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After securing your driving licence in Hong Kong, the next step may well be owning a car. But before you make any decision, you should find out the relevant procedures and requirements. Here we will provide you with information on vehicle registration and licensing, insurance requirements, vehicle examination and some driving tips.

Vehicle Registration and Licensing

A local registered motor distributor usually applies for first registration and licensing of a new vehicle from the Transport Department on behalf of its client. Upon successful registration, a new vehicle will be assigned with a registration mark.

Besides, after first registration, a vehicle licence will be issued to the registered owner. The licence is required to be displayed on the left side of the vehicle windscreen. If a vehicle is not equipped with a fixed windscreen, or in the case of motorcycle, the licence must be displayed in a noticeable position on the left side of vehicle. The owner is required to renew his/her vehicle licence either once a year or once every 4 months.

For the first registration of a new vehicle, a First Registration Tax will be charged. In general, the taxable value is calculated on the basis of the published retail price or provisional taxable value assessed by the Customs and Excise Department. To encourage the use of environment-friendly petrol private cars and commercial vehicles with low emissions, concession of the First Registration Tax will be offered to first registered owner of environment-friendly vehicles meeting the requirements of the concerned tax incentive schemes.

Importation and Registration of Vehicle on Your Own

If you want to import a vehicle for use on the roads of Hong Kong, it shall be registered and licenced. Endorsement from relevant Government departments is needed to comply with the requirements on environmental protection, vehicle examination, etc for first registration of a motor vehicle. Check out the details for car importation and registration of motor vehicles in the following link.

More Choices on Vehicle Registration Marks

A vehicle will be randomly assigned with an ordinary vehicle registration mark after successful registration by the Government. However, this kind of registration mark may not satisfy those vehicle owners who want to have a vehicle registration mark that looks special.

Vehicle owners can obtain their own favourite vehicle registration marks by participating in auctions of traditional vehicle registration marks. You can simply reserve your favourite traditional vehicle registration marks and attend auctions organised by the Transport Department from time to time to bid for the marks you like.

To provide more choices of vehicle registration marks to vehicle owners, the Government introduced a Personalized Vehicle Registration Marks Scheme in 2006. Under the scheme, you can propose your own mark and apply to the Transport Department. Upon approval, you can bid for the personalized registration mark via a bidding exercise.

It is easy to search online for the availability of traditional vehicle registration marks and reserve them for auction. You can also check, with just a few mouse clicks, whether a particular personalized registration mark fulfills the basic combination requirements and make an online application during the application period.

Insurance requirements

Licensing of vehicles used on roads in Hong Kong also requires a valid third party risk insurance. Check below for a list of insurance companies that provide motor insurance from the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers.

Vehicle Examination and Licence Renewal

All motor vehicles shall pass the vehicle examination prior to registration. Only type approved new private cars and motorcycles are exempted from mechanical examination prior to first registration. However, when private cars reach the age of six, they are required to undergo annual vehicle examinations at the Designated Car Testing Centres prior to re-licensing.

Other types of vehicles such as goods vehicles and special purpose vehicles, van-type light good vehicles, public buses and private buses, they are subject to annual mechanical examination after registration. Owners of these types of vehicles can make an appointment online for vehicle examination at the government vehicle examination centres.

You can submit your application for renewal of vehicle licence by post, through Internet or coming to the licensing office in person or by agent within 4 months before the expiry of your vehicle licence. The vehicle licence fee varies depending on the type of vehicle and its cylinder capacity. Late renewal is subject to an additional charge which is 0.33% of the licence fee for each day overdue.

Driving Tips for Drivers

Driving will be more enjoyable if you pay attention to road safety, and get yourself prepared before driving on the road. Below are a number of tips on safe driving.

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Last review date: August 2013

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