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CAR SHIPPING TO HONG KONG – COSTS ON ARRIVAL


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The HK Government does not encourage the use of private cars but there is no requirement for an import licence and there is no import duty. A customs declaration must be made within 14 days and this can be done electronically through a HK service provider. An ‘Import Return’ (CED 336) and an ‘Import Declaration’ (CED 336A) must also be filed with the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department in North Point within 30 days of the car's arrival.

A ‘Notification of Taxable Value’ is then issued and there is a first registration tax to pay of between 40% and 115% of this value. Normally the taxable value is the ‘total landed cost / value’ of the vehicle and this means:

  • the total cost / purchase price of the motor vehicle including the cost of any extras or improvements made to the vehicle
  • shipping / freight / marine insurance costs
  • all Hong Kong arrival costs including any conversion and / or testing costs required to comply with any noise or emission regulations and any other costs incidental to the purchases and importation of the vehicle to Hong Kong.

The documentary proof of the total costs involved should be presented to Customs and Excise in their original currency. A depreciation allowance of 25% per annum (20% for diesel vehicles) on a reducing balance basis is deducted from the purchase price on vehicles owned and used overseas prior to shipment for each complete year period.

However, if the Customs and Excise Department is not satisfied that the declared value reflects the true value of the vehicle, or there is insufficient evidence of the total landed cost, such other value will be used as the taxable value, as may be determined by the Customs and Excise Department, taking into account:

  • the age of the vehicle
  • the retail price in the place of origin of the vehicle
  • the cost of materials and work necessary to render the vehicle into a condition where it meets first registration requirements.

It is not recommended to opt for a HK valuation as the taxes payable could be considerably higher than expected.

The actual registration tax payable is:

  • 40% on the first taxable value amount up to HK$150,000
  • 75% on the next HK$150,000
  • 100% on the next HK$200,000
  • 115% on any remaining value.

The documents required by Customs and Excise are:

  • The UK purchase receipt (as proof of the purchase cost and ownership of the vehicle).
  • UK registration document / V5C issued in the importer’s name (as proof of the year of manufacture, origin, and ownership).
  • Shipping documents, i.e. Waybill or Bill of Lading and freight invoice.
  • Hong Kong identity card (as proof of identity).
  • Insurance certificate or cover note (as proof that the vehicle will be covered by insurance once registered in HK).
  • Passport.
  • Driver’s licence.
  • Emissions and noise compliance test documentation (unless exempt under the personal import or classic vehicle concessions).

There are also very strict emission and noise regulations, with 3 main exemptions for petrol engined cars only (there is no exemption for cars with diesel engines):

  • Classic vehicles – vehicles manufactured more than 20 years prior to shipment to HK, which still have the same engine, and which run on unleaded petrol.
  • Personal imports (allowed once every 5 years) – vehicles owned and used overseas / in the UK for at least 6 months prior to shipment to HK. The minimum supporting documentation required for a personal import is:
    • UK registration document
    • proof of UK residence
    • UK insurance certificate
    • passport
    • UK driving licence
    • purchase receipt
    • shipping documents
    • reason for moving to Hong Kong.
  • Vehicles purchased brand new that were built to Hong Kong equivalent standards, imported within 6 months of purchase, and have been driven in the UK for a distance of less than 5,000 km. Or a new vehicle with a European CoC.

Vehicles not classified as personal imports or classic vehicles must comply with the Hong Kong Exhaust Emission Control and Conforming Noise Regulations and have to undergo a very strict testing regime at an approved emission testing laboratory in HK. A vehicle without exemption should not be shipped to HK without first seeking prior advice and cost confirmation of any conversion, modification and compliance. The vehicle emission requirement figures are very strict and it is always possible that a few used non-catalytic European cars cannot be converted to comply with the required levels. Many cars, already fitted with factory catalytic converters, are only required to be tested and certified that they comply with the new standards. A list of vehicles conforming to the noise regulations is available from the EPD.

An exemption or approval certificate is obtained from the EPD (Noise Emission Certificate General Approval (NECGA)).

Before a vehicle can be registered with a form TD22 and the taxes paid it must also be taken for vehicle examination to a Government examination test centre. Please note that rear privacy glass in cars must have a Light Transmission Rate of at least 44% (windows marked AS2 are normally acceptable but not AS3). A Certificate of Roadworthiness is issued and this along with the Taxable Value Notification from customs and EPD exemption or approval certificate is taken to licence and register a vehicle in Queensway. A vehicle examination is then required annually for all vehicles over 6 years old and the test involves checks on brakes, the fuel system, lights, steering, suspension, tyres and wheels, emissions and other general safety issues.

Left-hand drive vehicles are not permitted as a permanent import, except for use as consular vehicles or for non-road use. Once imported into HK, there are no time restrictions on when a car can be sold. Annual vehicle licence fees include a contribution to the Traffic Accident Victims Assistance (TAVA) scheme. Any UK insurance no-claims bonus is also valid in HK.


APPROXIMATE CHARGES PAYABLE IN HONG KONG FOR CARS

  • Port, haulage, and unpacking fees – approx. HK$4,000–6,000.
  • Import declaration and examination fees – approx. HK$1,000–1,500.
  • Purchase of number plates and registration fee – approx. HK$250–500.
  • HK fees for attendance, customs clearance, post shipment preparation, licensing, inspection, registration, and delivery, if carried out by an agent – HK$6,000–8,000.
  • Unless exempt, noise and emission test fees – HK$3,000–20,000
  • First registration tax (40%–115% of the taxable value) – HK$ variable.
  • Annual licence fees (this depends on the engine capacity) – approx. HK$6,000–11,000.
  • Motor insurance (TPFT or fully comprehensive) – HK$ variable.
  • HK driver’s licence – HK$750–1,000.

Further information, including a guide to prices and useful website and contact addresses, can be found in the Hong Kong Info Pack (PDF).