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Guide of RTO Rules for Imported Vehicles


Written by Sharad Bajaj

Updated Oct 14, 2023

Guide of RTO Rules for Imported Vehicles

Many people now are so fascinated with the idea of owning foreign cars that they have started importing vehicles from abroad. From celebrities to businessmen, many Indians now prefer owning a foreign car for various reasons. But, do you know that if you are importing a vehicle to India, then there are certain rules and regulations that you need to follow? Yes, you have got us right, there are different guidelines issued by the Regional Transport Office or RTO for importing vehicles. So, let’s have a look at these guidelines.

Guidelines For Importing Vehicles

Importing vehicles as we all know is a kind of foreign trading and that is the reason why there are certain rules and regulations for the same as dictated by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The rules differ when you import a new and used vehicle. 

For Used Vehicle

Anyone importing a used vehicle must ensure that the following rules are followed:

  • The imported vehicle must not be more than 3 years old.
  • It must comply with the rules and regulations outlined in the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988.
  • In the case of an imported used car, it should be a right-hand drive.
  • The vehicle's speedometer must indicate distance in km and not miles.
  • A certificate issued by a testing agency must be submitted stating that the vehicle is being imported into India and a roadworthy certificate of 5 years must also be submitted.
  • The vehicle must be sold or leased and must be registered as well. 

For New Vehicle

When you are importing a new vehicle to India, make sure to follow the below-mentioned rules:

  • The car must be manufactured outside India.
  • The car must be imported from only the country where it was manufactured or built.
  • It should not have been sold or leased to anyone prior to its importation into India.
  • The driving seat should be on the right side and all the rules mentioned in the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988 must be followed.
  • One can import a car only from the naval docks located in Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata. So, a car must be imported from India only from these ports.
  • It should have a valid certificate of compliance in accordance with the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR), 1989.

Import Duty

Along with following the above-mentioned rules, individuals importing vehicles are also liable to pay import duty. The import duty varies depending on the vehicle type and for a second-hand vehicle, it depends on the depreciated value. 

Registration Procedure

In addition to everything else, it is also important to get the imported vehicle registered at the nearest RTO or Regional Transport Office. A temporary and permanent registration needs to be done. Initially, a temporary registration is issued for 7 days so that the vehicle can be brought from the port city to the owner’s residence. Later a permanent registration is also issued by the RTO so that you can legally drive the imported vehicle in India. 

Who Is Eligible For Bringing Imported Vehicle To India?

Listed below are set of profiles that stand eligible to bring imported vehicles to India:

  • Vehicles that have been left in the possession of heirs or relatives of deceased individuals who died abroad.
  • NRIs who have not resided in India for a minimum of 2 years before the import.
  • Physically challenged people are also eligible for bringing imported vehicles to India.
  • Businesses that have a branch office in India and are foreign-owned.
  • Journalists who have a certificate from the Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India.
  • MNCs that have their branches in India.


So, in order to legally drive imported vehicles on Indian roads, make sure to follow all the above-mentioned rules and regulations. Also, after ensuring the said formalities are completed, then do remember to insure the imported vehicle. To get the best car insurance plans for imported vehicles, you can also contact us at InsuranceDekho and purchase the best car insurance plan for your vehicle.

Also Read: 

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Written by Sharad Bajaj

Sharad is an insurance industry veteran who has managed motor insurance products for over a decade. Read More


This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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