Indian Vehicles and Types of Number Plates

Habish Ribin Haneef
Updated on


A number plate is a very crucial aspect as a vehicle is concerned. As per the motor vehicles act of 1988, no vehicle can be driven by any person in public places in India until it is registered by a registering authority. After the completion of the registration process of a vehicle, a number plate is installed on that particular vehicle. But, you would have noticed that different vehicles have number plates with different colours. Many know the reason behind this but many don’t. During the registration process, depending on the purpose of the vehicle, the government assigns a particular colour code for the number plate. In this blog, let’s discuss different types of Indian number plates and the reason behind their different colours.

Types of Indian Number Plates:

There are mainly eight types of number plates used in vehicles in India. These are listed below,

  • Red colour number plate
  • Red colour number plate with Indian emblem
  • Blue colour number plate
  • White colour number plate
  • Yellow colour number plate
  • Green colour number plate
  • Black colour number plate
  • Number plate with upward pointing arrow

Red Colour Number Plate:

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A red colour number plate with white writing on it implies that the particular vehicle has only got a temporary registration from the Road Transport Office (RTO). The vehicle is yet to get a permanent registration. Usually, the validity for this type of number plate is one month. The rules and regulations regarding the red colour number plate vary from one state to another state. But some Indian states do not allow these types of number plates.

Red Colour Number Plate with Indian Emblem:


A number plate without a licence number and has the Indian emblem fixed on it. Vehicles with such number plates are used by the Indian President and governors of various states. You can also see the Indian flag fixed above the number plate.

Blue Colour Number Plate:

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Vehicles having blue colour number plates with white writing on them are used by foreign diplomats or ambassadors. These licenced plates do not use the code of the Indian state where it belongs but instead use the country code of the diplomat. The blue-coloured number plates consist of alphabets such as DC (Diplomatic Corps), CC (Consular Corps), UN (United Nations) etc.

White Colour Number Plate:

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This is the most common type of number plate you can see on Indian roads. Number plates having white colour with black writing on them. A vehicle with such a number plate belongs to a common citizen of the nation and is a private vehicle. These types of vehicles can’t be used for commercial purposes like transporting goods and ferrying passengers.

Yellow Colour Number Plate:

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You might have seen vehicles having yellow number plates with black colour writing on them. Such vehicles are called commercial vehicles and can be only used for commercial purposes. They are used for carrying passengers or for transporting goods and services. You can see these types on number plates on buses, taxis, trucks, etc. The important factor is that the driver of these types of vehicles should hold a commercial driving licence to drive them.

Green Colour Number Plate:

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Vehicles with green-coloured number plates are becoming more common these days. Such vehicles are slowly revolutionizing the automotive field. A vehicle having a green-coloured number plate with white writing on it implies that the particular vehicle is an electric vehicle.

Black Colour Number Plate:

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Luxury hotel transportation is frequently provided by vehicles with black-coloured number plates. Another advantage of these types of vehicles is that they can be used for commercial purposes. They are available for rent for self-drive. Also, there is no need for a commercial driving licence to drive these vehicles.

Number Plate with Upward Pointing Arrow:

A vehicle with a black-coloured number plate having an upward-pointing arrow indicates that the vehicle belongs to the Indian Army. The military vehicles follow a unique numbering style, unlike other number plates. This type of number plate has 11 digits in it and is registered under the ministry of defence, New Delhi. The number plate contains an upward-pointing arrow as the first or third character and this arrow is called “broad arrow”. The broad arrow is used in many parts of the British Commonwealth. The two digits succeeding the broad arrow represent the year in which the military procured the vehicle. The next is the base code, followed by the serial number. The letter after the serial number denotes the class of the vehicle.


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Answer. A red colour number plate with white writing on it implies that the particular vehicle has only got a temporary registration from the Road Transport Office (RTO). The vehicle is yet to get a permanent registration.

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