Importing a Vehicle

Find out how to import a car to the Philippines and get it registered on the roads and the documents required when bringing a car for personal use in the Philippines...

Only left-hand drive cars can be imported into the Philippines, whether new or secondhand.

Importing a New Vehicle

Anyone can import a motor vehicle as long as it is brand-new. It is considered brand new if it meets the following criteria:

  • The motor vehicle model is of the current year
  • The car has not been used or registered yet
  • The car has not been driven more than 50 kilometers
  • The importer is the first owner (except if the car has been purchased from a car dealer)

Importing a Secondhand Car

To import a second-hand motor vehicle, the importer must be a former or returning Filipino citizen who has stayed abroad for more than a year, or the person must have a 13G visa.

There are other requirements that apply:

  • Only one car per family is allowed
  • Proof of purchase must be provided
  • The car must have been registered for at least six months before being shipped to the Philippines
  • The person must be present in the Philippines when the car is imported
  • Find a detailed procedure on importing vehicles, including the fees and taxes

For additional information contact:

  • Bureau of Import Services (BIS)
    At: 3/F Tara Building, 389 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City
    Tel: 02 896 4430
    Fax: 02 896 4431

Registering an Imported Vehicle

Once the motor vehicle has been successfully imported, it can be registered. Although there are no specific regulations on how long it can be used before it is registered, it is advisable to register the motor vehicle as soon as possible after importation. The Land Transportation Office (LTO) is responsible for motor vehicle registration in the Philippines. The following district offices can accommodate the registration:

  • Diliman District Office
    At: LTO Main Compound, East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
    Tel: 02 921 9017
  • Quezon City District Office
    At: Butel Building, P. Tuazon Boulevard, Cubao, Quezon City
    Tel: 02 480 4962
  • Pasay District Office
    At: Domestic Road, Pasay City
    Tel: 02 851 1954
  • Caloocan District Office
    : Butel Building, Araneta Avenue, Kalookan City
    Tel: 02 364 1183 / 02 361 2546

Find a comprehensive list of the documents required to register a vehicle.

Fees and Other Charges

There is a registration fee and other transaction charges when registering the vehicle.

Up-to-date rates will be available at the LTO district offices.

Vehicle Registration Renewal

Vehicle registration of new motor vehicles is valid for three years, for second-hand motor vehicles it is one year. After this period the vehicle registration must be renewed annually. The last digit of the plate number determines the month of renewal of registration, for example if the last digit is 1, the registration should be renewed in January, 2 February and so on.

The second digit of the car’s number plate determines the dates of the month within which the registration should be renewed, for example:

If the second digit is 1, 2 or 3, it must be renewed from the 1st to the 7th of the month; second digits 4, 5, 6 must be renewed between the 8th and the 14th; second digits 7 and 8 from the 15 to the 21st, and 9 and 0 from the 22nd to the end of the month.

A photocopy of the Certificate of Registration and the Official Receipt of payment must be presented for registration as well as proof of insurance, taxpayer’s identification number and an approved emissions test and roadworthiness test certificate. Renewals are carried out at the local LTO office.