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.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Well done that man! Good write up, it's tempting me now.

Welcome to Singapore, looks like you have landed on your feet and got some good advice straight away.

Wave or stop for a chat if you see a Blue Varadero with a Saltire (Scottish flag) on the front.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the detailed write up, I'm going to go to run the guantlet soon with my own F800GS but this ones coming from the US.

Twisticles said...

Coming from the US? Only issues I can think of are:

1) Emission standards - does your CoC list the EU emissions standard or a US one? Singapore needs certification of the EU standard and you CANNOT get the test done in Singapore, must be in US. See the pdf on self-import for list of approved test centres in the US.

2) Left hand-drive (for singapore roads). Your bike will be right-hand drive for the US, so your headlamp will blind oncoming traffic and will fail the inspection. Need to figure out how to focus the bulb to the left side instead of the right side.

3) Mud guard. I guess the US is like the UK and doesnt require the rear mudguard to cover at least half of the rear wheel. Fit a long mudguard before the inspection (and take off after;) )

Good luck and let us know how you get on.


Jonathan said...


Way to go at sticking it to PML.

Performance Motors has threaten "not to go easy" many times for maintenance works for BMW motorcycles not bought through them. How will you approach that crisis of run away labour cost and parts.

Every Singaporean BMW rider I've met has testified that PML aren't dealing on the level. They are, for a fact, Experts at justifying runaway & impossible costs.
I wonder if this firm "BMW Asia",
may be the salvation of hard-squeezed Beemer (Sg) Riders island-wide. Or just another tentacle of PML.

Do write on your experiences with PML. Horror stories are great for camp-fires!


Damian said...

Wow, quite a saga!

I am actually in a very similar situatation albeit 12 months later. Looking at re-locating life, wife and bike from UK to Singapore and until I'd read your post was going to be without the bike.

I have a 2008 KTM 990 Adventure & was contemplating the import process, running costs and places to take it. Now you've covered in great detail the first part I wanted to pick your brains on where do you take the bike riding / do you get good use out of it? What are the relative costs of having a bike in SG compared to UK.

Cheers, Damian

Twisticles said...

Relative costs are about the same, once you've got it on the road. I can't comment on the major service prices though, haven't had one yet.

But tax, insurance, petrol are mostly cheaper than the UK.

And I've been so busy at work I still haven't made it up to malaysia :( I need to get some miles in, a bike in singapore is frustrating from traffic light to traffic light...


Twisticles said...



I didn't import my bike to stick it to PML, its just that it was cheaper for me to do it this way.

Before the import, I went to talk to PML and explained my situation, i.e. that there was never any chance of my buying from them as I don't have the funds, but that they will get a future customer for parts and servicing.

I also asked them about switching the speedo over to KM/h from MP/h. I took the bike in, they plugged in their computer and did their stuff. Then they checked the chain and fluids and recommended a place to get an IU bracket made - all for free!

Now, over in the UK we know BMW servicing is expensive compare to other main dealers, mostly. I can't comment on PML prices for servicing until I need it done. But so far they've been very helpful and I haven't spent a penny.


William said...

hey ...

thanks so much for the detail write up.. i am on the process of importing a Harley Nightster into Singapore. I am currently Riding BMW GS 1150...
saw ur post recently and was dying to get a harley.

Can i ask u a quick question. I am importing from US California. There is two LABS to test the emission according to the LTA guidelines. However according to ur post, u seems to skip this step... i thought even in UK. u also need to go for testing. Wat i understand from ur post is that u can actually ask the BMW dealer to produce 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....

pls kindly advice me can..

thanks so much ..
i tried to add u in msn but cant...

if u can.. can u add me at

thanks dude!

Twisticles said...

Hey William,

Sorry not to get back to you sooner.

YEah, the COC from the manufacturer is unique to the bike and has a record of the actual emissions from that bike when it was tested in the factory. This is enough proof.

