International Freight Forwarder and Customs Broker Based in China



Eligibility to import a car into China


Importing a car in China is possible only if you meet different criteria when it comes to your Chinese residence status:

  • Only holders of “Z” visas – permanent residence cards, can import a vehicle.
  • Only legal residents are allowed to import a car.
  • Among them, only those who have “foreign expert status” which is provided by the PSB (Public Security Bureau) and the visa departments can import a car.

Remark SINO : Returning Chinese citizens are allowed to import their vehicle only if they are returning diplomats or can get an import permit.


Types of vehicles that can be imported into China


In order to ship in a car, you have to check beforehand that you car meets certain criteria:

  • You have to prove that it is less than a year old and in good condition, because Chinese customs do not allow old cars to be imported.
  • In the case of rare models that are probably not authorized for sale on the Chinese market, you may have to pay additional and rather expensive testing fees.
  • Only persons who work for a joint venture or a wholly owned foreign company can import motor vehicles. In other cases, diesel motorcars and motorcycles are prohibited in China.
  • Your car has to be conformed to the environmental and safety standards set by the Chinese Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
  • Only left-hand drive vehicles with no conversion can be imported.

Info SINO : Sometimes, right hand drive vehicles are imported, it is impossible to register and use them on the roads.


Different steps when importing a car into China


  • First of all, check that your car can be imported into China.
  • Then, inform Customs of your intention to import a vehicle prior to leaving your country. To do that, you can contact the Chinese Customs authority or the Chinese Embassy in your respective country to facilitate the understanding of the procedure.
  • After, you will have to obtain an import permit for vehicles. For that, you will have to submit proof of vehicle ownership, a copy of the original purchase invoice and a copy of insurance papers.
  • Once your car enters China, you will have to pay import duties, sales taxes and VAT. The amount of these payments depends on the type and size of your car.

SINO Warning : Note that personal vehicles are considered a luxury in China, so the import duties can be as high as 200% of the value of the car.

Info SINO : Holders of Red Diplomatic passports and Red People’s Republic of China residence cards can import their vehicles duty free. Diplomats are also allowed to import motorcycles.

import car china

Required legal documents for Customs


You have to make sure that you have the proper paperwork for customs. This includes:

  • Original Purchase Invoice for valuation
  • Logbook with chassis and engine number
  • Details of the vehicle including brand name and style such as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • The age and value of your vehicle should be supported by the proper and valid documentation
  • Passport and Chinese residency card
  • Cargo declaration known as the bill of lading
  • Customs office application
  • Business license and customs certificate
  • Vehicle checked by the Environmental Bureau
  • Import permi

Info SINO : Foreigners are allowed to import one new car per person and only if the Customs Office has approved the import permit.


Problems that you may avoid when importing a car into China


It is important to respect all the steps to import a car to China. You may want to check the following to ensure you do not make any common mistakes that can prevent your car from being approved by customs :

  • The car must be clean inside and out can because if it is not, customs can deny the car shipment. Therefore, before shipping, be sure everything is clean, even underneath the car and remove all personal belongings and items from the interior.
  • Make sure to arrive to customs with the required documents or your car will not be cleared. Take the time to ensure you have everything filled out and ready for customs clearance.
  • All shipping companies are required to carry valid insurance for every car they move. It is your responsibility to verify that the coverage is valid before.

Shipping a car into China


You have two options when it comes to importing a car into China:

  • The Roll off/ Roll on Service (RO/ RO): The most affordable method for transporting cars overseas. There is a ramp in the Ro/Ro vessel has a ramp, therefore the cars to be driven into the vessel.
  • The Container Service: this option provides the safest way of transportation to China.

SINO Advice : Make sure that the port of departure you have chosen can effectively ship cars.

Shipping a car out of China


This is even more complicated because regulations when it comes to buying and then exporting a car in China are absolutely not convenient and took a long time. It is then not advice to export a car out of China

SINO Info :  You want further information about the regulation of vehicle in China ? Contact our SINO Expert or check directly on the official website :

General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China

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About SINO

SINO Shipping is a trusted international freight forwarder with over 35 years of experience, offering a full range of logistics and transport services. With a strong presence in China and a commitment to efficiency, reliability, and customer satisfaction, SINO Shipping ensures stress-free and cost-effective logistics solutions for businesses worldwide.