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Types of Number Plates in India
May 18, 2022

What is the Right Way to Display Vehicle Number Plate?

The vehicle license plate is also referred to as the ‘number plate’. The number plate is a metal plate that is attached to a motor vehicle and the vehicle registration number is embossed on it. The official license plate number has 4 different parts and context. Every part has a certain purpose. The number plates are placed at both the front and back of the motor vehicle. The display vehicle number helps to identify the vehicle.

Understanding the Format of Number Plate

As per Rule 50 & 51 of the Motor Vehicles Act, any motor vehicle owner need to use a unique number plate which is issued by the Road Transport Authority. To ply on the Indian roads, ensure that you have the third party insurance which comes under the basic types of motor insurance in place. Let us briefly understand the breakdown of a number plate.

Part 1

The first part stipulates the Union Territory or State which is denoted by two alphabets. For instance, in Maharashtra, the motor vehicle number plate begins with the code MH. For Delhi DL, and so on. The significant alphabets of the states/ union territory are used. This method somewhere began in the 1980s.

Part 2

The coming 2 digits are the sequential number of the state. Every state has one district in it. In case you do not know every district handles the new vehicle registration. It implies that every district has its Regional Transport Office that is in charge of the motor vehicle registration and the driver.

Part 3

Now, the third part of the license plate is a unique number that enables vehicle identification. In case, the number is unavailable then alphabets are used to replace the last digit. It also ensures codes for all motor vehicles in surplus numbers. It is also a common practice to purchase custom numbers by paying a price.

Part 4

The fourth part is the oval logo that reads ‘IND’, which stands for Indian*. The oval also has a chromium hologram on the top which resembles a Chakra. It is mostly used in High-Security Registration Plates and is tamper-proof introduced in 2005. It is a mandate* for all motor vehicles, yet some states are yet to adopt the practice. *Standard T&C apply All of these unique codes come together to give the motor vehicle a unique identification number.

Know the Number Plate Rules in India

To ensure the optimum safety of your vehicle, it is recommended to opt for a comprehensive motor insurance policy. As per the MV Act (Rule 50 and 51), the Indian vehicle owners need to take care of the following number plate rules in India: The registration alphabet and number must be in black on a white background for two-wheelers, and light motor vehicles like a car. For commercial vehicles, black alphabet on yellow background. The size of the vehicle number plate and the alphabets will be given in the pamphlet for every category of a motor vehicle. Fancy alphabets are not permitted. Also, other pictures, arts, and names need not be displayed. The number plate should be displayed on the front and rear sides of all motor vehicles. In the case of a motorbike, the registration number in the front should be displayed parallel to the handlebar on any vehicle part like a mudguard or the plate.

What Should be the Size of the Vehicle Number Plates in India?

The table below shows the size of the number plates in India:

Type of Vehicle


Two and three-wheelers 200 x 100 mm
Light motor vehicle. Passenger Car 340 x 200 mm or 500 x 120 mm
Medium or Heavy commercial vehicle 340 x 200 mm
  Now, let us proceed ahead to understand the size of alphabets and numerals of the registration work:

Vehicle Class

Dimensions in MM

Height Thickness Space
Motorbike with engine capacity less than 70 CC Front letters and numerals 15 2.5 2.5
Three-wheelers with engine capacity above 500 CC Front and rear numerals and letters 40 07 05
Three-wheelers with engine capacity of less than 500 CC Front and rear numerals and letters 35 07 05
All motorbikes and three-wheeled invalid carriages Front letters and numerals 30 05 05
Rear letters 35 07 05
Rear numerals 40 07 05
All other remaining motor vehicles Front and rear numerals and letters 65 10 10

The Bottom Line

As a responsible citizen of India, it is important to be aware of all the variations used in the license numbers across the country. Ensure that you follow every protocol laid down by the respective body. Also, do not forget to timely do insurance renewal to avail of the motor insurance benefits. A motor insurance policy will take care of the end-to-end needs.   Standard T& C  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.

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