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Vehicle Registration Process – Know Documents and How to Apply

By Mayashree Acharya


Updated on: Apr 21st, 2022


7 min read

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Registering a new vehicle with the Regional Transport Office (RTO) in India is mandatory. Vehicle registration is required to drive it on Indian roads. Vehicle registration means obtaining a unique identification number for the vehicle to differentiate it from others. 

Since the RTO regulates all motor vehicles in the country, it is required to get every vehicle registered at the local RTO. The RTO issues the Vehicle Registration Certificate (RC) for every registered vehicle containing a registration number. The vehicle RC is the official document that denotes that a vehicle is registered with the Indian Government.

The registration number of a vehicle issued by the RTO remains unchanged even when it is sold to another person. The RTO provides a permanent registration number to the vehicle owner, which cannot be changed under any circumstance.

Necessity of Vehicle Registration

Vehicle registration is required for many purposes, which are stated below. 

Proof of ownership

The vehicle RC helps to prove the ownership of the vehicle. The RC is issued in the name of the vehicle owner. Thus, the owner of the vehicle for legal purposes is the person whose name appears as the vehicle owner in the RC.

Sale of a vehicle

The RC is required when the vehicle owner decides to sell the vehicle. Without a valid RC, a vehicle owner will not have a legal right to sell the vehicle or transfer its ownership to another person.

Claiming insurance 

In case of an accident, any person can track the owner or driver of the vehicle through the vehicle registration number. The RC helps people identify the persons involved in an accident and settle the claims. The Transport Ministry keeps a record of the registered numbers of the vehicles in the country, and the registration of every vehicle helps them get the statistics right.

Legal requirement

Registering a vehicle is not a choice but a legal requirement in India. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 regulates vehicle registration and provides that registration of a vehicle is mandatory in our country. According to the Act, a person should not drive an unregistered vehicle, and the registration number must be displayed on the vehicle.

Temporary and Permanent Registration Number

When anyone purchases a vehicle from a dealer, the dealer will already register the vehicle with the RTO. However, this registration will be temporary. After buying the vehicle, the owner (purchaser of the vehicle) must get it registered in his/her name with the RTO. When the owner applies for registration, the RTO will grant the permanent registration number of the vehicle.

Thus, as soon as a person buys a  vehicle, the dealer will provide a temporary registration number which is generally valid for a month. Within one month, the owner must get the permanent registration number for the vehicle. After obtaining a permanent registration, the vehicle will be registered permanently with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Vehicle Registration Procedure

The vehicle registration can be done by the dealer or owner. In many cases, the dealer applies and obtains the permanent registration number of the vehicle. Sometimes, the dealer may provide a temporary registration when buying the vehicle, and the owner will have to apply for permanent registration to the local RTO. Following is the registration procedure for a new vehicle:

Step 1: Visit the local RTO with the new vehicle.

Step 2: Fill the Form 20 and submit it with the required documents to the RTO.

Step 3: The RTO superintendent will scrutinise or inspect the application and documents. 

Step 4: Pay the registration fee and road tax at the cash counter.

Step 5: The Inspector of Motor Vehicles (IMV) will inspect the vehicle.

Step 6: The RTO will enter the new vehicle data into the central database.

Step 7: The RTO superintendent will verify the new vehicle data entered into the database.

Step 8: The Assistant Regional Transport Officer (ARTO) will approve the vehicle registration.

Step 9: The RTO will deliver the vehicle RC to the applicant by post to the registered address.

Documents Required for Vehicle Registration

The vehicle owners must carry the following original documents when they visit the local RTO and apply for vehicle registration:

  • Filled Form 20 (Application for motor vehicle registration).
  • Sale certificate (Form 21 issued by dealer or manufacturer).
  • Road Worthiness Certificate (Form 22).
  • Vehicle insurance certificate.
  • Passport size photographs.
  • Citizenship proof.
  • Temporary registration assigned by the dealer.
  • Invoice from the dealer.
  • Customs’ Clearance Certificate (when the vehicle is imported).
  • PAN card of the owner when the cost of the vehicle is more than Rs.4 lakh.
  • Pollution Under Control Certificate (PUCC).
  • Form 34 in case of loan hypothecation (if applicable).
  • Proof of residence, such as:
    • Aadhaar card.
    • Voters ID.
    • Ration card. 
    • Account statement from a nationalised bank.
    • Registered rent agreement.
    • Utility bills.
  • Identity proof, such as:
    • PAN card.
    • Voters ID.
    • Aadhaar card.
    • Passport. 
    • Driving license. 

Vehicle Registration Fees

The following are the fees for registering a new vehicle:

Type of VehicleFees (in Rs.)
Motorcycles or two-wheeler (Bikes)300
Cars, Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) or Four-Wheeler (Non-transport)600
Cars, Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) or Four-Wheeler (Transport)1,000
Three-Wheeler (Auto rickshaw) (Non-transport)600
Three-Wheeler (Auto Rickshaw) (Transport)1,000
Quadricycle (Non-transport)600
Quadricycle (Transport)1,000
Medium goods motor vehicle (Commercial)1,000
Medium passenger motor vehicle1,000
Heavy goods motor vehicle1,500
Heavy passenger motor vehicle1,500
Imported motor vehicle (Cars)5,000
Imported motorcycles (Bikes)2,500
Others (Not mentioned on the list)3,000

Renewal of Vehicle Registration Number

The registration number of a private vehicle is valid for 15 years from the date the RC is issued. The transport vehicle registration is valid until the date the vehicle fitness certificate expires. The vehicle owners must apply for renewal of the registration certificate in Form 25 to the RTO in whose jurisdiction the vehicle was registered. However, the vehicle owners must apply for renewal of registration not more than 60 days before its expiry date.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

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About the Author

I am an advocate by profession and have a keen interest in writing. I write articles in various categories, from legal, business, personal finance, and investments to government schemes. I put words in a simplified manner and write easy-to-understand articles. Read more


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