Vietnam Motorcycle Bluecard. What is it?

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Vietnam Motorcycle Bluecard. What is it?

Vietnam Motorcycle Bluecard. What is it?

      In Vietnam, a bluecard is the ownership papers of a motorcycle. The bluecard verifies the information of a motorcycle like its chassis number and relevant model and color information. As well, it has the information of the owner on the paper to legitimize that the person driving the motorcycle is also the owner. If you plan to buy or sell a motorbike in Vietnam, you will require the bluecard, fake or real, to do so. The bluecard, however, is not vital to traveling around Vietnam on a motorbike, and if you are renting a motorcycle from Tigit, we don’t provide you with one. If you plan to take your rental motorcycle across the border into Laos or Cambodia, you will however require the bluecard, and we will provide you with one for these trips. For these cross-border adventures, Tigit would instead charge the deposit for your motorcycle opposed to the standard reauthorization hold. The overall use, misuse, and abuse of blue cards in Vietnam is a bit complex are so we will explain them in detail below.

Motorcycle bluecard. It’s worth 50% of a motorcycles value.

      There are different price categories when it comes to Vietnam motorbikes for sale, each of these categories carries with it a different level of importance for the value and legitimacy of your motorcycles bluecard. When you are buying a motorcycle in Vietnam, a seller will usually downplay the overall significance of your bluecard. Naturally, they want to sell you a motorbike, and to do so they might not be giving you a full explanation of a bluecards importance. The truth about a bluecard is that it is and is also not that important, it depends on the motorcycle and its value.

    The importance of accuracy on the paperwork of your bluecard is defined by the motorbikes value. As the value of the motorbike goes up, the accuracy of the paperwork needs to be closer to “real.” We have a full guide to the potential prices of a motorcycle in Vietnam.  

  • $500 and under motorcycles. Motorcycles being bought and sold in the $500 and under category, like buying a Minsk in Vietnam, can usually get by with any kind of bluecard. Real, fake, modified, it doesn’t really matter. The bluecards and motorcycle identification numbers in this category often have mismatching engine and frame numbers. As well the bluecard itself could be as bad as a photocopied paper that is being held together with a glued plastic cover. For these bikes, the bluecard is not very important & is typically only used by experienced sellers as a negotiation tool.
  • $1000 – $2000 motorbikes. As the motorbikes value increases so does the bluecards importance. For $1000 – $2000 motorbikes the bluecard needs to be real, and the engine and frame numbers will need to match the information on the blue card. The actual name on the bluecard can still be overlooked by police and parking lot attendants, as long as the numbers match, the police and the parking lots will probably just want your money and let you get on your way.
  • $2000+ motorcycles. For motorcycles in the $2000+ category, you are going to need to have all of the paperwork correct. The bluecard will need to be real, with matching numbers to correspond with all numbers on the motorcycle, as well as the name on the papers matching the name of the driver.


     Most drivers in Vietnam will be driving around on motorcycles worth less than $500, with likely no correct paperwork at all. The people, police and parking lot attendants are used to this and life goes on without much concern about the documents. When the price goes up so does the liability of everyone who comes into contact with them, and so the documents will be more scrutinized. When buying a motorcycle in Vietnam the process of transferring and registering the bike in a foreigners name is both complicated and expensive. To save yourself any future headaches, you’ll find it extremely important to go through and get all your documents in order. Naturally having all of your documents in order for any value of motorcycle is best, but in Vietnam it’s not always necessary.


Parking system in Vietnam

Risk Assessment For Others. Why parking lots and police care about your bluecard.

      The need to carry a bluecard in Vietnam is usually more about others and less about you. The main two groups that would be continually checking your bluecard in Vietnam are the police and parking lot security. Hopefully, you only need to deal with the latter!

