Self Importing a Motorbike from UK to Singapore

12 April 2009

I relocated to Singapore at the end of 2008. With a 10 month old F800GS I figured I could lay her up and reunite on my return to the UK 18 months later. But with a change of job and permanent move to Singapore I realised the bike had to come too.

This is the process for importing a used, right-hand drive bike that has KM/H on the speedo.  I don't know the process for importing a new bike, a left-hand drive bike or MPH only bike.

This is how I did it.

Warning, this is a VERY long post.

First, go to the One Motoring website and download the PDF “Self Import And Register a Motorcycle/Scooter”. It seems daunting! But I called my overseas BMW dealer and got a Certificate of Conformity which has all the technical details, chassis number for my bike an emission test results for my specific bike on a certificate signed by the manufacturer’s test technician.

Ship your bike: I used James Cargo Services in the UK. Literally turn up and leave the bike. They crated it, shipped it and insured it for the journey for £695

Get your Certificate of Entitlement (COE) (category D for Motorcycle). Basically, any vehicle on the roads in Singapore needs a COE, and this can run to $30,000+ for a car! You can check recent values at I used Citibank bidding system. Don’t be fooled by low prices for the first couple of days. Prices rocket in the last couple of hours as the bids come in. Look at prices from the last few auctions and be prepared to pay a few hundred over that price. Place your bid there; you will pay only the closing price if you are successful. (e.g I bid $1500 but ended up paying $958). LTA will send you your COE letter a week later to the address you used for the bidding exercise.

Need to get vehicle valued by Customs. Go to Customs Appraisal Section, Revenue House, 55 Newton Road and get a blank form “Declaration of Facts for Motor Vehicles” and their fax number to submit them. Also get the phone number of a guy in the Motor Vehicle department so you can phone him direct if you have a problem. Then assemble the following:

a. Completed form “Declaration of Facts For Motor Vehicles”
b. Certificate of Conformity (CoC if it’s a EU bike, or CIC for a Japanese bike)
c. Registration/Deregistration document (for used bike)
d. Dealer Original Sale Invoice
e. Dealer Statement of current value (for used vehicle – VERY HELPFUL!)
f. Bill of Lading (from your shipping agent)
g. Freight Papers & Invoice
h. Shipping Insurance Papers & Invoice

Fax the above documents to the number on the completed Declaration. They will fax you the valuation which you need to pass to your inward agent.

Call an agent to pay the duty and tax (Joint Inward and Payment levy via TradeNet) I used SpeedTrac Services Pte Ltd +65 6546 0339. These guys took the valuation and handled all payments for me, then delivered my crated bike to my home address. Very convenient and I don’t know how you would do it without an agent. The costs break down:

a. Terminal Handling Fee                                                                        $30.25
b. LCL Charges                                                                                         $63.12
c. Delivery Order Fee                                                                              $60.00
d. Agency Fee                                                                                           $35.00
e. PSA Forklift Fee                                                                                   $65.00
f. D/Order Processing & Tracing Fee                                                    $35.00
g. Warehouse Charge                                                                               $30.00
h. Inward Customs Declaration & Stamp Fee                                      $110.00
i. Despatch Customs Handling Fee                                                         $120.00
j. Delivery to my home address                                                              $120.00
k. Store Rental & Removal Fee                                                              $150.00
l. Customs Duties (12%) & GST (7%)                                                    $2455.78
m. TOTAL:                                                                                               $3304.15

I had to pay the agent cash when they delivered the bike. The above charge for Warehouse and Store Rental & Removal could have been avoided if my agent had been able to get the Inward Declaration on a Monday. Be warned: Your customs valuation is only valid until the following Monday at Midnight. At this time, Customs update their exchange rate for valuation, so the valuation may go up or down in value depending on the currency shift. The value has to match the figures that your agent enters on the TradeNet payment system. So I had to reapply for a valuation on the Tuesday morning and it delayed getting my bike by a couple of days, hence the warehousing charges from the Port Authority.

Now, having been delivered my bike was no longer covered by shipping insurance, so the day before I got insurance. You can use the obvious people like Axa, Mitsui(?), AIG, NTUC but I went with Liberty City State who match NTUC for price but have a better reputation for paying out in the event of a claim. Some won’t cover you on a foreign licence or without experience of driving in Singapore. Comprehensive insurance for my bike was $1177, which is about the same as the UK. Not bad without any NCD.

Apply for Vehicle approval either via VITAS online (not worth setting up an account for one vehicle import) or at 10, Sin Ming Drive Vehicle Engineering Division. You can download the application for Vehicle Batch Approval from the VITAS website in advance. Take all the same documents as you sent to customs for the valuation plus the following:

a. Passport (they don’t like FIN in the system!)
b. Technical Catalogue for your bike. Whatever the CoC says might not match the technical details from the manufacturer, and you’ll need the tech details to complete the “walk-in application for vehicle batch approval”.
c. They wanted pictures of my bike, but processed without them and told me to ask the test centre to take them
d. They turned my documents around in 4 hours and faxed me a pre-approval, asking me to present my bike for inspection (Vehicle Batch Approval Inspection).

