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Vehicle Registration Through RTO and VAHAN Portal - Step-by-Step Process

By Juhi Walia
31 August 2022, 2:27 PM

Purchasing a motorcycle is always a sensible decision. You can forget bus and train timings and save the money you would otherwise spend on cabs. However, bike ownership brings about some responsibilities, unlike buses, trains, and cabs. So, you must purchase a third-party bike insurance policy, get a Pollution Control Certificate (PUC), and most importantly, register your bike before hitting the road.

When you register your bike, the Motor Vehicles Department assigns your motorcycle a unique number. The number gets displayed at the front and back of your bike. Bike registration gives your bike an identity and the authority to ply on Indian roads. Moreover, non-possession of the Registration Certificate (RC) is a punishable offence, and the local Police may seize your bike. Additionally, without the RC, you cannot purchase two-wheeler insurance policy or get a Pollution Control Certificate(PUC). 

The following paragraphs describe the step-by-step process of registering your bike through the Regional Transport Office (RTO) or the VAHAN portal. 

RTO - What is it?

RTO is the abbreviated form of Regional Transport Office. The primary function of the RTO is to oversee transport-related activities in India. In every Indian state, there are several RTOs. They are controlled and managed by the respective State Governments. RTO facilitates vehicle registration services and promotes PUC checking through third-party vendors. Driving licences are also issued by the RTOs. However, you must contact an insurance provider if you want to purchase a two-wheeler insurance policy since RTOs do not sell bike insurance policies. 

As a vehicle owner, it is essential to understand how RTOs facilitate two-wheeler registrations so that you can register your bike soon after purchasing it. 

How Can You Register Your Bike to Receive the Registration Certificate?

As mentioned, the Registration Certificate (RC) is as essential as a bike insurance policy, driving licence, or PUC. Without a valid RC, you cannot ride your two-wheeler on Indian roads. 

After registering your vehicle with the RTO, an authorised officer will inspect your vehicle and provide you with the Registration Certificate. The RC book (card) contains a unique number known as the Registration Number. You need to display the number prominently at the front and back of your two-wheeler and mention the number when buying a comprehensive or third-party bike insurance policy or PUC. 

The vehicle registration process is different for personal and commercial two-wheelers. You can register your bike in two broad ways - by yourself or through your dealer. 

Vehicle registration numbers are of two types - temporary and permanent. The dealer generally issues the temporary registration number when you purchase a two-wheeler. The temporary number indicates that you are yet to obtain the permanent number from the RTO. 

It is wise to note that the temporary registration number is valid for one (1) month. So, you must apply for the permanent registration number within 1 month from your bike's purchase date. The permanent RC, once issued, cannot be changed. However, if you move to a new State, you may re-register your bike by paying appropriate taxes. 

Vehicle Registration Through RTO - Step-by-Step Process

Just like a third-party two-wheeler insurance policy, it is mandatory to register your bike with the RTO soon after purchasing it. Here is how you can register your bike through the RTO. 

  • Step-1: Locate the nearest RTO and take your vehicle there.
  • Step-2: Ask for Form 20 and fill it correctly.
  • Step-3: Submit it at the right counter along with the documents. The documents are the vehicle’s sale certificate, bike insurance policy certificate, address proof, PAN card, temporary registration number, and registration fee.
  • Step-4: Wait until the RTO Officer or Superintendent evaluates your application.
  • Step-5: Pay the requisite fee at the cash counter.
  • Step-6: Wait until your vehicle gets inspected by the Motor Vehicle Inspector.
  • Step-7: The RTO needs some time to log your vehicle particulars on the central database.
  • Step-8: The RTO Officer or Superintendent checks the data and forwards it to the ARTO. After the RTO Officer forwards your application, the Assistant Regional Transport Officer (ARTO) verifies and approves it.
  • Step-9: The RTO generates the Smart Card (Registration Certificate) and sends it to your registered communication address.

It’s a fact that the vehicle registration process through RTO is not as easy and quick as purchasing a comprehensive bike insurance or third-party two-wheeler insurance policy. But, if all of these sound too complicated, you can take the dealer route, which is much easier. All you need to do is to request your vehicle dealer to process the application on your behalf. 

Checking Vehicle Registration Status Through VAHAN - Step-by-Step Process

Like insurance aggregators like Paytm Insurance simplify bike insurance policy purchases, the VAHAN portal simplifies vehicle registration status checking. You may follow these steps to find the status of your two-wheeler registration online:

  • Step-1: Open the official VAHAN website.
  • Step-2: Click on ‘Application Status’.
  • Step-3: Enter the application number you received from the RTO.
  • Step-4: Hit the ‘View Report’ tab.
  • Step-5: The application status will get displayed on the screen.


The registration certificate, comprehensive or third-party bike insurance policy, PUC, and driving licence are some essential documents you need to carry with you when riding a two-wheeler in India. While you can get all certificates and cards from the RTO or through RTO-empanelled agencies, the bike insurance policy must be bought separately. Visit Paytm Insurance to compare the best bike insurance policies and choose the one that serves your purpose well. 

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1. Can you register your two-wheeler independently?

Yes. You can register your bike by visiting your nearest RTO and filling up Form 20. You must pay the requisite fee and attach a few documents and the application form.

2. Can I use the VAHAN portal to check bike registration status?

You can visit the VAHAN portal and enter your application number after clicking on ‘Application Status.’ The website will display your application status within seconds.

3. How much time does the RTO take to issue the registration certificate?

The time taken by the RTO to issue vehicle registration certificates depends on the load in the respective RTO. Generally, it does not exceed fifteen (15) days, except under exceptional circumstances. 

4. How long can you ride without the registration certificate?

Riding without the registration certificate is not advisable since it is a punishable offence. However, you can ride your bike with a temporary registration number for up to one (1) month. 

5. What is the meaning of RC status is VAHAN?

You can visit the VAHAN website to check your RC status online conveniently. You must enter the application number in the appropriate box to check the RC status online. 

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