  • Parking lots. If parking lot security check in a motorbike to there secure parking facility they have an obligation to ensure it leaves with the person who rode it in. If you lose your parking lot ticket and you try to leave the lot with the bike, they are going to check your motorcycle documents to see if the bike is yours. If the documents don’t match up, they are obliged not to let you leave. This points back to the value of the bike and its bluecard importance, but in reality, they should only let bikes leave with the proper owner. If your bike were stolen from a secure parking lot on a day trip, I wouldn’t rely too heavily on actually making a claim.
  • Lose your parking ticket? If you lose your parking ticket here’s what you can do. Crying and begging with the use of a bluecard copy will be enough for the security to feel sympathy. A mistake foreigners often make is to be aggressive. The security has policy to follow and if he releases the incorrect bike he will lose his job. So be understanding of their situation, if they do decide to release with a copy, they are taking a job risk by breaking policy. If the security fails to release the bike with a copy, Tigit will capture the held deposit and send the bluecard to your location by quick post. This can cost around $10.
  • Police checks. When dealing with the police as a foreigner, it isn’t likely that you are ever going to have your motorcycle confiscated. If it were to be seized, then the value of the motorcycle, as well as the size of the incident would influence their decision to give it back. As long as your paperwork matches up, then the police are obliged to give your motorcycle back, eventually. If the police find any errors on your documents, then it’s likely you’ll need to hand over a little “coffee money” to get things moving along right away.


Police confiscating bikes


      The police in Vietnam are only likely to confiscate your motorbike in serious situations. If you are found to be driving dangerously or are involved in a severe crash where someone ended up in a hospital, your motorbike would be confiscated. In the event of an accident, the motorcycle is used as a deposit against the treatment of the crash victim. Once both sides have settled on fault and payment, the police will release the motorcycles of both parties.

     If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of a severe crash on one of your trips in Vietnam and have rented your motorcycle from Tigit, know that we will eventually get the motorcycle back. All related fees will need to be paid and will be passed onto the renter accordingly via their deposit. However, we will retrieve the motorcycle and do what we can to get as much of your deposit back to you.


Fake paper services on facebook

Fake Bluecards, Why They Exist

  • Stolen Motorcycles. When a motorcycle is stolen in Vietnam, it is likely they stole it without the bluecard. To resell the bike a fake bluecard is created, and it can be sold to unsuspecting buyers. If you are caught with a stolen motorcycle that has any value to it, the police will confiscate the bike. Probably not a problem for your dilapidated Honda Win.
  • Illegally imported motorcycles. Imported manual motorbikes are considered luxury goods in Vietnam and come with significant import taxes. There are ways to get a bike into the country unofficially, but that means they can not be registered. Motorbikes without a bluecard are only worth half the legitimate value. A fake bluecard will raise the value of the motorcycle back to what it would be, had it been imported properly.
  • Outdated motorcycles. A motorcycle that has been resold many times and has had its original papers lost along the way will still need a bluecard to be sold again. A fake bluecard is invented for the motorcycle, and like magic, it can be resold.
  • Project and customized motorcycles. Someone who is building a project motorcycle may have combined the engine of one motorcycle with the chassis of another. This situation, or various other modifications where the original sets of numbers on the frame and engine no longer match the paperwork would make it a problem to ride the bike legally. Instead, the owner just makes up a fake bluecard, and voila the bike is street legal!

 Facebook, for just a few hundred thousand Vietnamese Dong you can buy a fake bluecard!

    On the paperwork of a legitimate motorbike, you will find that the VIN and chassis number not only match the bluecard, but they also match the police database where vehicle information is stored. With all of this information stenciled into the motorcycle, written on the bluecard, and stored with the police, you would think it would be hard to make fake documents. Unfortunately, it is quite the opposite and for a few hundred thousand Vietnamese Doing in Ho Chi Minh City you can buy a fake bluecard. The bluecard can be forged very easily and would require a well-trained eye to notice the fake. The VIN and engine numbers can be removed and replaced with new ones by using some simple tools. As well, the police record database is not public, and there is no official service to check the database to see if the motorcycle has any kind of record. The reality is, it is nearly impossible to know if a motorcycle is legitimate or not.

Fake Vin number on a Suzuki GN engine

Vietnam Local Second Hand Motorbike Market.

      This market is over complicated and incredibly dishonest. As a foreigner, you’ll find it nearly impossible, and you should probably avoid it altogether if you don’t fully understand how to buy a motorcycle in Vietnam. Motorcycles for sale in this market are often advertised with different terminology such as “MBC or GTHL” bluecard. These terms are used as sales code that will allow the seller an out in the event a buyer comes back to them with bluecard issues. The seller can simply say; “Yes, I clearly advertised the documents as fake. Didn’t you know what MBC meant?”

