To the Editor
I have a European Category A (unrestricted motorbike) licence. To drive a large motorbike in Viet Nam, I have in the past held a Vietnamese driving licence and been a fully participating member of the District 10 Motorbike Club. It was never possible for a foreigner to own a large motorbike. However, today I see large motorbikes with NN number plates, suggesting that foreigners may own large motorbikes. Is this so, and have I the right to import mine into Viet Nam for my personal use without becoming liable to the ultra high import taxes that one frequently hears of being discussed amongst foreigners?
With best regards
Peter Emmerton, HCM City
I've checked your case with staff at Viet Nam Customs and got the following answers:
– Pursuant to Governmental Decree 12/2006/ND-CP, issued on January 23, 2006, detailing the implementation of the Commercial Law concerning international trading activities and activities in franchise, purchase, sale, export-processing and transit of goods with foreign partners and the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Circular 06/2007/TT-BTM, issued on May 30, 2007, guiding the import of motorbikes of a cylinder capacity of 175cm3 or higher, all used high-cylinder capacity motorbikes are banned from import for personal use or business.
Those who enjoy diplomatic immunity, foreign experts working on ODA projects in Viet Nam and Vietnamese who reside abroad and come back for work under invitation are allowed to import a used high-cylinder capacity motorbike for re-export purposes only under Government decree.
– Staff at Viet Nam Customs said that working for embassies, consulates or NGOs would make you more preferential. In such cases, you can import your vehicles, both new and used, without tax.
– An ordinary person can only import a brand new bike at import taxes from 79 to 80 per cent (depending on the vehicle capacity), VAT of 10 per cent and excluding special consumption taxes. The procedure is relatively uncomplicated. All you need is an automatic import license granted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade before applying to customs.
You will be allowed a NN number plate after having imported your bike into the country.
Based on our contact with Duong Tu Luc, head of the driving license issuing section at the HCM City Department of Transport, according to Decision 258/2010/QD-TTg, issued in January last year, you can obtain a driving license for a high capacity motorbike dependent on the following requirements:
– Ownership of your motorbike
– Your national driving license for high capacity motorbikes
– Membership of the Viet Nam Cycling Federation. To find out more please phone (04) 38230574, or fax (04) 37331198. Luc noted that all other memberships outside that of the central government office is not valid.
I hope this information will be of value to you. Please feel free to contact us should you have any further questions.