Japan Used Automobile Import Duty / Regulation in India

Year Restrictions

Max. 3 Years Old

Destination Port

Chennai, Mumbai, and Kolkata

Time of Shipment

RoRo (19-24 Days)

Vessel Schedule

RoRo (Monthly)

Shipping Line

Naval Docks



Shipping Ports:

Cars/vehicles can only be imported via naval docks that are situated in Chennai, Mumbai, and Kolkata. So, before your car gets deliver at your doorsteps, it will be imported at these ports only. The most recommended shipping port in the country is Mumbai Port. The government has decided to allow the entry of second hand vehicles into the country only through the Mumbai port.

Age Restriction:

Japanese used vehicle imported in India should not be more than 3 years old and conform to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, (1989). Imported automobiles should have a minimum residual life of five years and the importer should ensure supply of auto parts and service during this period.

Left-Hand Drive Vehicles:

Importation of left-hand drive vehicles are not allowed in the country. The vehicles should necessarily have right-hand steering controls. However It is possible to get a left-hand drive vehicle (LHD) imported to India but mostly a vehicle manufacturer has the permission to do so. The car should be used only for testing and research purposes.


The government’s Motor Vehicles Act (1988) enforces that all new and used cars must have a certificate of fitness in order to be registered. The certificate is awarded after a car has undergone certain tests for “roadworthiness” – the extent to which a vehicle meets the standard requirements for safe driving on open roads. It is important that the vehicle is roadworthy. Thus, it should have a roadworthiness certificate and its validity should be at least five years. In India the Export Import Policy (EXIM) 2001, allows import of used cars as well as pre owned in India. The import rules state that the import of passenger cars, jeep, multi-utility vehicles, motorcycles etc. are restricted items to import and can be imported only after obtaining an import license.

Rules and Regulations to Import Used Cars:

  1. The commerce ministry has identified six categories of second-hand vehicles having cylinder capacity of up to 3000 cc, which will now be allowed to be brought in through the Mumbai port.
  2. A speedometer indicating the speed in kilometers and photometry of the head-lamps to suit keep-left traffic.
  3. The importing agency is expected, at the time of importation, to submit a certificate issued by a testing agency notified by the central government that the second-hand vehicle being imported has been tested successfully before shipment and confirms all the regulations of used vehicles specified in Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
  4. You can submit the imported vehicle for testing at any of the following agencies: a). Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (VRDE), Ministry of Defence, Ahmednagar b). Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), Pune c). Central Farm and Machinery Training and Testing Institute, (CFMTT) Budni, Madhya Pradesh
  5. It is necessary for the imported vehicle to be tested in order to check its compliance with the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, Exim Policy, 2001, and Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
  6. The importer is also required to submit a certificate issued by a testing agency notified by the government that the used vehicle being imported conforms to the original homologation certificate issued at the time of manufacture. Homologation of vehicles is a process through which an authority certifies that a vehicle is fit for use. Also, that it satisfies all the criteria set down for use.
  7. The vehicle should be either loaned, leased, registered, or sold.

Depreciation allowed is as under:

Every quarter 1st year of use 4 Percent Every quarter IInd year of use 3 Percent Every quarter IIIrd year of use 2 1/2 Percent Every quarter IVth year and thereafter 2 Percent.

Banned Vehicles:

Banned vehicles cannot be imported to India. A person needs to make sure that the vehicle being imported does not have the following specifications:

  • The policy fully bans the import of cars whose engine capacity ranges from 1000 to 2500cc. motorcycle engine capacity should be their engine
  • capacity should be over 250 cc but not in excess of 800 cc.
  • Heavy-duty 2-wheelers or bikes that have an engine capacity ranging from 50cc to 500cc.
  • Scooters that have an engine capacity ranging from 250cc to 800cc.

