Understanding the Red Number Plate in India

In India, vehicles with a red number plate are distinctive and have specific regulations associated with them. Red number plates are commonly seen on vehicles that are part of car dealerships or are used for commercial purposes such as for testing, demonstration, or transportation. These plates serve as temporary identification for vehicles that are not yet registered or do not have a regular number plate.

What is a Red Number Plate?

A red number plate is a temporary vehicle registration plate that is issued by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) in India. It is also known as a dealer number plate or a temporary number plate. Vehicles with red number plates are allowed to be on the road for a limited period, usually until the vehicle is registered and receives a permanent number plate.

Purpose of Red Number Plates

The primary purpose of red number plates is to allow vehicles to be driven legally on public roads while they are in the process of registration. This is particularly useful for car dealerships that need to transport vehicles from one location to another or for manufacturers conducting testing or demonstration drives.

Features of Red Number Plates

1. Red Background: The distinctive feature of a red number plate is its red background color. This easily distinguishes it from regular number plates which are white with black text.

2. White Lettering: The registration number on a red number plate is displayed in white color to ensure visibility.

3. Validity Period: Red number plates are valid for a specific period, usually 30 days from the date of issuance. It is essential for vehicles to obtain regular registration within this time frame.

4. “Applied For”: Instead of a registration number, red number plates typically have “Applied For” written on them, indicating that the vehicle is in the process of being registered.

Regulations for Vehicles with Red Number Plates

1. Limited Use: Vehicles with red number plates are not allowed for personal use or as a substitute for regular registration. They are strictly meant for specific purposes such as testing, demonstration, or transportation.

2. Insurance Requirement: Even vehicles with red number plates need to have valid insurance coverage as per the Motor Vehicles Act.

3. No Alterations: It is illegal to modify or alter red number plates in any way. They must be displayed as issued by the RTO without any changes.

4. Speed Limit: Vehicles with red number plates are often subject to speed restrictions, especially during test drives or demonstration purposes.

How to Obtain a Red Number Plate

If you are a car dealer or involved in activities that require the use of red number plates, you need to follow a specific procedure to obtain them:

1. Application: Submit an application to the RTO detailing the purpose for which the red number plate is required.

2. Documentation: Provide necessary documents such as proof of identity, address, vehicle ownership, and insurance.

3. Fees: Pay the requisite fees for the issuance of the red number plate. The cost may vary depending on the RTO and the duration for which the plate is required.

4. Approval: Once the application is processed and approved, the red number plate will be issued for the designated vehicle.

FAQs about Red Number Plates in India

1. Can I use a vehicle with a red number plate for personal purposes?

No, red number plates are strictly for specific purposes such as testing, demonstration, or transportation related to the vehicle’s registration process.

2. Is it legal to drive a vehicle with a red number plate on highways?

Yes, vehicles with red number plates can be driven on public roads, including highways, as long as they comply with the regulations.

3. What happens if the validity period of the red number plate expires before registration is completed?

It is essential to renew the red number plate or obtain regular registration before the validity period expires to avoid legal implications.

4. Can red number plates be transferred between vehicles?

No, red number plates are issued for specific vehicles and cannot be transferred or used on any other vehicle.

5. Do vehicles with red number plates need to undergo regular pollution checks?

Yes, vehicles with red number plates are subject to the same regulations as vehicles with regular number plates, including pollution checks.


In conclusion, red number plates in India play a crucial role in allowing vehicles to be legally on the road for specific purposes before they receive permanent registration. Understanding the regulations and limitations associated with red number plates is essential for car dealerships, manufacturers, and individuals involved in activities that require temporary identification for vehicles. By following the designated procedures and complying with the rules, it is possible to make effective use of red number plates in a lawful and responsible manner.

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