There are many laws regarding foreigners and expats in Vietnam, and importing a vehicle into Vietnam is perhaps one of the most complex of laws. Those who consider bringing their vehicles into Vietnam must keep in mind that import taxes and duties are high and procedures can become complicated. However, taking notes of some guidelines can ensure that the process remains relatively straightforward as long as you follow all regulations and prepare the correct documentation.
- Must have a foreign passport or other alternative documents at least 6 months old from the issued date.
- Must have a visa in compliance with the temporary residence law in Vietnam (except a visa exemption). See the most updated Vietnam Visa Information here.
- Must have an appropriate driver’s license that is compatible with the vehicle type intended for operation.
Related: How to Get a Vietnam Driving License
- The type of car must have less than 9 seats or be a motorbike.
- Cars used for personal transport must be equipped with a steering wheel on the left side.
- Ownership of a vehicle must be under the name of a foreign individual or organization.
- The vehicle must have an overseas registration plate number.
- The vehicle must be certified for safety standards in the owner's home country.
After meeting the prerequisites, the next step is to figure out if your vehicle meets the eligibility requirements to be imported into Vietnam.
1. The vehicle's present owner must be the original owner; if the vehicle has changed ownership since the original title was issued, the vehicle cannot be imported into Vietnam.
2. The vehicle must not be more than five years old and have been legally registered in the owner’s home country for more than six months and have a minimum mileage of 10,000 km.
It is important to note that cars should not be disassembled when transporting into Vietnam. Significant modifications in the car’s appearance and specifications, such as an engine swap or the VIN (vehicle identification number), will further complicate the process.
Motorbikes will follow the same procedure as cars in terms of import requirements. However, the engine size of the motorbike must be 175 cc or greater. An important thing to consider is that the import duties for a motorbike can easily be more than 100 percent of the motorbike value.
The following step on how to bring your own vehicles to Vietnam will be guiding you through the procedures of obtaining the necessary documents. It is recommended to have these documents prepared well in advance to reduce any hassle that may occur during the process.
A map showing where the seaports that allow vehicles to enter Vietnam are located
Vehicles may enter Vietnam through any of these four ports:
Your vehicle will need to be registered with Vietnam Custom. The required application forms (shown below) can be obtained by visiting their website or contacting them by phone.
Main Custom Office
Vietnam Customs Head Office building
Vietnam Customs Head Office
At: Block E3, Duong Dinh Nghe Street, Yen Hoa, Cau Giay District, Hanoi
Tel: (04) 39440833 (ext: 8624)
The following documents need to be presented to Vietnam Custom authorities to import your vehicle into the country successfully:
In addition, you will need to present to the custom officer the following documents:
Note: It is important to know that the household registration book may no longer be needed as the Vietnamese government has restructured residency management.
After presenting the custom officer with all the required documents, a physical inspection of the vehicle will proceed. At this stage, Import duties must be paid to Vietnam Custom before the vehicle can be released.
Vietnam Custom receiving an imported car
To continue with how to bring your own vehicles to Vietnam, you will now need to get it registered. After your vehicle has been accepted from customs, it will be subjected to a safety and environmental control standards test that it must pass to receive a certificate of technical safety and environmental protection. Next, you will have up to three working days to apply for vehicle registration in Vietnam. Both of these certificates will need to be submitted to Vietnam Customs to complete your vehicle's processing.
Other Custom Offices
Quang Ninh Province Customs Department building
Quang Ninh Province Customs Department (in Vietnamese)
At: No 5, Ben Doan Street, Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Province
Tel: (033) 33826148
Fax: (033) 33825590
Da Nang City Customs Department building
Da Nang City Customs Department (in Vietnamese)
At: 65 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, Hoa Cuong Nam, Hai Chau, Da Nang
Tel: (0511) 3827639
Fax: (0511) 3823328
Hai Phong City Customs Department building
Hai Phong City Customs Department (in Vietnamese)
At: No 22, Dien Bien Phu Road, May To Ward, Hai Phong City
Tel: (031) 3836262
Fax: (031) 3859993
Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department building
Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department (in Vietnamese)
At: Ham Nghi Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 38291422
Fax: (08) 38290096
After all the previous steps have been accomplished, you will need to register the vehicle with the local police traffic office. The following documents need to presented to the traffic office:
A foreign car with the NG license plate
The final step in how to bring your own vehicles to Vietnam is obtaining a permanent license plate. A Vietnamese license plate will only be issued after registering with a police traffic office. Foreign license plates may not be used in Vietnam. A temporary license plate will be issued once the application for a license plate has been submitted and expire within 20 days. If needed, the temporary license plate may be extended once for an additional 20 more days.
A foreign car with the NN license plate
The numbers of foreign vehicle license plates will always be preceded by NN or NG, which indicates the vehicle as foreign or diplomatic. Other letters and digits will represent the city and province of where the vehicle was registered.
As mentioned briefly at the beginning of the article, there will be a relatively high tax rate for importing vehicles into Vietnam. Rates will generally be varied depending on the vehicle's value and information, its country of origin, and your shipment details.
Vietnam vehicle import taxes and duties:
Value Added Tax (VAT) - 10% of the CIF value (cost, insurance, freight) + applicable duties.
Special Sales Tax (SST) - 10-70% for vehicles under 24 seats
Though it is perfectly acceptable to rent a car, learn how to ride a motorbike, or use ride-hailing services as an alternative for traveling around Vietnam, having your own vehicle may work best when you're settling down in Vietnam. Bringing your cars or motorbikes to Vietnam has to go through more legal complications, but it can be the most viable option for settling down in Vietnam. Hopefully, this brief guide will aid you in navigating the challenges of this task.
© Written by Long Tran for itourvn.com