Vehicle registration plates of Indonesia
All motorized vehicles including motorcycles in Indonesia are required to have registration plates. The plates must be displayed in front and at the back of the vehicles.
Registration plate design
Except for some special cases (see below), every vehicle license plate in Indonesia follows the following format: LL NNNN LL where "L" are letters of the Latin alphabet, and "N" numbers from "0" to "9" (note that the first number is never a "0"). The first single or double letters denote the area of registration. This is followed by numbers, which can range from one to four digits. This is then followed by one or two letters although they may be optional. For example: DK 1126 GI is a vehicle registered in Bali region, because it begins with DK. A smaller numbers being added to the bottom or the top of the plate (mainly at the bottom), indicates the month and year where the plate will expire, so the owner must repay the tax to get the new one every five years (for example, "11-23" means "November 2023").
A new format was recently introduced which have three ending letters, due to the increase of motorized vehicle numbers. At first, this format is used for motorcycles since July 2008 until present, for cars in Jakarta, Tangerang, Bekasi and Depok. In the last three letters of this new format, the first letter divides the Jakarta area into sub areas. For example, The first letter of the whole number plate for Jakarta vehicles is "B". For example, "B 1106 SG" indicates it is from Jakarta. But under the new system, the B indicator is not enough. The new system is E.g. "B 2267 PIK". There are now three ending letters. The last two letters are random, but the first letter out of the three dictates the sub areas in Jakarta like: Z is Depok, T is East Jakarta (Jakarta Timur), B is West Jakarta (Jakarta Barat), S is Jakarta Selatan (Southern Jakarta), P is Jakarta Pusat (Central Jakarta), etc. Note that for vehicle plates in Tangerang, Depok, and Bekasi still begins with B from the first letter of the whole plate number which is still representing Jakarta although it is from a different province that Tangerang is in the province of Banten, and Depok and Bekasi is in the province of West Java. It is representing Jakarta, because the three cities are represented as sub areas of Jakarta, because the distance from Jakarta and those three cities are very near.
Registration area codes
The lettering convention to denote area of registration is a legacy of the Dutch colonial era and do not reflect the current regional divisions of the country into provinces. Instead, they follow the old system of Dutch Karesidenan or residencies.
In general, plates that start with K are from Kalimantan Island, D for the group of islands east of Java, such as Bali, Lombok. B is generally used in Sumatra but only alongside another letter - B as a single letter is only for vehicles registered in the Jakarta Metropolitan Area.
Indonesian registration plate area codes
There are several classes of the registration plates, each can be distinguished by their color:
- White on black: The most common type of license plate, for private vehicles.
- Red on white: Vehicles that have not been registered yet, or for new cars that have no owners yet or no legal identification.
- Black on yellow: Public transportation, such as buses, taxis, angkot, auto rickshaws and trucks.
- White on red: Government vehicles.
- Black on Red: Vehicles belonging to foreign countries. Commonly used by foreign embassies or vehicles belonging to International organizations. These adopt a different convention (see below).
- Black on White: Vehicles belonging to foreign countries. Commonly used by foreign embassies or vehicles belonging to International organizations. These adopt a different convention (see below).
- White on Blue: Belongs to rickshaws in Surabaya. Mainly coded "SB"
- Black on green: Free Zone vehicles.
- Blue on white: Vehicles belonging to foreign countries, but this one is mainly used before it has been registered.
- Military and police vehicles have their own colors and alphanumeric conventions, including their insignia and/or the rank of the officer owning the vehicle, especially for high-ranking officers. Army-personnel vehicles are yellow on green background, plus a yellow star on the top. Navy-personnel plate is yellow on light blue, plus a yellow anchor. Air Force-personnel plate is yellow on dark blue, plus a red and white air force roundel. Police plate is yellow on black. Personnel in Armed Forces Headquarters uses yellow numbers on red background plates. Slightly similar, Ministry of Defense vehicles also uses yellow on red plates, only replacing Armed Forces' insignia with the Ministry's insignia. This is also being practiced on every military vehicles, such as motorcycles, jeeps, trucks, tanks, etc.
