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RTOs in India

Everything you need to know about RTO in India

Every existing or future vehicle owner in India needs to be well-versed with the meaning, role, scope, functions of an RTO. Doing so will ensure that you have a smooth and safe driving life in India.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about RTOs in India.


Table of Contents:

  • What is an RTO?
  • What is the Full-form of RTO?
  • What are the Functions and Responsibilities of an RTO?
  • What is the RTO Registration Process?
  • What is the Difference Between RTO and DTO
  • RTO Codes for Different States in India
  • How to get a Custom Vehicle Number?
  • RTO Fees
  • RTO Forms

What is an RTO?

An RTO is a government organization that deals with the management and administration of all transport related operations in India. Every RTO office is specifically created to adhere to the rules and regulations laid down by the Motor Vehicles Act – 1988.

For instance, under the Motor Vehicles Act, there are various chapters that range from Granting of driving license, Suspension of driving license, vehicle registrations, Power of State Government to make rules, and beyond. It is the job of every RTO to implement these rules. Ever wondered where the first RTO in India was? The first RTO was established in Chennai in 1921

What is the Full-form of RTO?

The full-form of RTO is Regional Transport Office. A Regional Transport Office (RTO) deals with the administration, registration, and transportation activities of a particular region in India. Some of the most important activities of any RTO is vehicle registration, driver’s license registration and renewal, issuance of fitness certificates, renewal of vehicle, and beyond.

As of 2023, there are 1100+ RTO centers across India. In Maharashtra alone, there are more than 51 RTOs, including 5 RTOs in Mumbai city.

What are the Functions and Responsibilities of an RTO?

As previously mentioned, every RTO in India needs to implement the rules and regulations laid down under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. That is the fundamental role of any RTO. That being said, mentioned below are some of the most important functions and responsibilities of an RTO:


  • Vehicle Registration and Renewal: As per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, every vehicle that is driven on public roads in India needs to be registered. If a vehicle is found without a valid registration certificate (RC) then the vehicle may be impounded and the owner may be subject to fines as well as jail time. It is the function of an RTO to check vehicles and disburse vehicle registration documents.
  • Registration and Renewal of Drivers License: As per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, every individual that is driving on public roads needs to have a valid license. It is the function of an RTO to issue and renew licenses after a person passes the requisite driving test.
  • Collection of Road Tax: Public roads require regular maintenance in order to remain functional. It is the role of an RTO to collect these road taxes from vehicle owners.
  • Issuing Fitness Certification: Older vehicles tend to emit more fumes that damage the environment and increase pollution. It is the task of an RTO center to periodically examine older vehicles and issue fitness certificates for the said vehicles.
  • Regulation and Enforcement of Traffic: RTOs along with coordination with traffic police have the power to enforce and regulate traffic in the city.
  • Suspension of license: RTOs have the power to suspend a drivers license if the violator is found guilty of over-speeding, drunk-driving, dangerous driving, misuse of vehicle, and more.
  • Issuing Duplicate Documents: There are times when a person may lose his original vehicle documents like RC book, drivers license, and more. It is the duty of the RTO to disburse duplicate copies of the same to the vehicle owner at a cost.
  • Issuance of NOC: There are a variety of NOCs that RTOs have a responsibility to issue. Some of the common NOCs include re-registration of vehicle, allotment of fancy number, registration of vehicle, and more.
  • Impounding and Release of Vehicles: There are times when a vehicle may be required to be impounded. It is the duty of the RTO to do so. A vehicle may be impounded if road fines are not paid, accident cases, police investigation, and more.
  • Conducting Auctions: RTOs also have the role of conducting auctions of vehicles that are ownerless. They can either conduct the auctions themselves or participate in a tie-up with a vehicle auction house.

What is the RTO Registration Process?

How do you register your new vehicle? Let’s find out.

Step 1: Submission of Documents

First, you will need to fill-up and submit a bunch of forms that including form 20. Once filled, you will then need to submit the forms to the office. It is advisable to take the assistance of an RTO agent to ensure smoothness of process.

