Importing a Foreign Vehicle to Singapore

Information on how to bring a car or motorbike to Singapore: the regulations and restrictions and the paperwork required...

In general, used cars that are more than three years old may not be imported and registered for use in Singapore. The age of a used vehicle is calculated from the date of its first registration in a foreign country. Singapore makes an exception for classic cars, which are defined as cars thirty-five years from their initial date of registration.

Import duties on cars and motorcycles are high, and the tax, registration and import procedures surrounding personal vehicle imports are complex. A surcharge is payable for each imported car registered in Singapore.

Two major authorities are involved in the import process: the Land Transport Authority (LTA), which governs technical and registration requirements, and Singapore Customs, which is responsible for point of entry and duty.

Import Vehicle Requirements

The vehicle must pass a mechanical inspection at the LTA before it can be registered. There are over fifty-two requirements detailing technical conformity standards for vehicles. Some examples are:

  • All safety glass fitted must have not less than 70 percent light transmittance and must not contain any metallic oxide coating
  • Exhaust emission standards must be as specified by either European Directives 96/69/EEC, or 98/69/EC-B if the car has a diesel engine. Equivalent international standards are accepted, and a certificate of compliance is required
  • Only right-hand drive vehicles are allowed in Singapore (left-hand drive vehicles may travel through Singapore, provided certain obligations are met)
  • The vehicle must be able to use unleaded petrol, unless it has a diesel engine
  • The vehicle must be fitted with approved front and rear safety belts
  • The vehicle must have asbestos-free brake and clutch linings
  • Air-conditioning units must be CFC-free
  • Use of hydrocarbon refrigerants in air-conditioning systems is not permitted

Note: Requirements differ for vehicles passing through Singapore.

Importing the vehicle

If the vehicle meets the requirements above then proceed through the following stages:

  1. Obtain conformity certificates to verify that the vehicle meets Singaporean requirements. If the imported car is manufactured in one of the European Union countries, obtain the European Union Certificate of Conformity issued by the manufacturer. If the car was manufactured in Japan, obtain the Completion Inspection Certificate issued by the manufacturer. Singapore recognises international technical compliance standards for vehicles, and importation will generally be easier if the vehicle meets the conformity standards of the EU, the USA or Japan
  2. Alternatively, the car can be tested overseas at a recognised vehicle testing laboratory. No fewer than 52 technical aspects of the vehicle must be standardised, as detailed above. Those parts that fall outside the remit of conformity schemes in other nations must be certified on an individual basis, as will those covered by conformity schemes that do not meet or exceed Singapore's requirements. This may occur, for instance, in the case of exhaust emissions
  3. If the car is new, obtain proof that the car is new or has never been registered for use (the manufacturer's invoice, for example, or a V308 Registration Document issued by the Department for Transport in London)
  4. For a used car, the vehicle registration document issued by the foreign authority is required
  5. If the car is a new make or model not previously imported into Singapore, a technical specifications document or catalogue issued by the manufacturer will be required
  6. Arrange for shipment of the car to Singapore. The shipping agent will have to submit a joint application for an Inward Cargo Clearance Permit to Singapore Customs (CED) using the Tradenet System
  7. The CED will assess the Open Market Value (OMV) of your vehicle. Customs duty is levied at 20 percent of the OMV of a car and 12 percent of the value of a motorcycle or scooter
  8. A seven percent charge will also be levied on the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value of the import, as calculated via Singapore Customs form SC-A-012
  9. Submit SC-A-012 with copies of commercial invoices, freight and insurance papers, receipts relating to other charges, technical specifications certifications and cards, registration and de-registration certificates, manufacturer's letters and clear photographs of the vehicle including the odometer

Registering the vehicle

The next step is to register the car with the LTA. For full details, see Registering a Vehicle

Importing a Motorcycle

The regulations and procedures for importing a motorcycle are similar to those for bringing in a car. The significant differences are:

  • The customs duty is levied at 12 percent of the OMV, instead of 20 percent
  • All motorcycles must comply with the exhaust emission standard specified in European Commission Directive 97/24/EC.  Emissions must be tested on a vehicle by vehicle basis, rather than by estimated emissions for the model
  • The Additional Registration Fee (calculated at vehicle registration) is computed at 15 percent of the OMV
  • For full details of technical requirements and the procedure for importing a motorcycle: Click here (PDF)

Further Information

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