Buying a New or Used Car

A practical guide to what you have to do if, as a foreigner, you want to buy or sell a new or used car in the Philippines...

Buying a new car

In the Philippines, buying new cars is usually done through car dealers. There are several car dealers, mostly located in the major cities in the country. Car dealers may also be sourced online.

The documents required when buying a car include:

  • Proof of identity (driving license and passport for example)
  • Latest Income Tax Return
  • Certificate of Employment (COE) issued within the last two months
  • A valid bank account

In addition to these documents, a self-employed person will also need the Mayor’s Permit (a document issued when establishing a business), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Registration and Bank statements for the last four months.

Foreigners must provide an Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR I-Card).

Buying a Used Car

In the Philippines, used cars can be found online, and at local car dealers.

Before buying a used car, make sure to inspect the car, the condition and parts, request for a test drive, and ask to see the maintenance history of the vehicle. It is advisable to check the following when buying a used car: motor and body number, engine leaks, mileage, engine condition, clutch and transmission, wheels and suspension, breaks, air conditioning, and electricals and accessories (lights, wipers, windows, door locks, for example.).

The seller should provide the following documents:

  • Original vehicle registration certificate
  • Official Receipt for registration fees
  • Proof of identity

These documents can then be checked by sending a text to the LTO (text number 2600) as follows:

LTO (space) VEHICLE (space) (plate number of the vehicle). For example LTO VEHICLE ABC123, then send to 2600. An auto generated reply is sent which can be saved on your phone.

The buyer and seller draw up a deed of sale, signed by both parties. The buyer should also request an acknowledgement receipt with the seller’s signature when payment has been made.

The transfer of ownership is carried out at the local LTO office. The following documents are required:

  • Original registration certificate and a photocopy
  • Proof of payment of latest Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) and other fees
  • Proof of insurance
  • Deed of sale or transfer
  • Motor Vehicle Inspection Report (MVIR)
  • Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN)

Other documents may be required; the full procedure is outlined on the LTO website (scroll down to Miscellaneous Transactions).