STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE ON HOW TO IMPORT A CAR INTO SINGAPORE
Ensure that your car is able to comply with the general requirements and standards as specified by LTA/NEA before you even begin the import process. For brand new state-of the-art vehicles, the key technical requirements of concern are:
- Car needs to be compliant to exhaust emission standards (Euro VI or JPN2009)
- Only right-hand drive cars are allowed to be registered for use in Singapore
- All safety glass fitted onto the car must meet one of the recognised international standards
- Car must be able to permanently indicate/display vehicular speed in units of km/h
Take note that only vehicles lesser than 3 years of age can be imported and registered in Singapore. Of exception are classic cars, which have to be at least 35 years of age at the time of import.
Obtain the following from the vehicle manufacturer or authorised agent:
a) Documents to prove that the car is new or has never been registered for use (manufacturer invoice or original registration certificate). If the car has been registered as a new vehicle in a foreign country which adopts a higher or equivalent safety and exhaust emission standards as Singapore, deregistered within 14 days of its registration in the foreign country for export to Singapore, and arrived in Singapore within 3 months from its deregistration in a foreign country, the original registration, deregistration and export documents from the foreign country have to be submitted. For a used car, the vehicle registration documents issued by the foreign authority are required;
b) Documents to prove that the car complied with the exhaust emission standards and vehicle safety standards as specified by LTA/NEA;
c) Documents issued by the vehicle manufacturer or vehicle test certificate from TUV Rheinland or an accredited testing laboratory (e.g. VICOM Emission Test Lab Singapore) to show CO2 and fuel economy data tested in accordance with the UN ECE Regulation 101; and
d) Technical specifications of the car issued by the vehicle manufacturer if it is a new make or model previously not imported into Singapore (e.g. technical catalogue, etc.).
Arrange for shipment of the car to Singapore with an export agent in the foreign country. The export agent takes care of the sea shipment of the car as well as the express postage of the original documents (owner's manual, registration certificate, etc.) and spare key to you. In some cases, the export agent may be able to claim the car purchase tax (VAT in the UK) on your behalf.
Submit the Declaration of Facts for Motor Vehicles form to Singapore Customs. The following documents are required to be submitted to the Singapore Customs for Open Market Value (OMV) assessment purposes:
a) Original Manufacturer/Purchase Invoice;
b) Bill of Lading;
c) Bills/receipts relating to other incidental charges;
d) Original foreign vehicle registration documents; and
f) Letter from vehicle manufacturer confirming the date of manufacture of the car.
The Singapore Customs determines the Customs Value (or commonly known as OMV) of the car by taking into account the purchase price, freight, insurance, handling and all other charges incidental to the sale and delivery of the car in Singapore. Excise duty will be levied at 20% of the OMV. GST is computed at 7% of the total Cost, Insurance & Freight (CIF) and Excise Duty.
Arrange with your local shipping agent to obtain an Inward Cargo Clearance Permit. Your agent will have to submit an application to the Singapore Customs using the TradeNet® System. Permit and processing fee, Excise Duty and Goods & Services Tax (GST) will be payable to the Singapore Customs through inter-bank GIRO.
Prepare all documents for verification and registration of the car in Singapore.
The importer would be required to submit an application for vehicle approval by LTA through the Vehicle Inspection and Type Approval System (VITAS). Fees will be charged for VITAS applications and inspection. To ensure sufficient time for registration of imported used car, importer must submit the VITAS application at least 3 months before it reaches 3 years of age.
Documents to be submitted for verification include:
a) Documents to prove compliance with the exhaust emission standards such as:
• EC COC on exhaust emission standards; or
• Letter of certification from the vehicle manufacturer that the car complies with the required exhaust emission standards; or
• Certificate of Compliance on exhaust emission standards with test report from LTA/NEA-recognised vehicle testing laboratory;
b) Documents issued by the vehicle manufacturer or vehicle test certificate from TUV Rheinland or an accredited testing laboratory to show CO2 and fuel economy data as tested in accordance with the UN ECE Regulation 101;
c) Documents issued by the vehicle manufacturer to show the MPO as measured in accordance with the UN ECE Regulation 85;
d) Documents to prove that the car is new or has never been registered for use. For a used car, the foreign vehicle registration documents are required. For a car that has been registered as a new vehicle in a foreign country which adopts the same or higher safety and exhaust emission standards as Singapore, deregistered within 14 days of its registration in the foreign country for export to Singapore, and arrived in Singapore within 3 months from its deregistration in a foreign country, the original registration, deregistration and export documents from the foreign country must be submitted for verification;
e) Detailed technical specifications of the car issued by the vehicle manufacturer if it is a new make or model previously not imported into Singapore;
f) Original Manufacturer/Purchase Invoice;
g) Bill of Lading; and
h) Valid Inward Cargo Clearance Permit.
Once in-principle approval has been given, the importer will be notified to present the car for an inspection at any LTA-authorised inspection centre where an inspection fee will be charged. When the car has passed its inspection, an approval letter with a VITAS Approval Code (VAC) will be issued to the importer. With this VAC, the importer may proceed to register the car.
Secure a Certificate Of Entitlement (COE) and obtain motor insurance coverage for your car. If you wish, you can bid for a car registration number. Under the Vehicle Quota System, any person who wishes to register a vehicle in Singapore must first obtain a COE in the appropriate vehicle category.
Once all information and documents are in order, the importer can then proceed to register the vehicle. The fees payable to LTA to register the vehicle are as follows:
a) Registration Fee RF $220
b) Additional Registration Fee ARF
c) Road Tax
d) Special Tax (for diesel driven vehicles)
e) Used import surcharge $10,000 (if applicable)
f) VES surcharge (if applicable)
g) COE (less $10,000 COE bid deposit)
You can try this calculator to get a rough idea of the total cost involved to import your desired vehicle into Singapore.