China Vehicle Registration Process


The Process Of Registering A Car In China

Bringing your car from one country to another has its own logistical challenges, one of which is registering the car. There are a host of transport companies available to guide the daring and patient shippers with the applications, permits and customs processes.

It’s handy to have a company that knows the system in and out. But it’s also wise to understand some of the tenements of shipping your car into China. Here are some of the basics of registering your car in China.

One of the first things to understand is that owning a private vehicle is a privilege in this country. So much so that in Shanghai, license plates are auctioned off to the highest bidder for thousands of dollars. In Beijing, license plates are given out via a lottery system each month.



The processes are different in each city but generally a winning bid or lucky lottery winner will have a set amount of time to return to the city’s Vehicle Administration Office to receive their registration.

Shipping a vehicle to China? Read our page about shipping to the area to learn about expected costs, the required documents, and what to expect once you arrive.

Requirements To Drive A Car

  • Only legal residents can import cars. Meaning people on business visas and tourist visas can’t bring their cars with them. Only expatriates on Z visas are can start the process.
  • Even then, the person can import one new car per person. That’s provided the vehicle is approved by the customs office.

A-1 Auto Transport, Inc. ships vehicles worldwide. Click here or call 1-800-452-2880 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote to ship your car.

Passing The Chinese Driving Test

Before taking the test, several hurdles have to be met including meeting medical tests, registering with the police residence registration and obtaining a permanent resident card.

After meeting the minimum requirements, potential license holders are given a test of 100 questions. Only a score of 90 will earn you a license and questions vary from rules of the road to what penalties will be mete for minor collisions.

Car Import Requirements

China is trying to wean residents off foreign imports onto domestic goods. In 2016, the government saw a 10 percent increase on the import tax for vehicles priced above $190,000, adding another hurdle for potential importers. That tax aside, there’s a host of requirements of the vehicle itself.

Classic car owners will cringe because imported vehicles need to be less than a year old. That’s likely due to the higher emissions from previous vehicles and China’s goals of curbing its pollution problem.

Drivers with the steering wheel on the right-hand side will have trouble. The government generally allows only left-hand drive vehicles into the country.

Chinese Vehicle Registration Resources

Driving In China – A website that guides expats with some of the more complicated items of living abroad, including what it’s like to drive in China and more information about getting a license.

Licenses, Laws, & Limits – A thorough explanation of the rules and regulations of driving in China, including getting a license, and understanding the local roadway system.

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