RTO Rules And Regulations Guide for Imported Vehicles


Even dreaming about owning an imported vehicle seems like an expensive affair. If you happen to be someone who can afford this luxury, then first of all congratulations. Secondly, you need to know the details regarding the legal angle associated with it. Whether you are importing a zooming bike or a four-wheeled beast, read ahead to know RTO rules and regulations for imported vehicles.

Basic Rules & Regulations

There are several rules and regulations involved in importing a vehicle in India. Primarily, imported vehicles are a part of foreign trade. Thus, organizations such as Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Export Import Policy Department, and acts such as The Motor Vehicles Act (1988) and Central Motor Vehicle Rules (1989) are involved in the process.

Listed below are some of the basic requirements that are associated with cars and bikes that are being imported from different countries to India.

  1. The new vehicle shouldn’t be manufactured in India and shouldn’t be registered in any other country before being imported.
  2. The vehicle’s speedometer must comply with Indian measuring units.
  3. India follows a right-hand drive rule. Thus, the imported vehicle must comply with this basic rule.
  4. Requirements of The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 must be met meticulously.
  5. The imported vehicle must meet the Homologation requirements and receive a Road Worthiness Certificate from the relevant authorities.
  6. There might be exceptions to the rules under certain cases.

Import Duty

Luxury cars and bikes attract a huge amount of money as import duty. The import duty is charged as per the category and sub category of the vehicle. This categorization is done on the basis of the type of vehicle and their engine’s cubic capacity. The amount is a percentage of the CIF value i.e. Cost + Freight + Insurance value.

Import duty can range between 100 to 160 percent of the CIF value. The import duty of a four wheeler is more than that of a two wheeler. If it is a second-hand vehicle, then the import duty shall be charged based on the depreciated value.

Compliance Testing

Once your vehicle is imported, it needs to undergo a compliance test. This test is conducted in accordance with the EXIM policy, The Motor Vehicles Act (1988) and Central Motor Vehicle Rules (1989).

The imported vehicle can be tested at authorized centers. Ministry of Defence’s Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (Ahmednagar, Maharashtra), Automotive Research Association of India (Pune, Maharashtra), and Central Farm and Machinery Training and Testing Institute (Budni, Madhya Pradesh) conduct the compliance test.

Registering The Imported Vehicle

Regional Transport Offices (RTO) are the go to organizations in India when it comes to registration of vehicles. The imported vehicle needs to be registered at the nearest RTO office. There are two types of registrations to be done at the RTO office, Temporary Registration and Permanent Registration. Temporary registration is needed to transport the vehicle from the port to the owner’s residence or the testing center. It is issued for seven days. The owner is required to apply for Permanent Registration after those seven days. This RTO application can be initiated by downloading the RTO online form from their website.

Ride Along

It is common knowledge that an imported vehicle costs a lot. However, after reading this article, it will be safe to say that the entire documentation and registration process of an imported vehicle is also on the higher side. Thus, one should make an informed choice when it comes to importing a vehicle.

Also, certain vehicles need a particular type of fuel for optimal performance, keep that in mind. Once you have successfully imported your vehicle, do not forget to insure your vehicle and most importantly, drive safe.