(NOTE: Don’t get tied up at the front desk at the LTA at 10 Sing Ming Drive. For the Vehicle Engineering Division, turn left at the front desk and walk through the building until you are out the other side. Then turn left and follow the road to the last big building on the opposite side of what looks like an open test area. Go into the office there and the receptionist will help you.)

Once in-principal approval is given, arrange the bike to be inspected at any VITAS test centre

a. I tried phoning VICOM, but they gave me the run around on the phone, kept me on hold for ages and then disconnected me several times. So I phoned STA. They said just turn up with the bike any time, inspection would last about 30 mins. Go early in the morning and there is no queue! Details of all test centres on VITAS website, I chose a centre on Sin Ming Road for convenience (and closest to my home). 
b. Take copies of all your documents, but all details should be on the pre-approval from LTA.
c. No need to collect your originals from LTA at Sin Ming drive yet
d. My bike failed the inspection! Bikes in Singapore are required to have a rear mudguard that covers at least half the wheel to avoid flicking stones up at following cars. Obviously, looking around Singapore most people remove these between tests! Next to the STA inspection centre is a load of vehicle workshops and I managed to get a $10 mudguard for a Honda scooter. The Inspection guys even helped me bolt it to the bike for the inspection photos.
e. Once the bike passes inspection, they ping the details electronically to the LTA Vehicle Engineering division who fax the Vehicle Approval Code to you a few hours later.
f. Cost of STA Vehicle Batch Approval Inspection:                                             $32.10
g. Cost of transporting bike to/from test centre:                                                 $160

(I used Bikebulance +65 6425 5333 to get my bike to the test centre and back, and the guy waited during the 40 minutes of inspection and mudguard buying. But there are others who can tow.)

Collect your original documents from LTA Vehicle Engineering office then it’s back to LTA Quota & Registration to register the bike with following documents:

a. Complete Form R01 (can download in advance from
b. Notice of Approval from LTA c. VAC from test centre d. COE Letter e. Passport f. Insurance Cover Note g. Original Sales Invoice h. Inward Cargo Clearance Permit i. I also gave them the customs valuation to calculate the Additional Registration Fee, to be on the safe side.

I didn’t have my Vehicle Approval Code (VAC), as I had only just completed the inspection. But I submitted the application and then faxed the VAC a couple of hours later when I received it.

Then a couple of days later, collect from LTA Quote & Registration Section the following:

a. Registration Notification Letter
b. Validated Road Tax Disc
c. Official Receipt
i. Cost:                                                                                                       $2883.75

Use these documents to get some plates made up for front AND rear of the bike.

a. I got my rear plate and front sticker made at Juzz Wheels
b. Cost:                                                                                                         $20

Fix the registration plates then drive straight to dealer to get IU fitted. This gizmo takes a cashcard and is used to automatically deduct tolls on busy roads and payments in car parks.
I used STA.. They helped me wire it IU to the battery and zip-tie the IU to the handlebars to get me home. Now I am on the hunt for a bracket.

Cost: $155.80

Finally, import complete!

a. Shipping, Crating, Insurance
b. Duty/Tax/Port Charges & Delivery
c. Bike Insurance
c. Application for Vehicle Approval
e. Vehicle Approval Test
f. Transporting bike to the test centre and home again
g. Register/Additional Reg Fee/Road Tax/COE
i. Get registration plate/sticker made
j. Get UI fitted

A final word – was it worth it? Hell yeah! I love my bike and wouldn’t want to be without it. It is a time-consuming process but I managed it with only a couple of odd hours off work. And the figures speak for themselves. And don’t forget, once imported your bike will adopt the local valuation...which is probably more than you paid in the first place.

I'm not one for a lot of attention, but this bike turns a lot of heads in Singapore.  :)

EDIT: I got a bracket for the IU at Seng Kwang Metal at #05-31 AMK Autopoint, 10 Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2A. This place is run by a couple of very handy brothers called Gilbert and William. They custom crafted the bracket for my bike, positioning the IU exactly where I wanted it. It took all of 20 minutes and cost me $80. Excellent service. I will be back with other welding needs to these guys.


About This Blog

I had been saving for a ST1300 for a long time, as it was clear that my Deauville wasn't up the task.

In November 2007 I saw pictures of the F800GS and ran to the dealers to place a deposit.

On 13th March 2008 I took delivery and have never regretted it.

On 13th April 2009 my 800GS joined me in Singapore for a new life and adventures...

This is my F800GS Blog.


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