Bluecard and its value to a bike

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Bluecard and its value to a bike

In the process of buying a bike, a foreigner will usually overlook the legitimacy of the motorbike papers (bluecard), usually because they have no idea about how complicated it could be, or they were told by dishonest sellers that it doesn’t matter much. The truth is, it does and it doesn’t, depends on the value of the bike. 


The importance of the paperwork 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”.

A sub $500 motorbike and a bluecard of any kind is usually enough. This can be a card with mix match engine and frame numbers, or a card photocopied and shoved together with glue. No one cares basically, and it is only really used as a negotiation weapon by experienced dealers.

Hit the $1000-2000 range and the bluecard needs to be real and have matching engine and frame numbers. The name on the bluecard can still be overlooked and both the police and parking lots are likely to turn a blind eye to this paperwork error.

Hit the $2000+ mark and it starts be a good idea to have everything correct, right down to the name on the papers matching the driver.

The process of transfering/registering a bike into a foreigner’s name is complicated and expensive, hence the $2000+ value mark that makes it worths going through.


There are two main causes for needing a bluecard.

1. Losing a parking ticket – The bluecard is needed as evidence that the motorbike is yours. Security understands that many bluecards have the incorrect names, and this is a risk they choose to take when releasing a motorbike from their secure facility.
As the value of the motorbike goes up, the risk of losses becomes greater so they will be much more careful to do things by the book.

Parking system in Vietnam

2. The police confiscate the motorbike – The police are unlikely to take a motorbike off a foreigner, but when they do, both the size of the incident and motorbikes value can have an influence on the decision to release.
If the motorbike is rightfully yours (all papers are correct) then the police are obligated to release the motorbike eventually. If there are errors on the paperwork then the police have reason to delay a release and cause inconvenience for coffee money.

Police confiscating bikes


Travel customers of Tigit who find themselves in sticky situations from crashes and other incidents that involve the police taking motorbikes can know that Tigit will eventually get the motorbike back. We will charge appropriately for the inconvenience, but eventually, we will get the motorbike back and the deposit mostly saved.

Note: the police will only take motorbikes through seriously dangerous driving or crashes where someone ended up in hospital. The motorbike is used as a deposit for the treatment of victims in a crash. When both parties in a crash are settled and on the same page then the police will release the motorbikes.


  • Stolen bikes. Bikes are usually stolen without a bluecard. With a fake bluecard they can go straight out to the market again for selling. Having a stolen bike is definitely not good and the police will take it if it worth some money.
  • Illegally imported big bikes. Imported manual motorbikes are considered luxury goods in Vietnam so they come with a big import tax. There are ways to get a bike into the country unofficially, but that means they cannot be registered. Motorbikes without a bluecard are only worth half the legit value, so a fake bluecard will raise the value back again.
  • Outdated bikes, that have been through many owners, the original bluecard is lost and cannot be remade.
  • Project bike, customised bike, with replaced chassis frame or engine. Need to match these new Vin numbers to a fake bluecard. Voila, street legal.

Fake bluecards are being sold on Facebook for a few hundred K VND!

Fake paper services on facebook


A legitimate motorbike is one that has a bluecard with matching VIN and chassis number which has a correspondent record in the police database. However, the bluecard can be forged very easily, and the VIN number can also be forged. It needs a trained eye to identify the fake card. The police record database is not public, and there is no official service for checking if a bike has a record in the database. Bottom line, is that it is nearly impossible to know if a motorbike is legit or not.

Fake Vin number on a Suzuki GN engine

Vietnam local 2nd hand motorbike market is over complicated and dishonest, and it is impossible for foreigners to safely shop here. Bikes with fake bluecards are advertised with different terminology such as “MBC, or GTHL” bluecard. This might sound sophisticated and impressive, but it just means fake bluecard. It creates a bailout for the dealer “Yes I advertised it as fake, didn’t you know what MBC meant?”

Non-Transferable is when the motorbike has been resold many times without the ownership name being changed. The original owner is lost in history and it becomes impossible to ever change the name on the papers. This is fine and common for cheap motorbikes, but is an alarm bell for large capacity motorbikes, especially when being sold by Vietnamese.
The question that should be asked is: On a motorbike of such value, why was the name never changed on the ownership papers?

When a large capacity motorbike is being sold with non-transferable papers it usually means it is being circulated at low-end market prices under quick sales. The main explanation for this is when owners are flipping faulty motorbikes to unsuspecting buyers. This obviously creates a dirty circle of people getting rid of a bad purchase.

Backpacker market, it looks relaxed at first, but the truth is those outdated broken Chinese Wins are being passed around from one backpacker to another, with adverts starting with “no breakdown” and a long list of parts that had just been replaced. Backpackers are not the most organised of travellers and these bikes are bought up at bargain prices when the bluecard is lost. The dealer can simply go and buy a new fake bluecard and resell at normal prices. The effort that needs to go into creating a fake is minimal because backpackers do not know what to look for.


For travellers who are only in Vietnam for a short time: it is better to rent or buy from a reputable company and to be worry-free of this drama. Motorbike companies operating on a large scale over long distances need to be by the book. Incidents happen, and having motorbikes under the company name is important.

For Expats: Buying from reputable companies for the same reason, or buy brand new from official dealers. It is possible to register a bike to a foreign name, but very expensive and time-consuming.


This is Vietnam and laws are nothing more than guidelines. A legitimate motorbike is worth far more than a motorbike where “ownership papers can not be changed” which worth more than a straight fake paper’d motorbike. It creates variations of prices within local markets, often not understood by potential buyers.

The main take away is to understand the ratio: Value of the motorbike against the importance of the level of legitimacy within the papers. The higher the value of the motorbike the more important the paperwork accuracy is.


When buying a motorbike new in Vietnam a yellow piece of paper is provided with the motorbike. This is to cover damages to the motorbike. This is required by law, but in real life is a completely pointless piece of paper with absolutely no value.

Motorbike insurance paper

Motorbike insurance paper

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.

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  1. 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”