Importing a car

Bringing your vehicle to the Philippines

Importing a car

Do you love your car too much? Do you wish you could bring it with you? All the information about importing your car can be found here.

Importing your car into the Philippines is nearly impossible, unless you are willing to spend a lot of money. It is cheaper to sell your car, save the money and buy a car once you are in the country. Yet, if you are really attached to your car, there are always ways of bringing it with you when you move. Keep in mind that the car should be a left hand drive!

First of all you have to know whether the car is used or new. You can check this by looking at the following points:

  • the motor vehicle is of this year
  • the car has not been registered or used yet
  • not driven more than 50 kilometres
  • you are the first owner (except from a car dealer)

If you do not meet these criteria, your car will be registered as used.

Only certain individuals are allowed to import cars for personal use, you are allowed to bring in a motor vehicle if you are either:

  • a former/returning Filipino citizen who has stayed abroad for over a year.
  • an immigrant, who is a holder of a 13G visa.

With the requirements that:

  • only 1 car per family is allowed
  • you have to prove that you acquired the car legally (proof of payment)
  • the car is registered for at least six months before shipping it to the Philippines
  • personal presence is required

According to the Bureau of Customs , “the importation of used vehicles continues to be regulated and would therefore require prior authority from the Bureau of Import Services (BIS), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)”.

Importation taxes

If you’re importing a car one of the most common, and more important questions, is “Is my car subject to taxes and duties?” The answer is yes. Every car is subject to an average rate of 40% customs duty, around 10-12% VAT and ad valorem tax from 15-100%. Ad valorem tax is dependent on the piston displacement of the car. According to the Bureau of Customs  the tax base depends on the car’s book value and not the purchase or acquisition cost. You can find the book value in the Red Book , Blue Book, or the World Book depending on the origin of the car.

It you wish to inquire about how much tax you’ll have to pay you can send the following information to the Bureau of Customs in Manila:

  • make & model
  • year
  • piston displacement
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or chassis number
  • copy of the registration

The Philippine government wants you to buy a local car (due to economic reasons), which is why the import taxes are so high. Keep in mind that parts sent separately are taxed as well. Besides all these costs, you still have to pay for shipping and sometimes storage.

It is vitally important that you make sure your used car has a prior import authority (PIA). If not, it may be taken by customs and you will have to pay a lot of money to get it back. You can receive a PIA by submitting a document from the Bureau of Import Services with the following documents:

  • Proof that you will stay for over one year
  • Proof that you obtained the car legally (proof of payment)
  • The car is registered for at least six months before shipping it to the Philippines

You can find the Bureau of Import Services (BIS) at: 3rd Flr., Welding Industries of the Philippines Building, 349 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue Makati City, Metro Manila. Tel. No. (632)895-7466

Further reading

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