Import duties on cars and motorcycles are high. A surcharge is payable for each imported used car registered in Singapore. You may bring your own vehicle to Singapore only if it is less than 3 years old. The age of a used vehicle is reckoned from the date of its first registration in a foreign country. A surcharge of S$10,000 is payable for each imported used car registered in Singapore.
The vehicle must pass a mechanical inspection at the LTA before it can be registered. The requirements are:
- all safety glass fitted must have not less than 70% light transmittance and must not contain any metallic oxide coating;
- exhaust emission standards as specified by either the European Directive 91/441/EEC or Article 31 of the Japanese Safety Regulation – a certificate of compliance is required;
- only right-hand drive vehicles in Singapore;
- vehicle must be able to use unleaded petrol;
- vehicle must be fitted with approved front and rear safety belts;
- vehicle must have asbestos-free brake and clutch lining;
- air-conditioning units must be CFC-free.
Requirements differ for vehicles passing through Singapore.
Having meet the above mentioned requirements, the following needed to be done:
- if the car you are importing is manufactured in one of the European Community countries, obtain the EEC Certificate of Conformity issued by the manufacturer for the car from the manufacturer or agent;
- if the car is manufactured in Japan, obtain the Completion Inspection Certificate issued by the manufacturer for the car from the manufacturer or agent;
- alternatively, the car can be tested overseas at any recognised vehicle testing laboratory for a Certificate of Compliance with Exhaust Emission Standards together with a Test Report and a Safety Glass Certificate;
- obtain proof that the car is new or has never been registered for use (e.g. manufacturer's invoice, V308 Registration Document issued by the Department of Transportation, London, etc). For a used car, the vehicle registration document issued by the foreign authority is required;
- technical specifications/catalogue issued by the manufacturer if the car is a new make or model previously not imported into Singapore (e.g. technical catalogue);
- declaration form for asbestos-free brake and clutch lining;
- arrange for shipment of the car to Singapore – your agent will have to submit a joint application to the Trade Development Board (TDB) and the Customs & Excise Department (CED) using the Tradenet System;
- The CED will assess the Open Market Value (OMV) of your car and customs duty will be levied at 41% of the OMV.
The next step is to register your car, although that can be done on your behalf by a car agent.
The regulations and procedures for importing a motorcycle are about the same as those for bringing in a car. The significant differences are:
- the customs duty is levied at 12% of the OMV instead of 41%;
- all motorcycles must comply with the exhaust emission standard specified in the United States Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR 86.410-80). Note that testing of the exhaust emission is not available in Singapore;
- ARF is computed at 15% of the OMV.