All you need to know about R.T.O Vehicle Registration Information

RTO or Regional Transport Office is a government organization tasked with keeping track of every vehicle on Indian roads. The government mandates that all the vehicles that ply on public roads are registered with at an RTO. After capturing all the RTO vehicle information, the vehicle owner is provided with a vehicle registration card. Other responsibilities of RTO include issuing driver's licenses, inspecting vehicle insurance and conduction pollution checks on the vehicles.


Key Responsibilities of RTO

RTO fulfills many other responsibilities alongside the registration of new vehicles. These include:

  1. Conduct driving tests
  2. Grant and renew of driving license
  3. Inspection of vehicle insurance
  4. Conduct pollution tests
  5. Collect road tax/ excise duty as applicable
  6. Register new vehicles
  7. Grant international driving license
  8. Provide freight and public transport licenses
  9. Maintain the database of all registered vehicles
  10. Vehicle transfer and registration of vehicle loan transactions
  11. Provide badges to taxi and autorickshaw drivers
  12. Conduct assessment of vehicles involved in an accident
  13. Issue fitness certificates for transport vehicles

Temporary registration

It is important to remember that once a vehicle is registered at an RTO, the RTO registration number for the vehicle is permanent. This does not change under any circumstance, including the sale of the vehicle.


That said, if the vehicle is bought in one state/union territory and needs to be registered in another state/union territory a temporary registration certificate can be issued under Section 43 of the Central Motor Vehicle Act. The registration is valid for a period of one month and the vehicle must be registered at the appropriate RTO before the registration expires.


How to check your Vahan registration details online?

RTO has developed an integrated software solution for vehicle registration called Vahan. This system is used not only for vehicle registration but also for other RTO functions like issuing renewal permit and fitness certificate and registering the transfer of the ownership of a vehicle. This frees up the RTO officials to focus on other tasks.


To get vehicle registration information using Vahan, simply send an SMS in the following format: VAHAN{SPACE}VEHICLE NUMBER to 77382 99899. Typically, you would receive the pertinent information within five minutes, including:

  1. Name of the registered owner
  2. RTO office where the vehicle was registered
  3. The expiry date of the latest fitness certificate issued
  4. Ownership serial number, i.e. how many hands the vehicle has changed thus far.

The same information can also be obtained through the "Vehicle Search" service offered at While the above information is available to all citizens, additional information is only provided to authorized users. This includes:

  1. Chassis number
  2. Engine number

RTO Forms

You will have to fill and submit appropriate forms at the RTO office to avail most of their services. These forms can be downloaded from their website directly. Some of the most important forms include:

  1. Form 20- Application for registration of a motor vehicle
  2. Form 21- Sale certificate
  3. Form 23- Certificate of registration
  4. Form 24- Registration of motor vehicle
  5. Form 29- Notice of transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle
  6. Form 38 A- Report of inspection
  7. Form 50- Bill of lading
  8. Form 51- Certificate of insurance
  9. Form 54- Accident information report
  10. Form 57- Certificate for foreign insurance

Document required for vehicle registration

Before we look at the process of registering a vehicle with the RTO, here is the list of documents you would need for the process:

  • Duly filled Form 20
  • Passport size photos
  • Invoice from the manufacturer or dealer, as applicable
  • Sales certificate or Form 21
  • Form 22 from the company/ Roadworthiness certificate
  • Pollution under control certificate
  • Certificate of insurance
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of date of birth
  • Temporary registration certificate (if any)
  • In the case of imported vehicles, a clearance certificate from the customs
  • In the case of HP endorsement, Form 34
  • Chassis & Engine Pencil Print
  • PAN card
  • To register tractors, a bonafide agriculture certificate issued by the Tehsildar
  • Form A under Taxation Act, 1997

Vehicle registration process

To register your vehicle:

  1. Visit the RTO office in your city with all the required documents and duly filled in forms listed above. It is advisable to carry a copy of all the documents and forms as well.
  2. You would also need to carry a demand draft for the applicable road tax
  3. Submit the registration form and the documents along with the requisite fee at the allotted counter.
  4. The registration is usually completed within a couple of days,
  5. On successful registration, RTO would assign a vehicle number.


The vehicle registration fee that you are required to pay depends on the type of vehicle you wish to register. Given below are the fees for the most popular vehicle types:


Issue or renewal of registration of the vehicle


Motorcycle and Invalid Carriage


Non-Transport Three Wheeler/Quadricycle/Light Motor Vehicles


Transport Three Wheeler/Quadricycle/Light Motor Vehicles


Medium goods vehicle


Medium passenger motor vehicle


Heavy goods vehicle and Heavy passenger motor vehicle


Imported motor vehicle


Imported motorcycle


Any other vehicle not mentioned above


Get a fancy number for your vehicle

Fancy or personalized numbers are usually not allotted through the computer generation algorithm. If you would like to have one, you will have to bid for it on an online auction instead. To participate in the auction, you must register online with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway.


