How to Obtain a Temporary Registration Number for Your Car?

Buying a new car is a wonderful feeling. You simply can’t wait to take out your new car for a long drive and enjoy all the comforts that it has to offer. The wait comes to an end when you pick up your brand new car from the dealer’s showroom or when it is delivered to your home. However, when you buy a new car, you need to follow a few motor laws to prevent falling into any legal trouble.

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To begin with, you must buy motor insurance for your car with at least a third party insurance cover under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. You can always choose to buy comprehensive insurance for your car for better and wider coverage. Moreover, it is advisable to buy comprehensive insurance for your car as soon as you buy a new car so that any unfortunate loss or damage to your car can be covered by your motor insurance company. But before you take your brand new car home, you need to ensure that it holds a temporary registration number.

What is a Temporary Car Registration Number?

A temporary car registration number is a unique number used to identify a brand new car which is yet to be registered permanently by the Regional Transport Office (RTO). As per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, every car plying on public roads must have a permanent registration number issued by an RTO. Since the permanent registration number may take a while to be issued, it is mandatory to obtain a temporary registration number for a new car to take it home from the showroom.

The temporary registration number for a new car is usually assigned by the vehicle dealer or showroom from which you have purchased your car on your behalf. But if your car dealer has not applied for your car’s temporary registration number, you must apply it yourself before taking your car home. If you are caught driving a car without a temporary or permanent registration number, you may be issued a traffic challan and may have to pay a fine. Basically, your brand new car must have a temporary registration number before it leaves the car showroom or dealer’s premises.

The temporary registration number of a car is valid for a period of one month. During this period, you are required to apply for the permanent registration number of your car with the concerned RTO. As soon as the RTO issues the permanent registration number for your car, your temporary car registration number cease to exist. However, you can apply for the extension of your car’s temporary registration number if the permanent registration number of your car is not issued within a month.

How to Apply for a Temporary Car Registration Number?

In case your car dealer or showroom has not applied for a temporary registration number for your new car on your behalf, you must do it yourself. Currently, you cannot apply for a temporary car registration number online on the Transport Ministry’s Vahan web portal. Take a look at the procedure to apply for a temporary car registration number in India below:

  • Download Form 20 to apply for a temporary car registration number
  • Fill up all required details in Form 20 i.e. the application form
  • Collect all the documents required to apply for a temporary car registration number
  • Visit the RTO holding jurisdiction over your residential area and submit the form as well as the required documents
  • Pay the charges to obtain the temporary car registration number
  • The RTO will issue a temporary registration number for your new car

Documents Required to Apply for a Temporary Car Registration Number

To obtain a temporary registration number for your new car, you need to submit a few documents to the concerned RTO. Take a look at the documents to apply for a temporary car registration number:

  • Form 20 or the application form to apply for a temporary car registration number
  • Form 21 or the sale certificate of the car
  • Form 22 or Road Worthiness certificate for the car
  • Motor insurance certificate for the car
  • Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate of the car
  • Address proof of the car owner, such as Aadhaar Card, electricity bill, ration card, etc.
  • Copy of PAN Card or Form 60 and Form 61 in case the PAN Card is not available

How to Download the Application Form for Temporary Car Registration Online?

As you are aware, you need Form 20 to apply for the temporary registration of your new car. To download Form 20 or the application form to apply for a temporary car registration number, follow the steps given below:

  • Visit the official website of Parivahan Sewa by the Ministry of Road, Transport & Highways
  • Go to the ‘Informational Services’ tab on the menu bar
  • Select ‘Downloadable Forms’ option from the drop-down menu and click on sub-option of ‘Vehicle Registration’
  • A page with the option to download several forms will appear
  • Click on Form 20 and other required forms (Form 21 and Form 22) to download them

Temporary Car Registration Fee

Every car owner needs to pay a fee to obtain the temporary registration number for his/ her new car. However, these charges may differ from one state to another. The following table shows the charges to apply for a temporary car registration number in a few states. You must contact the RTO of your state to know the exact charges to obtain the temporary registration number of your car:

Name of the State Temporary Car Registration Fee
Andhra Pradesh Rs 300
Kerala Rs 100 + Rs 50 (service charge)
Madhya Pradesh Rs 50
Punjab Rs 50
Rajasthan Rs 200
Tamil Nadu Rs 40 + Rs 100 (service charge)

Extension of a Temporary Car Registration Number

The temporary registration number for a car comes with a validity of one month. You must apply for the permanent registration number of your car before it expires. In case you do not receive the permanent registration number for your car by the expiry of its temporary registration number, you will have to apply for the extension of the latter with the RTO.

At the time of applying for the extension of your car’s temporary registration number, you will have to specify the reason for requesting an extension to the RTO. You will also have to specify the time period up to which your temporary registration number must be extended. Just like you paid a fee to obtain the temporary registration number for your car for the first time, you will have to pay the applicable charges during the extension.

Remember that you can apply for the extension of the temporary registration number of your car for a maximum of two times. While applying for the extension of your car’s temporary registration number for the second time, you will be required to pay a penalty according to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.

Documents Required to Extend a Temporary Car Registration Number 

At the time of applying for the extension of your car’s temporary registration number, you must submit the following documents to the concerned RTO:

  • Form 21 or a sales certificate of your car. You will be required to provide the original sales certificate of your car in case it is an ex-army vehicle
  • Form 22 or Road Worthiness certificate for the car
  • Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate of the car
  • Motor insurance certificate for the car
  • Address proof of the car owner, such as Aadhaar Card, electricity bill, ration card, etc.

Guidelines for Temporary Car Registration Number Plate

While using a car with a temporary registration number, you need to follow a few guidelines to stay out of any legal trouble. The Central Motor Vehicles Rules were amended in 2020 to enforce stricter guidelines related to the car number plate. Take a look at the guidelines for cars with temporary registration number below:

  • Fix a temporary car registration number plate at the front and back of your car.
  • All alphabets on the number plate should be in the English language and numbers in Arabic numerals.
  • The background of the number plate should be in yellow with red font colour.
  • The height, thickness and space between two numbers/ alphabets on the number plate should be 10 mm each.
  • Do not paste a piece of paper with the temporary registration number written on it on your car.
  • Do not write anything (caste, name, etc.) except the registration number on the number plate.
In a Nutshell

Every car in India must be registered by an RTO as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The RTO issues a permanent registration number to every car for identification purpose. However, the permanent registration number is not issued instantly which is why a person needs to first apply for a temporary registration number for his/ her car. You can download the application form online and submit it with the required documents, such as the comprehensive motor insurance certificate, to your RTO covering your area. Make sure to obtain a temporary registration number before driving your car out of the showroom or dealer’s premises.

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