Before I was able to get the COC, I asked the UK lab about the test - basically its a test that manufactuters use when launching a new bike! Not a consumer thing at all, so very very expensive.

I am sure that Harley will have a similar Certificate when the bike rolls off the line?


Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for the write up. Good to know somebody has done it before.

How did you get round the requirement that the headlights need to automatically turn on the moment you turn the engine on?

From what I read, there is the 12% customs duty and the 17% Additional Registration. Did you have to pay GST too?

Anonymous said...
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Twisticles said...

Hey Anon,

The requirement to get the headlight turning on automatically was no problem, that is standard on a UK BWM.

If you look towards the end of my post, you will see a breakdown of all costs. I bundled together the tax/duty/delivery and the registration/additional registration etc, but the breakdown is there.


Anonymous said...

Hi mate - you've got some great stuff on this blog. I'm looking at moving to sing from the uk in the next few months as well. originally was looking at importing my bike as well but am now looking at riding it down there. i just wanted to check whether you'd thought about that at the time you moved down? or whether you had any details on how i can go about that. any help in pointing me in the right direction would be much appreciated. cheers - simon

Twisticles said...

I have considered UK to Singapore as a journey, but you can't do it all overland. Around about the time you hit China you have to get off and ship the bike. Some people aim for Burma and ship from Nepal (can't ride thru Burma either).

But I was too busy with work, and I would want to smell the roses along the way, so plan to do the reverse trip over 3 months or so.

To be honest, you'll only save the shipping/crating/insurance fee of 695 quid, the journey will be more expensive ;)

And if you bike is more than 3 yrs old, forget it. And if you don't have the COC, forget it too.

Good luck with the import.


Twisticles said...


Sorry, I didn't address your last point.

Go to this is the only site you need for overland travel information, its all here.

Also, check out the blog from my mate. We used to do motorcycle maintenance classes together in the UK. He left in May 2008, and I met with him in April 2009 when he came through Singapore. His site is


Anonymous said...

Cheers. Thanks Twist - much appreciated.

I was thinking of spending 10 week or so and heading through Europe to Turkey and then up along the Silk Route and into China before heading south through Laos, Thailand and Malaysia. But as you say, I've got to the same point at the moment with China challenges - looks like you can do it but if only if you're willing to arrange for a "guide" to take you through. Don't know if I'll have time to sort it out by the time I need to go so may just have to import after all. I haven't bought a bike yet but am test riding a few bikes this weekend - at the moment it's a toss up between 800 GS or I get a road bike (F800R or Shiver) and turn it into something like the Touratech F800 ScrambleR which looks awesome (and is hopefully solid enough to handle the trips once I'm there).

It would be good to set up a few rides into Malaysia once I get there. Have you found some good rides? And what's the riding like in Singapore - do you use it much or only for longer rides into Malaysia?

- S

keeper83 said...

Hi Twist. Together with a mate of mine I had been looking into getting F800GS' for ourselves. Thanks to your very detailed posting, we started looking seriously into importing as a more economical option. Yes, we had thought about getting used ones but there really aren't that many around. Between the info in your posting and the internet, we've pretty much collected all the info we need and importing is certainly a viable option. Just one question that I'd like your help with - do you know of any mechanics/workshops aside from PML capable of maintaining and servicing an F800GS? Thanks.

By the way, all this research has gotten me thinking about importing as well when it's time to change my car next.

Twisticles said...

@ Simon
- nice bikes to consider. If I was looking in the market now I would seriously consider the KTM 990SM T. Friend has one, incredible bike.
We might ride a couple of hours in Singapore on a weekend, but its either highway or stop/start traffic. Better to go Malaysia.

- regarding workshops, I went and visited them all last weekend. The problem is the diagnostic, but Perfection Motors can do the reset at service time, and Loois Motors says they have a guy training this year. mTechnik have a lot of BMW experience, but no diagnostic computer.
At the heart of it, the 800GS is a solid rotax twin, very easy to work on.

