Importation of Motor Vehicles to the Philippines

Can anyone bring in a motor vehicle?

Yes, provided that the motor vehicle is brand-new. Under Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Circular 92, Series of 1995, dated October 19, 1995, the importation of a brand new motor vehicle of all types, including motorcycles has been liberalized and would no longer thus require prior authority to import.

When is a motor vehicle brand new?

Under the guidelines presently awaiting approved by the office of the President, a motor vehicle is brand new if and only if the following criteria are satisfied: a) That the motor vehicle is of current or advance year model; b) It has never been registered or used; and c) It is covered by a certificate of first ownership.

How about motor vehicles not of current or advance year model?

They shall be processed as in used motor vehicle.

What about used vehicles?

Only qualified individuals may bring in a used motor vehicle which shall be duly covered by a prior authority to import. Under Appendix 1-D of BSP Circular-Letter, Series 1995, dated October 19, 1995, the importation of used motor vehicles continue to be regulated and would therefore require prior authority from the Bureau of Import Services (BIS), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Who is qualified to import used motor vehicles?

Under Executive Order No. 248 as Implemented by BIS, in relation to BSP Circular-Letter, Series of 1995, dated October 19, 1995, the following individuals may be allowed to bring in used motor vehicles: 1. A returning Filipino or a former Filipino citizen who has stayed abroad for more than a year; 2. An immigrant to the Philippines (shall be at least a holder of a 13G Visa duly issued by the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation). Provided further that: 1. Only one (1) unit motor vehicle per family is allowed to be brought in. (A motorcycle is considered a motor vehicle for this purpose). 2. The vehicle is registered in his name for at least six (6) months prior to shipment to the Philippines; 3. Proof can be presented that the vehicle was acquired out of the earnings abroad.

Is the personal presence of the car owner necessary?

Yes, personal presence by the car owner of the used motor vehicle is required.

Is there any other restriction on the motor vehicle that may be brought in?
Yes, whether brand-new or not, the motor vehicle should be left-hand drive.

Are the imported vehicles subject to taxes and duties?

Yes. Whether brand-new or used, purchased or donated, the imported vehicle is subject to 40% Customs duty, 10% VAT and Ad Valorem Tax from 15% to 100% depending on its piston displacement. Its book value serves as the tax and not the purchase price nor the acquisition cost. The book value is sourced from universally accepted motor vehicle reference books such as the Red Book, Blue Book, World Book depending on the origin of the imported vehicle.

Are spare parts sent with the motor vehicle also taxable?

Yes. These are taxed separately.

How can we inquire the taxes and duties payable?

By writing and providing information about the vehicle as to the make, brand, year model, piston displacement, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or chassis number or sending a copy of the registration to:

Valuation Center and Library
Bureau of Customs
South Harbor, Manila


One Stop Processing Center for Motor Vehicle
Manila International Container Port
North Harbor, Manila

Are there other charges aside from taxes and duties?

Yes. There are other non-customs charges that may be due on the shipment such as: storage and arrastre fees which may be collected by the privately-owned arrastre operator; demurrage by the shipping line and wharf-age dues by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

How important is the Prior Import Authority (PIA)?

It is very important if the vehicle would not qualify as brand-new as herein defined. A used motor vehicle not covered by PIA shall be seized and may only be released upon payment of the heavy penalties on top of the taxes and duties due thereon.

How is PIA obtained?

By submitting to BIS a duly accomplished application form which may be obtained from it and the following documents duly authenticated by the nearest Philippine Consulate abroad where the car owner resides;

1. Proof of his continuous stay abroad for at least one (1) year;

2. Copy of the registration papers showing that the vehicles are registered in his name for at least six (6) months;

3. Proof that the car was acquired out of the earnings abroad.

Where is the BIS located?

Bureau of Import Service
3rd Floor, Welding Industries of the Philippines Bldg.
349 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue
Makati City, Metro Manila
Tel. No. 895-7466

Is depreciation in value accorded to imported vehicle?

Yes, if the imported motor vehicle is an older model or an earlier than the current year model. The depreciation schedule is 10% per year counted downwards from the current year which has a depreciation rate of zero percent (0%). Motor vehicles with a piston displacement of 2000 cc and above may be given a maximum depreciation of 50%, while those below 2000 cc, up to the maximum of 70%.

Is the importation of motor vehicle subject to pre-shipment inspection (PSI/) by SGS in the country of exportation?

Under Joint Order 1-91, individual owned motor vehicle is not subject to pre-shipment inspection by SGS. The importation thereof need not be covered by a Clean Report of Findings (CRF) issued by SGS. Non individually- owned vehicle or those imported for commercial purpose should therefore undergo PSI and their importation should be covered by CRF.

How long does it take to clear motor vehicle importations from customs?
Given a complete documentation, clearance for the release of the imported vehicle in the One Stop Shop Processing Center (OSPC) takes place within forty-eight (48) hours from the filing of Customs entry.

Are importations of boats, yachts and motorized farm implement allowed?
Yes, subject to the payment of taxes and duties.