     Non-Transferable. A non-transferable motorcycle is one that has changed owners many times, and the documents didn’t always change along with the sale. Somewhere along the line, the original owner has been lost, and now it is impossible to get the papers back to a legitimate state. This is quite common on cheap motorcycles on no one usually cares. On a large capacity motorcycle with a high price tag that is being sold be a Vietnamese person, you should hear alarm bells ringing in your head! In this situation you should ask yourself; If this motorbike is worth so much, why was the name never correctly changed on the documents?

       When a large capacity motorcycle is being sold with non-transferable papers, it usually means that the seller is trying to get rid of it quickly at a low price. The typical reason for this is that the motorbike has some kind of fault. The bike probably has the wrong documents, has been illegally imported, has been stolen, or has some major mechanical issues. The bikes get passed on to unsuspecting buyers until they figure out the fault, then they use the same practices to pass the bike onto the next buyer. This creates a vicious circle of people ripping each other off with bad sales tactics.

    The Backpacker Market. At first, the backpack market looks like a nice place to do business. You’re backpacking Vietnam, their backpacking Vietnam, you should understand each other’s needs. The truth is, those outdated, broken, Chinese Wins are being passed around from one backpacker to another, being advertised as “No Breakdowns.” The reality, however, is the bike has a long list of parts that have just been replaced the cheapest way possible. Backpackers are not the most organized of travelers, and these bikes are bought up at bargain prices when the bluecard has been lost. The dealer who buys them can just go and buy a new fake bluecard and resell the motorcycle at average market prices. The effort that needs to go into creating a fake bluecard to sell the motorcycle to the next unsuspecting backpacker is minimal because backpackers do not know what to look for.

       For travelers who plan to be in Vietnam for three months or less, it is more beneficial to rent a motorcycle from a reputable company. A large-scale rental company will need to uphold their reputation and ensure that the motorcycles they are renting are mechanically flawless and have all of their paperwork in order. For the short-term traveler, it makes the most sense to rent a bike that will be without mechanical hassles, problems with the police, and not have you stressing over how you might sell the motorcycles at the end of your trip. Should your motorcycle actually get you safely back to catch your flight that is.

     For expats looking to buy a motorbike for the length of their stay and have the right amount of time to understand the market, you’ll want to buy from a reputable company for all the same reasons. Don’t let yourself be fooled by faulty paperwork because of a low price tag. For expats, it is possible to register your motorcycle in your name. This is very expensive and time-consuming, but it can be done!

Laws in Vietnam are more like guidelines.

    Many laws in Vietnam are more like guidelines than actual laws and can be altered to fit whatever the situation is. When it comes to documents and your motorcycle, these laws can be easily looked over or have a blind eye turned to them. When buying and selling motorcycles, the bikes are worth considerably more when the paperwork is correct opposed to motorbikes who’s ownership papers cannot be changed. A bike with real, fake, or titled as “can not be changed,” create price variations in the buying and selling marketplace that is difficult to comprehend, especially as a foreigner.

  The main point to understand here is how to calculate the ratio of importance in a motorcycles paperwork against its price. The higher the price of a motorcycle, the more critical it is to have full legal paperwork to go along with the motorcycle.

Motorbike insurance paper

Motorbike insurance paper

Yellow Insurance Paper. What is it?

          When buying a motorbike new in Vietnam, a yellow piece of paper is provided with the motorbike. This yellow piece of paper is supposedly used to cover potential damages to the motorbike. This is required by law, but in real life, it is a pointless piece of paper with no more value than the paper itself.

          Tigit keeps these pointless pieces of yellow paper in storage should the need for them ever arise. We do not provide them with the motorbike and believe that travelers have no benefit in carrying these papers with them.

  There is a lot to know in the buying and selling of motorcycles in Vietnam. For a traveler who plans to be in the country for a short time, you are better off to focus your efforts on enjoying your holiday from Hanoi to Saigon or wherever you plan to go. Then you are to learn the ins and outs of bluecards and motorcycle values. At Tigit we focus our efforts on a fleet of motorcycles with legal documents, that have also been well maintained. This allows the traveler to enjoy a Vietnam motorcycle trip how he or she sees fit, and you can simply drop the motorcycle back off to us when you are done. Get to know the beauty of Vietnam and leave the motorcycle market up to us.

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  1. Pierre says:


    What do you think about this?

    Should I have the alarm bells go off as you say?

