So to start off, what is Certificate of Entitlement actually? It is simply a certificate, legal document which represents a right to vehicle ownership and use of the limited road space for 10 years. So basically everyone who wishes to buy a car, motorcycle or other kind of land vehicle has to bid for a Certificate of Entitlement (COE). All motor vehicles must be registered with the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
The government of Singapore has implemented a lot of measures to manage car ownership and usage, including COE. Each month a certain amount of COE’s are released and they are valid through a 10 year span starting from the date of registration of the certain vehicle. Once the period of validation expires, the vehicle owner is free to decide whether to unregister their vehicle or validate their COEs for another 5 or 10-year period.
Bidding for the COE is done through the COE Open Bidding System. The information provided by the system is real-time and allows you to submit your bid for a COE permit.
So what you need to do if you are intending to apply for a COE is that you firstly have to check the date for applying as there are 2 COE Open Bidding exercise each month, and typically run like this:
- Starting on the first Monday and third Monday of the month at 12 pm and,
- Ending 2 days later on Wednesday at 4pm
(In case of a public holiday occurring within the three-day bidding exercise, the bidding period is to be extended).
You can make only one bid per bidding exercise unless you are representing a company or an organization.
Depending on the category you are applying (biding) for, the price varies. COE bid deposit for Categories A, B, C and E is S$ 10,000. COE bid deposit for Category D is S$200. The minimum reserve price is S$1. If your bid gets refused the amount of money you were bidding will be returned in total.
A successful bidder will need to pay the lowest successful bid price, also known as the quota premium (QP). Company cars pay double the quota premium. The vehicle must be registered within 6 months for non-transferable categories and within 3 months for transferable categories.
The travel rules are often very strict and binding, that’s also the case with Singapore’s rules since all motor vehicles which have been imported into Singapore are to pay a customs duty of 41 percent ad valorem. Of course there is a registration fee to be paid ($1,000 for private vehicles and $5,000 for company vehicles) and also an additional registration fee (ARF).
There is a reason why the price of the COE is so expensive and compared to other countries remarkably inflated, that is because the government has set on a goal to make the public transportation a more frequently used way to travel. Nevertheless the laws are those and one must obey them to get a legal permit. All in all, drive safely.