Step 2: Processing and Checking

Now, your documents will be verified, processed, and then approved.

Step 3: Payment of Charges

Next, you will then need to pay the requisite RTO charges and fees. Be sure to take the receipt / acknowledgment of your payment made.

Step 4: Get your vehicle inspected

Next, you will need to get your vehicle inspected by the RTO. Remember, you will need to visit the RTO with your vehicle for this. Once your vehicle is checked and approved, you will need to fill-up and submit a bunch of forms.

Step 5: Approval

Now, the Assistant Regional Transport Officer (ARTO) will issue his approval for the vehicle.

Step 6: Get your Registration Card (RC)

Finally, once the ARTO issues his approval, you will receive your registration certificate to your registered address. Keep the RC safe and secure.

What is the Difference Between RTO and DTO

An RTO (Regional Transport Office) and a DTO (District Transport Office) are both government organizations that deal with the administration, management, and logistics of road transport in India.

An RTO is based in a particular region, whereas a DTO is present in a particular district. A DTO is an organization that oversees the functioning of all the RTOs in a particular district.

Difference Between RTO and DTO







An RTO is considered to be subordinate to a DTO.

A DTO is considered to be at a higher hierarchy compared to an RTO.


Number of Offices

RTOs have more offices compared to DTO as they are regional centers.

Generally, there is only a single DTO per district.


Scope of Authority

RTOs have to report to their district DTO

DTO has authority over regional RTOs


Policy Implementation

RTOs have to role of implementing the policies under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

A DTO has the role of ensure that RTOs are functioning smoothly and efficiently.



Regional Level

District Level

RTO Codes for Different States and UTs in India


RTO Code























Himachal Pradesh


Uttar Pradesh




Madhya Pradesh


West Bengal


Andhra Pradesh




Arunachal Pradesh








Daman and Diu






Jammu and Kashmir




Dadra and Nagar Haveli






Andaman and Nicobar




How to get a Custom / Fancy Vehicle Number?

There are certain provisions that allow a person to select his or her own preferred vehicle number. Let us talk about how a person can get a custom vehicle number from his nearest RTO.

Step 1: Check if your desired customer number is available

Visit your nearest RTO, and make an inquiry whether your desired custom vehicle number is available for selection. You can also check if your fancy / custom number is available online by visiting the Vahan Portal

Step 2: Online Registration

If you are looking to go the online route, then you will need to register yourself on the Parivahan Website. Once registered, you can bid of custom / fancy numbers.

Step 3: E-auction

Now that you are registered under Parivahan, you can now participate in E-auctions where you can bid on your preferred fancy numbers.

Step 4: Check E-auction status

Once you have placed your bid, you will now need to periodically check your bid status to know whether you have been outbid by someone else. If you have been outbid, you can readjust your bid if you so choose. You will also need to fund your account within 5 days of the bid.

Step 5: Get allotment letter

If you are lucky enough to be the winning bidder, and you have funded your account with the required amount, you will then be furnished with an allotment letter. Kindly take a print of the same for further reference. Take this letter to your RTO office along with your vehicle and finish the registration process.

RTO Fees

RTO fees depend on the state where the RTO is located. That being said, the RTO fees are more or similar across states. You will have to check with your local RTO center to get the updated rates. You can also contact an RTO agent to expedite your work.

RTO Forms

There are over 65 forms that can currently be downloaded on the Parivahan Website. Mentioned within are some of the most widely used forms.



About the Form


Form 20


Used for the registration of new vehicles


Form 21


Sale Certificate


Form 22


Used to certify road-worthiness


Form 29


Notice of Transport of Ownership of a Vehicle


Form 30


Application for transfer of vehicle ownership


Form 34


Application for making an entry for an agreement


Form 38A

Report of Inspection Form


Form 51

Certificate of Insurance


Form 60

Working Certificate

All Forms


Author Bio

This article is written by Team, an independent website that writes about insurance, finance, health, and more. Our writers have a wealth of knowledge, experience, and degrees in the fields of insurance, finance, economics, and beyond.

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