Most of the bike is simple, for oil change/fluids/etc. Its only the computer stuff that is a problem. Parts are quicker and cheaper purchased from the UK!

You can buy a parallel import here for about 29k OTR, with 'agent' warranty.

WARNING - since 1st Jan 2009, PML will charge $5000 to 'register' any self or parallel import with them, which you need to do for any factory warranty claim or for them to service your bike.

Also, PML will charge additional 25% more than their usual prices to work on any self/parallel imported bike.

They haven't been very public about this, but I have the emails and the pdf document with their new policy on it.

I nearly sold the bike because of it, instead I will go it alone with other mechanics to assist.


Anonymous said...

If you are going "independent" I can recommend the guys at M-Technik, adaptable, fiendly and helpful guys. Even if they need to do something and don't have the specialised kit, they know where they can borrow it from or go to and get dealer prices.

They have been looking after my Varadero for two years and now with my Tiger, haven't put a foot wrong yet.


Anonymous said...

Nice fill someone in on and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you on your information.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

so - what do you guys think; i'm heading to Singapore from the UK in a couple of months. i haven't got a bike here but have been looking at buying a triumph street / speed and ducati hypermotard / monster for some time. is it worth buying one here and bringing it with me to singapore given all the servicing, warranty, etc issues? or best to just buy in sing?

Twisticles said...


If you don't already have a bike in the UK, it will be TONS easier to buy in Singapore, assuming you have the budget.

All the servicing/warranty work will be less aggro and the actual purchase is the first step in a relationship with your dealer.

I only imported because I had owned my bike for a year already and couldn't bear to part with it ;)

There are Triumph and Ducati main dealers here...why don't you email and ask them prices OTR, and compare based on my costs? I warn you though, importing a bike is a LOT of paper and legwork.


macutan said...

hey, thanks a lot for the post, v informative... here comes my question,

I am thinking of importing my KTM 690 Duke New York to Singapore... but after reading that pdf there isn't any recognised vehicle exhaust emission testing lab on the east coast... what is my alternative or solution? the bike is about to be 2yrs old...

any guidance will be greatly appreciated.

Twisticles said...

Proof of vehicle emissions is critical to passing the Vehicle Batch Approval, even if the model is previously imported to Singapore.

The emission test standard laid down by LTA is pretty much the same as the European emission standard, I don't know how it differs.

The easiest thing is to get the Certificate of Conformity from the original dealer, this will have the factory emission test results on it, correctly certified, along with your VIN/engine number on the cert.

Without that, you'll have to get the test done - be warned, this is not some "consumer" test but the kind of test they do when developing new models of bikes.

Sounds like you've got no wriggle room if you can't lay your hands on the CoC.

One last thing...I did hear rumours that LTA in Singapore was going to open such an emission test centre, you might try looking for information on that (it may be that the pdf you read is not up to date).

Problem is, if you ship the bike here and it fails, you are stuck with a bike you can't sell or ride.

In your case, it might be easier to sell and buy locally. Ong at Dirt Wheels is the KTM dealer, a nice bloke!

macutan said...

oh wow, thanks for the prompt reply!!

I will call the dealer tomorrow and see if they can provide me with such document.

I heard about Dirt Wheels and called them up and they gave me a price for the 2009 model of my current bike (which wasn't too bad), the problem is I might not be able to sell my 2008 here that well and importing vs selling it here and buying another one there might make more sense...

it is good to know that someone has brought bikes in and knows all of this things...

Will likely post more questions as soon as I start with the process...

thanks once again

macutan said...

ahh, one more question... what is this thing i am hearing around that I might not be able to convert my USA motorcycle license to a license that might let me ride this bike I have been riding for almost 2 years now?

Any tricks about how to go around it?

Twisticles said...

Strictly speaking in Singapore it is "not normally" possible to convert a foreign licence and get a full motorbike licence.

