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What is an RC Book?

RC stands for Registration Certificate. As per the Indian Motor Vehicles Act, every vehicle in India must be registered with a Regional Transport Office to be driven on Indian roads. After registration, the transport authority provides you with a Registration Certificate, which is popularly known as RC Book. This document contains details about the vehicle and its owner including the registration number, name and address of the owner, chassis number and the engine number of the vehicle, make and model of the vehicle, class.


Every vehicle in India has to be registered with a Regional Transport Office (RTO). Without this registration, vehicles are not allowed to ply on Indian roads.


And when you register a vehicle with an RTO, the transport department authority will provide you with what is known as the Registration Certificate. Also known as the RC book or the RC, it is essentially a piece of document that contains several key details about a vehicle and its owner.


Here’s a quick look at a few of the details that you can typically find in the RC of a vehicle.


  • The registration number of the vehicle

  • The name and address of the owner of the vehicle

  • The make and model of the vehicle

  • The chassis number and the engine number of the vehicle

  • The class of vehicle

  • The type of vehicle body

  • The colour of the vehicle

  • The unladen weight and wheelbase of the vehicle

  • The cubic capacity, seating capacity, and the type of fuel used by the vehicle

  • The registration date and the RC expiry date

Of late, in a bid to make it easier for vehicle owners to carry the Registration Certificate of their vehicle, RTOs throughout the country have started to issue RC cards. They’re quite compact and contain a smart chip, just like a credit card, that holds all of the relevant information about a vehicle and its owner.

How to Apply for an RC book or an RC Smart Card?

Usually, when you buy a new vehicle, your dealer would take care of the registration process.

That said, you can also personally initiate the vehicle registration process and get the RC yourself. Check out the process flow below to see how you can do it.


  1. Head to the Regional Transport Office that’s nearest to you along with your vehicle.

  2. An RTO official in charge of vehicle inspection will thoroughly inspect your vehicle.

  3. Fill and submit Form 20, which is an application for obtaining an RC book.

  4. The RTO official will take an imprint of your vehicle’s chassis number.

  5. Submit all of the other supporting documents required for vehicle registration.

  6. And finally, pay the fees at the counter and obtain the receipt for the same.

  7. The Registration Certificate of your vehicle will be sent to your address after a few days.


Once the certificate is issued for your vehicle, you can also download your RC book online through the DigiLocker smartphone application. This will allow you to carry an online RC copy with you, wherever you go.

Fees for getting a Registration Certificate for your Vehicle

Now that you’ve seen the application process and how to get your RC book online, let’s take a look at the fees that you would have to pay.

The fee structure varies depending on the type of vehicle you own. Check out the table below for more information.

Type of Vehicle


Two Wheelers

Rs. 300

Light Motor Vehicles (LMV) - Non Transport

Rs. 600

Medium Goods and Passenger Vehicles

Rs. 1,000

Heavy Goods Vehicles

Rs. 1,500

Heavy Passenger Motor Vehicles

Rs. 5,000

Imported Motor Vehicles

Rs. 3,000

Imported Motorcycles

Rs. 5,000

Documents Required for Vehicle Registration

Knowing the list of documents that you’re required to submit to obtain a Registration Certificate for your vehicle is extremely crucial.


It can help speed up the registration process significantly. Here’s a quick overview of the documents that you need.


  1. Form 20, duly filled with all information

  2. Sales certificate, in Form 21, issued by the dealer of your vehicle

  3. Certificate of roadworthiness, in Form 22 and Form 22A, issued by the vehicle manufacturer

  4. A copy of your PAN card

  5. Your passport size photographs

  6. The invoice copy issued by the dealer and manufacturer of the vehicle

  7. A copy of your vehicle’s insurance policy

  8. A copy of your proof of address

  9. Form 34, duly signed by the financier and the owner of the vehicle.

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How to Convert an RC Book to an RC Smart Card?

As you’ve already seen above, RTOs throughout the country have started to issue RC cards with a built-in smart chip.

If you’re in possession of an RC book, you can choose to convert the same to an RC smart card. The process that you would have to follow is listed below.


  1. Firstly, you would have to write a letter to the Superintendent of Traffic Police of your city detailing the need to get your RC book converted to an RC smart card.

  2. Carry a copy of your vehicle’s insurance plan and its pollution certificate.

  3. Pay the necessary charges for conversion.

  4. Submit your original RC book along with the above mentioned documents at the RTO that’s nearest to you.

  5. A new RC card will be mailed to the registered address within just a few days.

How to Check Vehicle RC Details?

You might want to verify the rc details of your vehicle for numerous reasons. In that case, all that you would have to do is follow the process outlined below.

  • Steps to Check RC Details Online

  1. Visit the VAHAN website.

  2. Click on the ‘Know Your Vehicle Details’ option.

  3. If you have an account already, log into it. Otherwise, register for a new account.

  4. Once logged in, enter your vehicle’s registration number, the captcha code, and click on ‘Vahan Search’.

  5. The details of your vehicle will be displayed on the webpage.

  • Steps to Check RC Details through SMS

  1. Type VAHAN <space> the registration number of your vehicle.

  2. Send the above as an SMS to this number - 7738299899.

  3. You will receive the details of the vehicle as an SMS from the above number.


With this, you must now be aware of what is an RC book and how to apply for one. It is one of the most important documents that every vehicle owner should have on them at all times.


If you’re planning to purchase a new vehicle and register it yourself personally, remember to first buy an insurance plan for the vehicle. You will not be permitted to apply for an RC for your vehicle without a valid insurance plan.


Bajaj Markets can help you get an insurance plan for your vehicle in no time. All that you need to do is visit the website, browse through the various vehicle insurance plans available, and choose the one that fits your needs. It is as simple as that.

FAQs on Registration Certificate

Is obtaining the Registration Certificate for a vehicle mandatory?

 Yes. According to the Motor Vehicles Act, every vehicle should have a Registration Certificate issued by a Regional Transport Office.  

What will happen if a vehicle is found to not have a valid Registration Certificate?

Driving a vehicle without obtaining an RC or with an invalid RC book is illegal and can lead to exorbitant fines.  

What are some of the details that you can find in an RC book?

You can find information on the owner of the vehicle such as their name and their address. In addition to that, you can also find information on the vehicle such as its engine and chassis number, the type of fuel it runs on, its cubic capacity, and more.  

How long is the Registration Certificate valid for?

A typical Registration Certificate for a vehicle is only valid for 15 years from the date of issuance.  

What should I do once the validity of my vehicle’s RC expires?

Once the Registration Certificate of your vehicle expires, you can choose to extend its validity by a period of 5 years by making an application to the Regional Transport Office.  

How do I change the address on the Registration Certificate?

To change the address on the Registration Certificate, the following documents are required:

  1. Submission of a duly filled-out Form 33

  2. Proof of address change. The following documents are admissible - affidavit stamped by a public notary, electoral roll, ration card.

  3. Submission of passport size photos.

  4. Certificate of registration of the vehicle.

All the documents can be submitted to either Grade 1 Motor vehicle inspector or the Regional transport officer. The process of address change should take 1 day.

How long is the temporary RC valid?

The temporary RC is valid for a period of 30 days.


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