Steps to Register Imported Cars in the Philippines

No. In the Philippines, registering imported cars with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) does not involve special procedures, but it does require additional documentation compared to locally purchased vehicles. Owners must provide an original sales invoice or commercial invoice from specific documents related to the acquisition of the car as well as a few extra requirements to meet all legal and safety standards before being allowed on Philippine roads.

Understanding these requirements is helpful for anyone importing a car to avoid delays and penalties during the registration process. Unlike locally bought vehicles, imported cars need to comply with international documentation and clearance standards, which can complicate the registration process. Being well-informed helps streamline the process avoid any issues as the motor vehicle is legally registered and roadworthy. 

how to register imported cars philippines

Understanding Imported Cars

Imported cars are vehicles that have been manufactured and assembled outside the Philippines and then brought into the country for use. These cars come with documentation from their country of origin, such as a commercial invoice and export certificates. The characteristics of imported cars often include different specifications and standards compared to locally manufactured vehicles, influenced by the regulations and technologies of the exporting country.

A car is categorized as imported when it is shipped from a foreign country to the Philippines for registration and use. Cars rebuilt with imported parts, however, are not considered ‘imported cars’ in the strictest sense; they are classified based on their assembled origin rather than the source of individual components. These rebuilt cars must still comply with specific local registration requirements and standards, including necessary inspections and certifications to have proper roadworthiness.

Registering Imported Cars in LTO

Registering imported cars in the LTO means officially documenting the vehicle to comply with Philippine laws and regulations. It involves submitting additional documentation such as the original sales or commercial invoice from the country of origin, an insurance certificate, a Certificate of Stock Reported (CSR), and a PNP-HPG Motor Vehicle Clearance Certificate. This helps imported cars meet all legal and safety standards required for use on Philippine roads.

By doing so, car owners can legally operate their imported vehicles, avoiding penalties and ensuring roadworthiness. Registering the car with the LTO also helps in tracking and identifying the vehicle, which is necessary in cases of theft or accidents. This official LTO registration facilitates the integration of imported vehicles into the national transportation system, promoting safety and compliance with local regulations and avoiding fines and other potential legal repercussions.


The requirements for registering regular cars and imported cars with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in the Philippines differ mainly in terms of documentation as imported cars require additional documentation due to their international origin. Depending on whether the imported car was brand new or second hand, the following extra requirements may be required prior to LTO registration:

Brand New Imported Completely Built  Units (CBUs)

  • Original Sales Invoice or Commercial Invoice issued by the Country of Origin

Imported Second Hand (Used) Exempted from EO 156/877-A

  • Original Sales Invoice and/or Commercial Invoice of Motor Vehicle/ Certificate of Title issued by the Country of Origin
  • Motor Vehicle Inspection Report (MVIR)
  • Certificate of Compliance to Emission Standards (CCES)

Imported Second Hand Through the No Dollar Importation

  • Commercial Invoice of Motor Vehicle or Certificate of Title issued by the Country of Origin
  • Certified True Copy of the Authority under the No Dollar Importation issued by the Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Import Services (DTl-BIS)
  • Seizure Proceedings and Notice of Award. (If no authority from BIS)
  • Original Affidavit of first and last importation
  • Motor Vehicle Inspection Report (MVIR)
  • Certificate of Compliance to Emission Standards (CCES)

Imported Acquired Through Donation 

  • Commercial Invoice of Motor Vehicle or Certificate of Title issued by the Country of Origin
  • Original Deed of Donation duly signed by donor and the donee
  • Original Secretary’s Certificate/Board Resolution when donor is a corporation
  • Motor Vehicle Inspection Report (MVIR)
  • Certificate of Compliance to Emission Standards (CCES)

Rebuilt with Local Chassis/Body and with Used Imported Engine

  • Original Sales Invoice of Engine, Chassis & Body
  • Original Affidavit of Rebuilt executed by the Owner and/or Mechanic with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority
  • National Certificate II (TESDA NC II) stating among others the date of completion
  • Original Certificate of Stock Reported (CSR) for Engine and Chassis
  • Motor Vehicle Inspection Report (MVIR)
  • Certificate of Compliance to Emission Standards (CCES)


Aside from the difference in requirements, the process for registering cars in LTO to acquire an OR/CR and comply with national regulatory standards is the same. It can be done online via the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS portal) or offline, by paying a visit to the nearest LTO office that handles such service. 

The procedures for registering cars at the LTO, whether imported or local, are essentially the same, requiring a set of documentary requirements to be submitted at the nearest LTO office for evaluation. For a more detailed guide on the requirements and procedures for registering a car in LTO, then you’d want to check this previously published article about How to Register Car in LTO and Get Certificate of Registration.


The initial registration costs around Php 1,000, excluding additional fees for license plates, stickers, and inspections. For a complete list of fees associated with the registration of imported vehicles in LTO, please see the list below:

  • License Plate: Php 450.00
  • Stickers and Tags: Php 50.00 each
  • Inspection Fees: Php 90.00 to Php 115.00
  • Registration Fee: Approximately Php 1,000.00 (may vary based on vehicle type and other factors)
  • Penalty for Late Registration: Php 200.00 per week, up to 50% of the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) for a month delay

Where to Register

Just like the regular motor vehicle registration for locally sourced cars, imported car registrations are processed by LTO offices that handle vehicle registrations. Not all LTO offices can do so, so it is best to call the nearest LTO branch to confirm first. Some notable branches include LTO Main Office in Quezon City and other major regional offices across the Philippines.

Important Reminders

For your reference, here are some important notes to remember when registering imported vehicles in LTO:

  • Not all LTO branches process new registrations.
  • Dealers usually handle the first registration, but owners may need to do it themselves in some cases.
  • Stick to the registration schedule to avoid fines up to Php 10,000.00.
  • Failure to register your motor vehicle may entail fines amounting to up to Php 10,000.00 and possible impoundment of the vehicle.
  • The fine for late registration starts at Php 200.00 per week up to 50% of the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) for a month.

Video: Shipping Your Personal Vehicle to the Philippines

For a detailed guide on how to ship your personal vehicle to the Philippines, then please take the time to watch Vlogger Grandpa talks about how to do so:


Registering an imported car with the LTO involves gathering the necessary documents and following the same steps as registering locally sourced motor vehicles to make sure that legal compliance and road safety is adhered.

There are no special procedures, though there are some extra documents required to do so. Regardless if the car is new or second-hand, fulfilling these requirements and going through the registration procedures is necessary for imported vehicle ownership in the country to avoid troubles with the authorities. 

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