i.e., private vehicles only. Vehicles with white number plates cannot be used for commercial purposes.
  1. Yellow number plate

This number plate is used by vehicles that are used for commercial purposes. Taxis, private cabs, trucks, and buses have yellow number plates. The number plate is issued only if the owner has the required commercial permit for their vehicle.
  1. Green number plate

This number plate is used by vehicles that are fully electric. Electric cars and bikes, e-rickshaws, and buses are the ones displaying this number plate. One other distinction is the white lettering on them instead of black.
  1. Black number plate

This number has yellow numbering on it. Vehicles with black number plates are used by businesses that provide vehicles for rent. If you were to rent a car, it would come with a black number plate. Vehicles with this number plate are commonly used by luxury hotels. The driver does not require to have a commercial driving permit to drive a vehicle with this number plate.
  1. Blue number plate

Vehicles displaying a blue number plate are used to transport foreign diplomats. There are different codes displayed on them. These codes are UN for United Nations, CC for Consular Corps, and DC for Diplomatic Corps. As these are used for diplomatic purposes, they bear a code for the country to which the diplomat belongs.
  1. Red number plate

A red number plate in India is issued for vehicles that are awaiting their permanent registration from the RTO. Temporary registration mostly has a validity of one month. Each state has its own set of rules related to temporary registration. Many states do not allow red number-plated vehicles to ply on the road.
  1. Number plate with an upward arrow

Number plates that have an upward pointing arrow belong to the defence personnel and the Ministry of Defence.
  1. Red number plate with the Indian emblem
Vehicles belonging to the President of India and the Governors of each state have a red number plate on them. The uniqueness of this is that they display the Indian emblem on them.

 What is the Bharat number plate?

Many working professionals have been relocating to different cities from time to time as a part of their job description. If you own a vehicle and are required to relocate to another state, you would be required to register your vehicle in that other state after relocation. You are initially allowed to ply the road for a period of one year without registering in that state. However, once that period is over, you are required to register your vehicle to avoid paying fines. As this process can be tedious, the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways introduced the Bharat number plate in 2021. This number plate allows you to relocate to another state without the requirement of registering your vehicle there. Do keep in mind that this number plate is issued to only a selected category of employees such as those belonging to the state or central government, defence, or firms with offices in multiple locations across India. * Standard T&C Apply

 The connection between car insurance and number plate

Your car insurance policy displays all the details related to your car, including the registration number.  If you have purchased a new car and want to buy insurance, you can make the vehicle insurance payment online only if you have a valid registration. Most insurers do not allow insurance to be issued on the basis of temporary registration. You would be required to get a new number plate in India to buy insurance. * Standard T&C Apply


This is how you can classify one number plate from another. Do remember to get car insurance for your car for better protection. Use the vehicle insurance calculator to get suitable quotes. Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms, and conditions, please read the sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale. *Standard T&C apply

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