The Traffic Police state that you can only get a Class 2B licence (up to 200cc) which you must ride for a year before you can get Class 2A (up to 400cc) and after a futher year you can get a full unrestricted licence.

If you could see how the Malaysian bikers ride when they come into Singapore for work on their 150cc Honda Wave scooters you can understand why giving these guys 1000cc bikes at age 17 is not a good idea ;)

A work pass holder can ride on their own country's licence for up to 12 months, so if you import you can ride legally for a year at least. After that you need a Singapore licence, or if you become a PR you need to convert immediately.

The Singapore Police says:

"Conversion for a higher capacity or open category motorcycle licence is normally not granted unless there are documentary proof of training, testing, ownership of bigger motorcycle and insurance policy indicating that you have gone through proper training and testing regime and have had at least one year riding experience on the road. "

So, at the very least come armed with as much paperwork and photos as possible that prove you have owned and ridden 'big' bikes for a long time. Then they might just give you a full Class 2 licence. Old insurance certificates/log books/ownership certs etc.

Heresay says that if you are Caucasian (i.e. European, Australian, American, Canadian or anywhere with a respectable and established road network and licensing authority) you stand more chance of getting a full licence than if you are non-caucasian (i.e. Indian, Malaysian etc.)

A Swiss friend of mine converted his car licence a month ago, and as it had full bike entitlement for over 25 yrs on it they gave it to him no questions asked.

A Brit friend of mine tried to convert his licence the same month he passed his big bike test in the UK and they said "no, come back in six months".

In any case, you have to take the Basic Theory Test before you can convert any licence in Singapore...and don't under estimate the test...I failed the first time and waiting 2 months for re-test!

More police info here:

Also, experiential annecdotes can be found at

macutan said...


I have been reading at the document you mention at the beginning of your post ( and i noticed on page 4 point 7 that it says that "[...]For vehicles imported by self-importers every unit is required to be tested. Test report of its type-approved model is not acceptable. ". Does that mean that my CoC will not be suficient and my moto will have to be tested upon arrival? (or in some center in California?).

I hope all of this trouble to get the bike over there is worthy...

derek26ng said...

In the process of bringing my F800 GS to Sing this week.Cost from Phoenix AZ of crating and freighting runs up to USD 1400.This was a quote I got based on a pickup in my house and a drop off at PSA.Shipment will take 5 weeks max..according to the rep that called me.

Sunny Chow said...

How long it take for the whole process?
Can you recommend a bike dealer in UK which we can buy a new bike from them and ship here?


Twisticles said...

Hi Sunny,
Sorry for the late reply.
It really depends what kind of bike you want to buy. My experience with one BMW dealer is that they have an overseas sales agent who can do all of that. I know of someone who reads this blog who also imported from a main dealer in London.

So your best bet is to send emails to some dealers, see what they say I guess.


claudia said...

Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!


Anonymous said...

Excellent post, there still may be hope for the internet! Thanks, I was considering to import a motorbike (BMW R1150GS from the States) and now realize the bike is over ripe for Singapore import. So, next question: Have you tried to run "low grade" petrol in the F800GS? I've heard they only like the premium stuff? I'm thinking about those glass 1 liter bottles of petrol you can buy in Thailand..kind of orange color with bits of rubbish. Octane test not available..

cobalt-blue said...
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cobalt - fade away said...

OKAY okay,

That was mean spirited this island country there is a gentlemen code of not knocking and sharing about bad service and slipshod workmanship for sky-high prices. And then, some more prices.
Other countries, with their free presses and open internet communities, Sure.
Singapore, Not-so-sure.

That being said. I can supply quotations and parts & service receipts from Performance Motors Limited to this Blog. But only if TWISTICLES -okays- this move. The personal details will be blotted but the essence and prices will be intact. What say you?


Sebastian said...

Good afternoon Twist,
I am Kiwi (NZer) currently living in Korea for sometime now. the SG job offer is on the way, my only worries is my 2010 CBR1000RR, standard. No modification have made except fairing sliders, swingarm sliders and hook bolts.

