Import rules and regulations for Japanese used vehicles in Hong Kong

Japanese automobile industry started its journey with the launch of new small cars. Each and every Japanese automaker contributed in the growth of the country’s auto industry. Along with new vehicles, used vehicles from Japan are also popular among masses. With time, the trend of buying Japanese used vehicles has increased. The reason for this is their superior quality and performance. Buying a new vehicle is quite an expensive process; so many people go with a used one. Almost all countries across the world import second-hand Japanese vehicles. It is a wise decision to purchase a used vehicle as one gets a quality vehicle at reasonable price. Like other countries, large numbers of used vehicles from Japan is imported in Hong Kong.


While importing a used vehicle in the country, importer has to follow the necessary import regulations to clear customs smoothly. Importation of only right hand drive vehicles is allowed in Hong Kong. The registration and licensing of left hand vehicle is not allowed unless there are special conditions. The used car imported in Hong Kong must be less than 7 years old, gasoline powered, and should meets Euro V emission and noise standard, with E-mark for all glass and safety belts, and unleashed-fuel restrictor installed. Importation of cars over 20 years is allowed in Hong Kong as classic cars and they need not meet Euro V emission standard.

Documents required for customs clearance in Hong Kong are-

  • Import license
  • Bill of Lading (BoL)
  • Copy of de-registration certificate
  • Commercial/ Purchase Invoice

All motor vehicles registering in Hong Kong for the first time should meet the requirements of the Air Pollution Control Regulations and Noise Control Regulation.

Application for Emission Approval-

The used vehicle importers should complete the “Application for Vehicle Exhaust and Noise Emissions Compliance” form and the “Noise Emission Certificate General Approval (NECGA).

The original documents to be attached with the form-

  • Certificate of Conformity (COC) issued to the vehicle by its vehicle manufacturer (for vehicles manufactured within one year from the date of application).
  • Exhaust emission test report issued within 6 months by one of the recognized vehicle emission testing laboratories and noise compliance report.
  • Any other documents that can prove emission compliance to the satisfaction of the Environmental Protection Department.

Note: – The applicant should submit all these to the Environmental Protection Department for approval.

No exemption is granted on diesel and commercial vehicles from emission requirements. However, on used petrol cars exception is provided when imported in Hong Kong for personal use provided the importer has owned the vehicle for more than 6 months in a region outside Hong Kong where he has normally resided prior to the application. Exception is not provided to vehicle registered in the name of a company, even though the company is wholly owned by the applicant.

Applicant must submit the following supporting documents-

  • Copy of vehicle registration documents showing that the importer has owned the vehicle outside Hong Kong for more than six months.
  • Copy of driving license of the importer issued by the region from which the vehicle is imported with the date of issuance highlighted.
  • Residence proof of the vehicle for more than six months from the place the vehicle is imported, such as telephone bills, electricity bills, etc.
  • Documents showing reasons of bringing the vehicle into Hong Kong (Such as taking up permanent residence in Hong Kong, employment/study visa valid for at least 6 months from the date of application, etc.).
  • Any other documents which can support the application.

There are chances that the application for the exemption is rejected so, importers are advised to obtain approval/exemption from the Environmental Protection Department before shipping their vehicles into Hong Kong, as it is necessary for the vehicle to show emissions compliance before it can be registered in Hong Kong. Any loss as a result of the application being declined will be completely at applicant’s own risk.

All vehicles, either a company car or not, imported into Hong Kong are not subjected to any Customs tax. In general, a used vehicle importer is required to lodge an accurate and complete declaration within 14 days of importation with the Customs and Excise Department. The vehicle imported should match the standards for registering in Hong Kong and wherever required that documentary proof is applicable.

Once the vehicle arrives in Hong Kong, it should be scheduled for the vehicle examination at the Vehicle Examination Centre. The importer has to bring the approval letter issued by the Environmental Protection Department. This ensures that the car has complied with the vehicle exhaust emission and noise emission standards.

Vehicle Registration and Licensing-

When applying for registration for the first time, the importer should submit a complete application form to the Hong Kong Licensing Office of Transport Department.

The first registration tax rate is given below-

Type of Motor Vehicle Rate of Tax
1. Private Cars  
(a.) On the first $150,000 40%
(b.) On the next $150,000 75%
(c.) On the next $200,000 100%
(d.) On the remainder 115%
2. Motor cycles and motor tricycles 35%
3. (a.) Good vehicles, other than Light Good Vehicles 15%
(b.) Van type LGV, not exceeding 1.9 tons permitted gross vehicle weight. 15%
(i) Van type LGV, not exceeding 1.9 tons permitted gross vehicle weight. 35%
(ii) On the next $150,000 65%
(iii) On the remainder 85%
(c.) Van type LGV exceeding 1.9 tons permitted gross vehicle weight. 17%
4. Taxis, Light buses, Buses and Special Purpose Vehicles 3.7%

Importation of cars with privacy window is not allowed in Hong Kong. Cars fitted with privacy windows should be replaced with clear glass in order to get registered in the nation.

While choosing a Japan used car exporter for buying a used vehicle, importer must be cautious. Working with an experienced dealer will be beneficial for the importer. Avoid going with the ones who do not have right reputation.

Shipping Ports-

Major shipping ports in France are Fos Sur Mer port and Le Havre port. Generally, used vehicles in the country are shipped through RoRo (Roll-on Roll-off). However, on customer’s request, more expensive yet safe method of shipping, container shipment method is used.


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