- Fire departments, government ambulances, and other governmental vehicles are administered under their local governments, so they are using White on Red.
- There are also other special plates or conventions, such as for vehicles used by the President, Vice President or other senior government officials.
For emergency vehicles such as ambulances refer to the vehicle itself, if owned by private medical services or hospital, the plate is white on black, while the plate for ambulance provided by the government is white on red. For fire trucks, the plate is always white on red, because all fire departments are government-owned. Police vehicles have special plates (see above).
Trucks and buses
For trucks, the plate colors may refer, some are officially Black on Yellow, but some which are issued by private condition are having a White on Black plate. For Buses also may refer, if it is a bus used for public transportation such as city buses, etc. uses Black on Yellow plates, but for buses used for private usage, some uses White on Black plates. But mainly, buses uses Black on Yellow plates.
Special plate designs
Government vehicles have special license plates. If anytime the government officials go to outside the capital or going out from Indonesia, the plates will be placed on the vehicles which is ridden by the government officials.
Senior government officials
Vehicle license plates belonging to senior government officials like the President or Vice President always begin with RI (which stands for "Republik Indonesia") and are followed by a number. For example, the president's vehicle license plate is "RI-1", and the vice president's is "RI-2". Other senior officials such as government ministers, Chairman of The House of Representatives, Commander of The National Armed Forces and Chief of National Police also share the same convention and get the numbers after the President and Vice President. These plates are used for everyday activities, so they are white on black design.
In a special case, there are some very special numbers which are "INDONESIA 1" and "INDONESIA 2" for the President and Vice President, respectively. These numbers are used for a ceremonial purposes, such as presidential/vice presidential inaugurations, national day ceremonies and armed forces day. On the inauguration day, at the time the new president/vice president take the oath, the plates are moved from the former presidential/vice presidential cars to the new car. These numbers also being used for all ceremonial presidential/vice presidential cars, no matters what the type of the vehicles used, and being white on red design.
Foreign countries or international organizations
License plates for vehicles belonging to foreign countries or international organizations adopt a different convention. They contain black letters on a white background.
The plates have the letter CD followed by two or three digits denoting the country or organization, followed by up to three digits of the serial number. For example, a car with number CD 66 88 is owned by Vietnam. Generally, the number 01 is reserved for the ambassador's official vehicle.
The numbers are ordered based on when they recognized Indonesia as a country. The United States was originally assigned CD 13; due to the stigma associated with the number 13, they asked the Indian delegation to exchange numbers.
The list of countries and organizations follows:
Consulates also use the same format, but instead of using the letters CD, they use CC.
Some foreign countries and international organization vehicles in Jakarta use the " B xxxxx yyy " format and a normal white on black plate. Where "xxxxx" stands for five random digits, and "yyy" stands for the country / organization code (see above)
A few vehicle owners pay an extra amount of money to get a certain plate as their desire. Because the convention is not flexible to include a full word, people try creative uses of numbers and letters. For example, Idris Sardi, a violin player, uses (B 10 LA) for his vehicle. It is a play on the word BIOLA which means "violin" in Indonesian. Leoni, a famous actress and singer, uses L 30 NI for her car. Even the former President Megawati Sukarnoputri chooses "M 3 GA" for her personal vehicle, as the plate resembles her broadly-known nickname. Edhie Bhaskoro Yudhoyono, former President Yudhoyono's younger son, has "B 24 EB", which "EB" is being his name initial. With the new format of three suffix alphabets, many vanity or personal license plates are possible to be created. For example, a Toyota Fortuner owner may choose the plate B 42 NER which sounds B four-two-NER.. Syahrini, Indonesian singer, has "B 1 SYR", which "SYR" is being her name initial.
- Republic of Indonesia. Undang-Undang Republik Indonesia Nomor 22 Tahun 2009 Tentang Lalu Lintas dan Angkutan Jalan.
- Undang-Undang Republik Indonesia Nomor 22 Tahun 2009 Tentang Lalu Lintas Dan Angkutan Jalan - law regulating registration plates, among other things (in Indonesian)