Few concerns regaridng importin my vehicle to SG,

Is there any difference in right hand drive motorcycle? (here in Korea it's right hand dirve, not like UK. I guess I can swap the bulb to right side)

Does mud-guard needed? mine are not the half way to cover the rear tyre

There are no LTA/NEA recognised vehicle exhasust emission tesing center in Korea in Document. What if I can't grap vehicle emmision testing data from Honda Korea for my bike? Does CoC test result for my specific bike on a certificate ny the manufacturer test technician is okay?

Many thanks

Lester said...

Thank you so much for the detailed Twist!! =)

I am now so tempted to ship my bike from Australia to Singapore.

Thanks for highlighting the additional cost involved in Singapore. Seems to be quite substantial. May I ask about the custom duties? How do they decide on the value of you bike to impose the duties and GST on?


ferdinanddebargos said...

As a foreigner, you can no longer take part in the COE bidding excercise via Citibank online. Your NRIC must begin with either S or T to be allowed to take part. I finally found this out after many attempts at bidding, where, at the end of the bidding process you get the message, "There is a temporary fault. Please try again later". There is no temporary fault, you are just not allowed to bid even though you get to go through the entire bidding process until you hit "Submit". Citibank at first blamed the LTA for imposing the NRIC restriction. I contacted the LTA and a spokesperson there said it was Citibank at fault and that I should be able to submit a bid using my passport number. Citibank then told me there was a fault with their system which would be resolved by 9 PM that night. I tried again the next morning with the same result. Finally, I got to speak to a bank officer, who admitted that I could not bid because of the NRIC restriction. I still do not know who has imposed this restriction and of course, I have no COE.
Customs is also a nightmare. What normally takes 2-3 days is going to take over a week and I have to pay storage for my bike in the meantime.
Finally, be advised that a COE for a motorcycle is now well over $2000. If anyone out there still intends to go ahead with a personal import, then be prepared for a long wait and plenty of grief. I'm no longer sure if it is going to be worth it in the end.

Jonathan Proctor said...

Obstacles and hurdles that confound the independent new motorcycle buyer!
Costly, not merely in motorcycle price terms but vehicle legislation needed to push through.

IN real terms, do expect motorcycle purchasing and licensing to be much more expensive than Europe, America or North Asia.

CHECK with the local dealer, if there is a difference in price quotes on SPARE PARTS purchases. Specifically two prices, a lower rate for bikes sold by the dealer, and eg. a 30% marked-up price for parallel imported bike. There may also be a need to budget for an "Adoption Fee" of some thousands of dollars by the local dealer.

Motorcycles need regular parts and servicing. So double-check the entailed maintenance & parts cost over the years before thinking a "parallel" might save you money on the list price. My personal experience, parallel imports are a hassle when trying to find parts and have a comparatively weaker re-sale value for just such a reason.

ferdinanddebargos said...