  2. Nicolas says:

    Thank you for this very relevant informations.
    I would like to have your opinion about a 50cc scooter imported from Japan (NOPP). I live in Saigon for 1 year and dont have license A. On facebook there is a lot of announcement of Honda Crea or Scoopy 50cc made in japan, but without any papers for less than 20tr.
    In your opinion what risk can there be to drive these motorbike (CSGT …). I understood that I could not have any blue card so Is there a possibility of minimizing the risks and how?
    Find a 50cc is really difficult. Lot of Chinese products, ugly Sym or fake Taya honda…
    Thanks so much

    • Tony says:

      You mean, the police make trouble only if you drive crazily ?

    • Tony says:

      Thanks for the answer It’s pretty interesting.
      Without any proof of ownership, wouldn’t it be more interesting for them to confiscate the bike and sell it again?

  3. Pete says:

    I contacted another expat-run used motorbike shop (I’ll just call it SG) about the blue card since the shop touted to provide legitimate ones. However, during my conversation with SG, it said that my name actually will not be listed on the blue card, and SG even went on to say that it is impossible for expats to get their name on the blue card (instead, it would be registered to the bike shop or the expat’s company). This seems contradictory to what you are saying – I’m curious if I’m missing some nuance.

    Just as background, I am working and residing in Vietnam legally with a work permit and TRC. If having these papers won’t let me buy a motorbike to my name, that is quite frustrating. If I buy a Honda Blade from Tigit, will you issue a legitimate blue card under my name?

    Thanks also for the great content! I’m new to motorbikes and your site has been immensely helpful.

    • Jon - TigitMotorbikes says:

      nstead, it would be registered to the bike shop or the expat’s company).

      It is true that it is basically impossible for foreigners to have blue cards in their name. There is such a thing called a “NN” number plate, but it is so difficult to get, that basically it doesn’t exist.
      This situation of having blue cards in random names is perfectly normal and accepted by police.

      If having these papers won’t let me buy a motorbike to my name, that is quite frustrating.

      If you really want to be by the book, you need to look into the NN plate. You will only get this buying new though.
      On a bike worth sub $1000, you are wasting your time. If buying a $10,000 + bike, then it may be worth the process.

      buy a Honda Blade from Tigit, will you issue a legitimate blue card under my name?

      We can transfer to a Vietnamese name, not a foreigners. However, on sub $1000 bikes where profit margins are small, it is not worth our time playing with paperwork. So we do not transfer names at all.
      The article is trying to explain that the value of the motorbike directly impacts how “by the book” the transfer process needs to be.
      Fake blue cards — > Blue cards under random names — > Blue cards under a Vietnamese friends name — > NN plates.
      This “scale of legitimacy”, is understood by the police and they adapt their own internal rules as to the value of the bike.

    • Pete says:

      Very helpful – thank you!

  4. More Tips says:

    Hiya, I am really glad I have found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossips and internet and this is actually irritating. A good site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thank you for keeping this web site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

  5. John Grey says:

    Purchased a motorbike with blue card, turns out its fake.
    Anyway to get the bike registered ligitamently?

  6. JP says:


    What do you know of the laws of the road for bikes 175cc and up?? I’ve been told two stories..I can drive in the car lane with my 250cc and I cannot.. A driving instructor (who would know the rules better than the police) told me with my A2 motorcycle licence… I can ride my 250 in whichever lane I choose…but my 125 scooter must be driven in the bike lane.. I stopped for police once and the young man tried to tell me I could not ride my 250 in the car lane…and threatened to take my bike and me to the station…then a few minutes later asked me if i could join him for coffee…Did not take the bike..So now i want to get a copy of the regulations to carry with me…Oh.. BTW ..I was not asked for ownership or insurance papers…I only volunteered to show them my VN licence.

    • Jon - TigitMotorbikes says:

      I can drive in the car lane with my 250cc

      You can not drive in the car lane. Whoever told you this is talking rubbish.

      if i could join him for coffee

      Against what the internet and facebook groups would have you believe. The police are not out there to stop foreigners. They will stop nervous looking backpackers for easy coffee money etc. As soon as you display some sense of confidence the tune is likely to change to being friendly. 99% of the time they will let you go for free, and very occasionally take a small bribe. The police are the foreigners friend out there!

      So now i want to get a copy of the regulations to carry with me

      The closest list we have is here:

      However, I would go down the lines of saying “there are none, this is Vietnam”

  7. Mint says:

    Thanks for your positive feedback, we will always try our best to delivery more useful information to you.