The state governments set aside a few fancy numbers from the series 1 to 9999 for auction that is carried out through the RTO website. Anyone who would like to get one of these numbers should register to participate in the auction by paying a specified fee. On the day of the auction, available numbers and the starting bid price is released by the concerned RTO. You would have to select the numbers you would want to bid on and make a refundable payment towards each. Once the bidding is closed and results declared, the winning bidder will have to pay the outstanding amount, and the initial payment made by other bidders will be refunded. The winning bidder would also be able to download the allotment letter from the website.


RTO Codes for different regions In India

A different RTO code is allocated to each state and union territory in India. You can see the same as the first two characters of the vehicle registration number. Here is the list of all the codes:

  • AP—Andhra Pradesh
  • AR—Arunachal Pradesh
  • BR—Bihar
  • CG—Chhattisgarh
  • CH—Chandigarh
  • DL—Delhi
  • DN—Dadra and Nagar Haveli
  • GA—Goa
  • GJ—Gujarat
  • HP—Himachal Pradesh
  • HR—Haryana
  • JH—Jharkhand
  • JK—Jammu and Kashmir
  • KA—Karnataka
  • KL—Kerala
  • LD—Lakshadweep
  • MH—Maharashtra
  • ML—Meghalaya
  • MN—Manipur
  • MP—Madhya Pradesh
  • MZ—Mizoram
  • NL—Nagaland
  • OD/OR—Odisha
  • PB—Punjab
  • PY—Puducherry
  • RJ—Rajasthan
  • SK—Sikkim
  • TN—Tamil Nadu
  • TS—Telangana
  • TR—Tripura
  • UP—Uttar Pradesh
  • UK—Uttarakhand
  • WB—West Bengal

Registering transfer of vehicle ownership at an RTO

For registering a transfer in ownership of a vehicle, you will have to:

  1. Submit duly filled Form 29 and 30 requesting the transfer of vehicle ownership.
  2. If the transfer is to a state other than where the vehicle was originally registered, an NOC has to be obtained from the originating RTO.
  3. If the vehicle was purchased on a loan, an NOC has to be obtained from the financer as well.
  4. A valid PUC certificate must be submitted.
  5. Present a valid certificate of vehicle insurance
  6. Pay the applicable fees and road taxes
  7. Present the original registration certificate of the vehicle
  8. Submit an affidavit stating the sale and purchase of the vehicle
  9. Submit proof of address and date of birth along with passport size photographs.

Things you should know about vehicle registration in India

  1. The certificate of vehicle registration has an initial validity of 15 years. After this, the certificate has to be renewed every 15 years. The renewal is subject to the roadworthiness and fitness of the vehicle.
  2. Typically, temporary vehicle registration is valid for a period of one month. In case the Chassis and the body of the vehicle are not attached, the temporary registration may be extended.
  3. RTO can reject a renewal request if:
    1. The documents and details provided are deemed insufficient
    2. RTO has reason to believe that the vehicle was stolen
    3. The vehicle does not meet the set safety standards and/or emission norms
  4. While RTOs are governed by both the Central Motor Vehicle Regulations and the state-specific regulations, the registration is valid across all states and union territories in India.
  5. Re-registration is required if the vehicle is moved from one state to another. The re-registration is mandatory in case you move to a new state for longer than 12 months.

Documents required for re-registration of the vehicle

  1. Duly filled Form 20
  2. Form 28 indicating NOC from the original RTO
  3. If the vehicle was purchased on loan, NOC from the financer
  4. Proof of address
  5. Any applicable fees and taxes
  6. Certification of valid vehicle insurance

Some state regulators also require a clearance from the National Crime Record Bureau before the approval of re-registration. But you need not provide a certificate for this as the RTO would carry out the required check with the bureau directly.

Format for vehicle registration number plates

  1. The number plates for private vehicles must have black letters on a white background.
  2. The number plates for commercial vehicles like buses, taxis, etc. must have black letters on a yellow background.
  3. The number plates for commercial vehicles available on a rental basis must have yellow letters on a black background.
  4. The number plates for vehicles belonging to foreign consulates must have white letters on a light blue background.
  5. Number plates are not required for vehicles used by the President of India and the state governors. These vehicles must have the emblem of India in gold embossed on a red plate,

Components of a vehicle registration number

As you may have noticed, most vehicle registration numbers follow a format made up of four components. These are:

  1. The first two letters indicating the state or union territory where the vehicle is registered
  2. The next two digits indicate the district where the vehicle was registered.
  3. Followed by 4 digits to indicate the vehicle registration number. If all the numbers till 9999 are exhausted for the RTO, a two-letter code is added to the number.

What are the services offered through VAHAN?

The state transport department in India is governed by both the state-specific Motor Vehicle Regulations and the Central Motor Vehicle Regulations. As such, Vahan has been conceptualized to capture functions that cut across both CMVR and the state MVR. The services currently offered include:

  • Vehicle Registration
    • New Vehicle Registration
    • Renewal of Registration
    • Transfer of Ownership
    • Change of Address etc.
  • Permit
    • Issue of National & Interstate Permit
    • Renewal of Permit
  • Taxes
    • State-wise tax calculation & Payment
  • Fitness
    • Issue of Fitness Certificate
    • Renewal of Fitness Certificate
  • Enforcement
    • Issue of Challan
    • Settlement of Penalty Amount

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