There never was an error on the Citibank COE bidding site. It was as I found out; only those individuals who have a NRIC beginning with S or T are eligible to bid. I have since been assured that Citibank are working to rectify this and that in the future, foreign nationals will be able to bid using their Passport numbers.
I also had my bike shipped by James Cargo Services. Because I was only going to be in Singapore for three weeks before returning to work, I had my bike air freighted. It cost £1105 plus insurance, which was about £300 more than sea freight. They did a fantastic job of crating the bike and I would definitely recommend them. Two things to be aware of if you decide to air freight your bike, the fuel tank will be drained and the tyres will be partially deflated.
The documents required for Customs are still as Twisticles has stated. However, you can now email your submission. Make sure they are aware that you require your valuation to be emailed back to you. This appears to be the reason for the delay in getting my valuation as when I received it, it was dated four days before.
I also used Speedtrac Services, who are James Cargo’s agents in Singapore. They will accept payment by cheque if drawn on a Singapore bank, although I chose to pay by cash.
Liberty City State only insure BMW and Ducati. Go figure. I used NTUC.
For your Vehicle Batch Approval, the access to the Engineering Division at the LTA has changed. There is now a new customer services department next to and just beyond the original building. Follow the signs for customer services and instead of entering the new building, continue past it. You will see a green street sign over the pathway that you are on to Sin Ming Drive. Turn right at the sign and right again into the yard that appears to contain a large warehouse. Go all the way around the building where you will find the reception entrance. The staff in here a very helpful and will email you your approval. You will still need to return to collect your documents, though.
As previously stated by Twisticles, VICOM are still giving people the run around. I also used STA. The procedure has changed a little. You need to provide a “false” Singapore license plate to put on your bike for it to be photographed. They will not photograph the bike with foreign or no plates on it. I had to wait an hour while my driver went to get the necessary plates.
That’s as far as I am at the moment. I am currently waiting for my insurance and I have been put in contact with a dealer who will bid on my behalf in the next COE bidding excercise.
I hope the rest will be fairly straightforward.
I reckoned on having to pay the same as the cost of the bike again in freight and duty charges, GST, licensing and insurance, etc. So far it has proven to be true.
As for paying an “adoption fee” of some thousands of dollars to have your bike serviced, well, only a fool would be willing to do that. If the main dealer won’t service your bike without getting a sweetener first, there are plenty of competent mechanics around who will.

RP said...

What a great blog! Thanks for listing everything out. I'm thinking of bringing my GSX1250FA over from Australia as it's also just under a year old. All that said, it really does seem daunting...

Faris said...

Hi brother this is awesome stuff. i was searching for a week gathering some infos about importing bike into SG. Anyway this post is long time ago i hope you are still there.

I would like to import a bike from the UK for track use only. Storage will be at a bike shop. It will be towed everywhere and no road use.

So can i just skip the COE VITAS insurence all that part?

Email me

Thank you!!

Twisticles said...


You can import for track use only, but to do so you need an inspection from the Singapore Motor Sport Association instead.

Check out
There is a form you need to fill out too:

One of the conditions is that you enter/use the bike for SMSA/Other regional events - not just track days it would seem. But I am not an expert and have never imported for track-use, so talk to the SMSA and I am sure they can help you through the process.

One thing I would say, is that once you remove the COE, you are still left with ARF and other fees, so its still pretty expensive.

Have you thought of looking for a track bike here in Singapore? They are TONS cheaper than road bikes, and crop up quite frequently. If you already plan to store at a shop, then you probably know people who can keep an eye out for you...

And be forewarned...towing everywhere is going to cost $$$. You've basically got pasir gudang (about 90 mins away) and sepang (about 4 hrs) and that is your race track lot, until the SG Motorspots hub opens (when all the legal issues are resolved!)

Hope that helps.


ferdinanddebargos said...

Finally got the bike on the road after my return to Singapore in the second week of December. The final steps in getting mobile were pretty straightforward and only involved two more visits to the LTA to get my registration and road tax and one visit to STA (within walking distance) to buy an IU. I got plates made up at a place a couple of hundred metres away from the LTA for S$30.
So, was it worth it in the end? Oh yes. I've had some great times on my bike already and been up into Malaysia twice.

Bradthelad3000 said...

Ferdinanddebargos..we need to talk.
Im importing a KTM SMR 990 as we speak. Just firming up the ex-VAT UK price. You're a recent acheiver in this area...!

Bradthelad3000 said...

Boys, After reviewing the LTA procedures document today, there is also an "additional registration fee" of 15% OMV. This seems in addition to Customs duty and GST, taking the total of those 3 items to 34% of OMV. This kills my deal big time.
Ferdinanddebargos - Did you come across this as well ??? tks.

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ferdinanddebargos said...

To Bradthelad. Yep, the additional registration fee is a ball breaker for sure. When all fees are paid, you can expect to have doubled the original cost of the bike. There's no way around it. If you by a bike from a dealer in Singapore, you still pay the same fees as all bikes are imports.