Procedure For Import Of Foreign Car:

There are 2 ways in which you can get the car imported to India. The car can be imported either directly from the manufacturer or through an agent. You need to arrange the asked documents and follow up on the process by yourself. On the other hand, an agent will help you get the car imported to India and help you till you get the car registered in the country.

Paperwork and Documentation:

The following paperwork will be required for importing a vehicle to India.

  • Invoice of the vehicle
  • Insurance policy
  • GATT Declaration
  • Bank Draft
  • Bill of Lading or Sea Waybill
  • Import License
  • Purchase Order/Letter of Credit
  • Test report
  • DEEC (Duty Exemption Entitlement Certificate) / DEPB (Duty Entitlement Pass Book) / ECGC (Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India) or other documents as required.

Things To Consider Before Importing A Car Into India:

It is a time-consuming process to import a vehicle in India, thus it is important to consider certain things before you begin the process. Here is a list of things you should be aware of before importing a vehicle to India:
You may need to pay approximately 165% of the car’s cost, car insurance, and freight (CIF) value as import duty.
You may need to pay approximately 116 percente of the bike’s cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value as import duty.
The vehicle needs to be registered in India at the nearest RTO office. The charges for registration and road tax of the vehicle are not included in the import duty. These charges depend upon the type and cost of the vehicle.
Basic Custom Duty 40 Percent Special Custom duty 5 Percent Additional duty 40 Percent M.V. Cess 0.125 Percent Special Additional duty of Customs 4 Percent.

Transfer Of Residence:

India allows foreign nationals or Non-resident Indians (NRIs) to import 1 vehicle while shifting permanently to India. The vehicle can be a car or two-wheeler, a new or used vehicle. Here are the other conditions for the import of a car/bike under “transfer of residence”:
  • The NRI/foreign national should not have stayed in India for at least 2 years before the transfer.
  • The person should have a plan of living in India for at least 1 year after the transfer.
  • The person should not have gone through the process of “transfer of residence” for at least 3 years before the current transfer process.
  • This process can be carried out by only 1 member of the family. He/she needs to fill the Transfer of Residence Form for the purpose.
  • If the engine capacity of the car, which is being imported is more than 1,600cc, then it is required to be registered for at least 1 year before the import.
  • The car/bike should be imported within 6 months of shifting base to India.
  • The imported vehicle’s sale is prohibited for at least 2 years after the transfer. Thus, the person should wait for 2 years in order to sell the vehicle.
  • No restriction of being new or used if the engine capacity of the vehicle is between 75cc and 500cc.

Who Can Import Commercial Vehicles To India?

Commercial vehicles need to fulfill additional criteria to be imported to India. The rules are strict for commercial vehicles because passengers may travel via imported passenger cars, multi-utility vehicles (MUV), or jeeps. Here are the set of profiles that can import such vehicles into the country:


  • The foreign national/NRI who has not resided in India for at least two years before the import. He/she should own a vehicle for at least 1 year.
  • Relative that is legal heirs/successors of a person who died abroad and has left a vehicle in their possession.
  • Physically challenged people
  • Business entities existing in India that have foreign equity participation.
  • Foreign business entities that have a branch office in India.
  • Legally registered religious, missionary, or charitable trusts in India and follow the said rules laid down by the State or Central Government.
  • Any Honorary Consuls that is recommended by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
  • Any journalist possessing the accreditation certificate from the Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India.

Other Information:

The overall cost for importing a car to India will amount to 150% to 200% more than the cost of the car.
Yes, car engines can be imported to India. It is easier to get a new engine imported as compared to a used one. Also, certain criteria including that the engine should be between a specific range should be fulfilled, else heavy penalties are imposed on the buyer.
NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) who have not resided in India for at least two years can import a car into the country. Depending upon the car being new or old, they may need to own it for at least one year before the import.
Cars manufactured after January 1, 1950, can be imported as vintage cars to India. The process of importing these cars is similar to importing a recently-manufactured vehicle. However, remember that the import is allowed only for actual users.
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