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China – Buying or Importing a Car

If you’re a foreign national planning to purchase or import a vehicle in China, it’s essential to understand the legal procedures involved. In this article, we’ll cover the steps involved in buying or importing a car in China, along with the necessary paperwork and contact details of relevant government departments.

Buying a New or Used Car in China

Buying a new or used car in China follows a similar process to most other countries. The first step is to find a reputable dealership or private seller. You can browse local classifieds websites or visit authorized car dealerships.

Required Documents for Buying a Car in China

Foreign nationals need to provide the following documents to buy a car in China:

  • Passport
  • Residence Permit or Visa
  • Chinese Driver’s License
  • Temporary Vehicle License

Registering the Vehicle

Once you’ve purchased the car, you need to register it with the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) Traffic Police. The registration process involves providing the following documents:


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  • Vehicle purchase invoice
  • Certificate of Automobile Product
  • Proof of payment of the vehicle purchase tax
  • Proof of payment of the vehicle registration fee
  • Proof of having obtained compulsory traffic accident liability insurance policy
  • Proof of having obtained motor vehicle license plate

After submitting the necessary documents, the PSB Traffic Police will issue you with Chinese registration plates and a vehicle registration certificate.

Importing a Vehicle in China

If you’re planning to import a vehicle to China, there are specific procedures and requirements to follow.

Required Documents for Importing a Vehicle

Foreign nationals need to provide the following documents to import a car to China:

  • Passport
  • Residence Permit or Visa
  • Chinese Driver’s License
  • Vehicle purchase invoice
  • Certificate of Automobile Product
  • Inspection certificate issued by an approved inspection agency
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Proof of payment of the vehicle purchase tax
  • Proof of payment of the vehicle registration fee
  • Proof of having obtained compulsory traffic accident liability insurance policy
  • Proof of having obtained motor vehicle license plate

Step-by-Step Guide to Importing a Vehicle

  1. Obtain an Import Permit from the Ministry of Commerce.

  2. Obtain a Vehicle Purchase Invoice from the seller.

  3. Obtain an Inspection Certificate from an approved inspection agency.

  4. Obtain a Certificate of Automobile Product from the manufacturer.

  5. Obtain a Certificate of Origin from the country of origin.

  6. Pay the Vehicle Purchase Tax at a designated bank.

  7. Register the Vehicle with the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) Traffic Police. Provide all the necessary documents, including the Vehicle Purchase Invoice, Inspection Certificate, Certificate of Automobile Product, Certificate of Origin, and proof of payment of the Vehicle Purchase Tax and Vehicle Registration Fee.

  8. The PSB Traffic Police will issue Chinese registration plates and a Vehicle Registration Certificate.

Contact Details of Relevant Government Departments

If you need assistance with the import process, you can contact the following Chinese government departments:

Selling a Car in China

If you’re planning to sell a car in China, there are specific procedures and paperwork to follow.

Required Documents for Selling a Car in China

When selling a car in China, you need to provide the following documents:

  • Vehicle Registration Certificate
  • Purchase Invoice
  • Certificate of Automobile Product
  • Inspection Certificate
  • Compulsory Traffic Accident Liability Insurance Policy
  • Motor Vehicle License Plate

Step-by-Step Guide to Selling a Car

  1. Obtain a Vehicle Inspection Certificate from an approved inspection agency.

  2. Obtain a Compulsory Traffic Accident Liability Insurance Policy from an approved insurance company.

  3. Complete a Purchase Invoice with the buyer.

    1. Provide the buyer with the Vehicle Registration Certificate, Certificate of Automobile Product, Inspection Certificate, and Motor Vehicle License Plate.

    2. The buyer needs to register the vehicle with the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) Traffic Police and obtain Chinese registration plates.

    3. Submit a Notice of Transfer of Ownership to the PSB Traffic Police within 30 days of the sale.

    Tips for Selling a Car in China

    Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when selling a car in China:

    • Ensure the Vehicle Registration Certificate, Inspection Certificate, and Compulsory Traffic Accident Liability Insurance Policy are up to date and valid.

    • Be honest about the condition of the car and disclose any defects or accidents.

    • Set a fair price based on the car’s condition, age, and mileage.

    • Meet the buyer in a public place and bring a friend or family member for safety.

    • Only accept cash or bank transfer as payment.

    • Once the sale is complete, submit a Notice of Transfer of Ownership to the PSB Traffic Police within 30 days.

    Contact Details of Relevant Government Departments

    If you need assistance with the selling process, you can contact the following Chinese government departments:

    Buying or importing a vehicle in China involves following specific procedures and providing the necessary paperwork. As a foreign national, it’s essential to have a Chinese Driver’s License and understand the local regulations. Contacting the relevant government departments can help with any queries or issues during the process. Selling a car in China also involves specific paperwork, and being honest and transparent can ensure a smooth transaction.


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