Bradthelad3000 said...

Ferdinand, pls drop me a line. Im just kicking off an import now, numbers look ok, though would be good to hear recent experience. The KTM990 is 32k here, I rekkon I can get it done for 23-24k. Though the whole process seems a massive ball ache.

Jeffrey Tang said...


wasn't sure if this is double posting. My buddy and I are in the middle of importing our beloved bike from India. We hit a road block as we didn't have COC but have a more stringent ARAI report. However the LTA says it is not enough. Could you help by sending over your copy of COC so that we can compare which part is missing. Thanks. Email:-

Imported Bikes said...

Yep, the additional registration fee is a ball breaker for sure. When all fees are paid, you can expect to have doubled the original cost of the bike. There's no way around it. If you by a bike from a dealer in Singapore, you still pay the same fees as all bikes are imports.

Anonymous said...

sorry to ask maybe a stupid question. is there anyway to bring a bike older than 3 yrs? i moving in a year & have 2 x 2003 Ducatis..


Bradthelad3000 said...

Not that I know of. The bikes that are in SG already of that age, were brought here before the rule was brought in. Shame..sounds like some nice dukes dude..

Anonymous said...

Hey guys - can anyone recommend a reputable agent to pay custom duty/tax upon importation? Ideally I would prefer to deal with them by email since I'm not based in Singapore. Also if they had a website that would give me greater confidence.

I'm looking at importing my 2012 DUCATI Monster 1100EVO to SIng from Japan. Considering the price of that bike in Sing - it looks like I would be better off importing my bike rather than buying a new one in Sing

Evie Fisken said...

Wow extremely nice article . You have done a great job . Many information are included in this article . Its so valuable post . Thanks to admin to share this with us. It will be helpful to me .

Dilshod Jurabaev said...

Hi, can anyone tell me if I buy motorbike abroad and bring it to SG for my own use, would i safe some $$$ by doing so?


Isaac Sia said...

This is really useful thanks!

riyaz_thazim said...

Hi, can Singaporean import bike to SG?

hairul said...

do you think it's possible to get financing on the bike once it's imported into Singapore? My bike in US is still under financing so i would have to fork out a lump sum to clear it, before importing it over. But would need financing here in Singapore to ease the massive start-up costs.

Bradthelad3000 said...

Sorry mate, I know the market here in SG pretty well..that wont be possible. Just buy a bike here second hand and negotiate a good price.

hairul said...

thanks @bradthelad3000. was hoping there's a chance. haha.

but comparing the prices, seems like importing a bike might still be cheaper than getting a new one here. saw a 2014 sportster 883 retailing for USD 8K, which after accounting all the costs, is still cheaper than the ones in the catalogue here.

ComingForYouSoon said...

So there are about three serious efficient PARALLEL IMPORTERS in Singapore
All offer Super cook aftermarket modifications and have taken years to develop their BMW Motorrad workshop and maintenance services. They are all cheaper than the You-know-which-one and offer the exact same product, better if you consider the upgraded modifications

To be fair, I won't mention any business's names here

Here's the approximate statistics,
There are 5,000 active BMW motorcycles registered in Singaporea
The BMW club has hovering around 100 members since I last checked
The You-know-which-shop with exclusive dealership, sells a paltry 70-100 units of motorcycles per year in the last 4 years

In Singapore
Majority of BMW riders have found and are happy with an alternative provider that takes care of them

hairul said...

@bradthelad3000, you mentioned previously you wanted to bring in a KTM990 in 2012, and you reckoned you could get it at 23-24k. did you manage to do it even with the ARF?

Bradthelad3000 said...

I brought over a KTM990, purchased over the phone from the uk for GBP6300 after taking off the VAT in the UK. After all my costs here it cost me 22k SGD, and the retail selling price at the time was 32k SGD.
Thats after all costs, ARF, COE etc.. Remember the COE back then cost me something like SGD1750....

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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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