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RTO Registration and its process

The Regional Transport Office (RTO) is responsible for registering and keeping track of every vehicle that runs on the Indian roads. Each state has many RTOs spread across their length and breadth and these offices offer citizens a wide range of services related to their vehicles. One of the most important services RTOs offer are vehicle registration.

As soon as you buy a vehicle, you must register it. You can get a temporary registration number immediately, but you must follow it up with a permanent registration within one month.

Vehicle Registration Process in India

Once you buy a new vehicle, it is mandatory to register it with the RTO. The registration of a car is a two-step process:

  • Temporary RTO Registration Number in India:
    As a buyer, you get this number the moment you purchase the car. The seller or dealer gives you a temporary number, indicating that your vehicle is not permanent yet. The number is valid only for a short span of time, and within this period, it is necessary to get a permanent registration number. 
  • Permanent Vehicle Registration Number in India:
    Once a new vehicle is registered with the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways through a local RTO, you will get a permanent registration number. You cannot change it under any circumstances. If you move from one state to another, you will have to re-register it.

How can you register your vehicle online in India?

To ensure ease and convenience of the process, the government has simplified and digitised vehicle registration. Vahan is an integrated portal used mainly for vehicle registration. Through Vahan, you can swiftly get a registration number for your new car or bike. You can also use Vahan to get a renewal permit, fitness certificate, transfer of ownership of the vehicles etc

You can also check the details of your registered vehicle via an SMS or online. If you are in any mishap, all you have to do is send an SMS to Vahan in the following format VAHAN{SPACE}VEHICLE NUMBER to 77382 99899 and check the details. You will receive the following information immediately:

  • Owner’s details
  • The RTO office where you registered the vehicle
  • Fitness certificate expiry date
  • Ownership serial number

You can also visit the Vahan website (https://parivahan.gov.in/vahanservice/vahan/ui/statevalidation/homepage.xhtml) and check the details of a two-wheeler or four-wheeler by entering its registration number.

What are some of the

  • Form 20- Application for registration of a motor vehicle
  • Form 21- Sale certificate
  • Form 23- Certificate of registration
  • Form 24- Registration of motor vehicle
  • Form 29- Notice of transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle
  • Form 38 A- Report of inspection
  • Form 50- Bill of lading
  • Form 51- Certificate of insurance
  • Form 54- Accident information report

These forms are available on the state RTO portals. You can download any of these and furnish them to the RTO centre at the time of application. You can also get these from at the RTO itself. (Read more about RTO Forms)

How to get a custom or fancy / special number plate for your car?

Many car owners want a specific number for their car – it could be a series like 1234 or 7777 or any combination of other numbers. These numbers are also called vanity or fancy numbers and are not randomly allotted but are sold off in an auction by the RTO. Getting a number like this is expensive and the cost for some numbers could even run into lakhs.

You can bid for these online at the Parivahan website (https://parivahan.gov.in/fancy/) on the days that the RTO opens them up for auction. A minimum bid price is set for each number, and to participate you can choose your number and pay the minimum price. If your bid wins in the auction, you will have to pay the balance amount to the RTO. If you bid does not win the auction, your payment will be refunded. For one vehicle, you can bid for a maximum of 5 numbers, but only one will be allotted to you.

What are the fees for RTO vehicle registration in India?

The RTO charges a fee for the different services it renders. RTO registration charges depend on the type of vehicle you want to register. The following table explains the fees for each class of vehicle:

Vehicles for registration


Motorcycle and Invalid Carriage

INR 300

Invalid Carriage


Non-Transport Three-Wheeler/Quadricycle/Light Motor Vehicles

INR 600

Transport Three-Wheeler/Quadricycle/Light Motor Vehicles

INR 1,000

Medium goods vehicle

INR 1,000

Medium passenger motor vehicle

INR 1,000

Heavy goods vehicle and Heavy passenger motor vehicle

INR 1,500

Imported motor vehicle

INR 5,000

Imported motorcycle

INR 2,500

Any other vehicle not mentioned above

INR 3,000


What are the documents required for Vehicle Registration Process?

After purchasing a vehicle from the dealer, the buyer has to register it before a specific period, which is generally one month.

You will need a copy of the following documents for the registration process:

  • Application form CMV20
  • Sale certificate of the car
  • Active insurance certificate
  • Valid address proof
  • Temporary registration issued by the dealer
  • Registration fee
  • PAN card copy
  • Original invoice
  • Sales tax clearance certificate and No Objection Certificate from RTO (if you are buying the vehicle in one state and registering it in another)

What is the vehicle registration process?

The Motor Vehicle Act 1998 makes it mandatory to for the owner to apply for vehicle registration at the local RTO office within the stipulated time. You can allow the dealer to complete the registration on your behalf or you could do it yourself. On completion of the registration process, you will receive the Registration Certificate (RC) for your car. The RC copy is an official document which comprises general information regarding the vehicle – including the make, date of purchase, colour, chassis number, registration number, the name of the owner etc. It is mandatory to keep the RC copy in the car while driving.

If you have chosen to do the registration yourself, here’s the process to follow. Fill up the relevant forms and carry copies or originals of the documents as required with you to the RTO. Pay the following charges:

  • Registration fees: which is chargeable according to the size of the vehicle. The registration fee is different for bikes, cars, trucks etc.
  • Road tax: Percentage of amount varies from one city to another
  • Hypothecation charges: It is applicable only if the loan is taken. This is for the processing of the hypothecation.

After submitting the documents, the Regional Transport Office (RTO) authorities will inspect the car. For this, you will be asked to drive your vehicle to the RTO office. The inspection is mainly to check if the vehicle and its documents are the same.   

After the successful physical verification of the vehicle, the RTO officials take few days to process and register your vehicle. You then receive the vehicle number and the registration papers. This completes the vehicle registration process.

Your vehicle registration comes with a validity period of 15 years. You must renew or re-register your vehicle within 30 days from the date of expiry.