While traveling across the country, or even your city, you must have come across varied types of number plates in India. Some could be yellow, others green or even blue. 

The Motor Vehicles Act 1988 makes it mandatory for all vehicles, whether they be four-wheelers or two-wheelers, to be registered with the RTO (Regional Transport Office) after a car sale or purchase.

These number plates, apart from indicating that your vehicle is registered and eligible to be driven around the city, also point towards the kind of vehicle you own. 

In this article – we explore the different kinds of number plates in India and what they represent. 

Different Types Of Number Plates In India

1. The White Number Plate

If you own a non-commercial vehicle, two and four-wheelers alike, you must have noticed the white number plate on it. These are the most commonly seen number plates and indicate that the vehicle is meant for only personal or private use. As someone who owns a non-commercial vehicle with a white number plate, you will not be eligible to carry around passengers or goods in it. 

2. Red Number Plate

A red number plate with numbers gets assigned to newly bought vehicles. It is a temporary sign of registration until the permanent one is acquired. 

Once the Regional Transport Office assigns you a permanent license plate, you can replace the red one. 

The validity of the red number plate lasts only a month. 

The rules around driving a red number plate vehicle can vary from state to state. While some states allow the use of these vehicles on public roads, others have strict policies against them. 

3. Yellow Number Plate

All commercial vehicles, like taxis, buses, trucks, auto-rickshaws, etc., are required to have a yellow number plate with black lettering. The yellow number plate denotes that the vehicle is eligible to carry out commercial functions and has a different tax structure than private vehicles. 

4. Black Number Plate

You must have often witnessed rental vehicles with black number plates. The black number plates have yellow lettering and are also eligible to be used for commercial purposes. However, unlike yellow number plate vehicles, these vehicles do not need a commercial driving license. 

Also Check: Types of Cars in India: Different Body Types Explained

5. Blue Number Plate

Foreign diplomats have vehicles reserved especially for them. These vehicles have a blue number plate with white lettering. These vehicles instead of having Indian state codes, bear the foreign diplomats’ country codes.

6. Green Number Plate

 These number plates are made specifically for electric vehicles. The color of the lettering on the number plate can change based on whether it’s a commercial vehicle or a private vehicle. Commercial ones have green plates with yellow lettering, while private ones have green plates with white lettering. 

7. Upward Arrow Number Plate

The Ministry of Defence of India requires a different type of number plate. All vehicles registered under the ministry bear an upward arrow at the beginning of the number plate or after the second character. Different characters in the number plate denote different things. For instance, the last alphabet indicates the class of the vehicle, the first two digits following the arrow characterize the year of purchase, the alphabets next to these numbers denote the base code, and the rest are the serial numbers.

8. A Plain Red Number Plate/Number Plate with the National Emblem

The governors of different states of India, much like the members of the ministry of defense, have different number plates for their vehicles. This number plate is not to be confused with the red number plate used for newly bought vehicles. It bears the national emblem of India, if the national emblem is golden in color the number plate denotes that the vehicle is used by the President of India. 


There are many types of number plates in India that serve their purpose. Many times during car sales and purchases, people focus on the numbers on the number plate and have a superstition wrt the numbers that add up to a certain “lucky” number.

What we do know here, at India Car Bazaar, is that everything that we do is tangible. There are no superstitions, just continuous deliverance on promises.

If you’re looking to resale a car in the Delhi NCR region, reach out to us, and we can help you get the best price for your vehicle.