Vietnam Motorcycle Bluecard

Vietnam Motorcycle Bluecard
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Everything you need to know about the Bluecard in Vietnam

The motorcycle Bluecard in Vietnam is the ownership papers of the motorbike. The information on the Bluecard identifies the bikes engine number, frame number, license plate number, and owner of the motorbike. There are real blue cards, fake blue cards and everything in between.

In Vietnam, there is a “scale of legitimacy” where the value of the motorbike directly impacts the importance of “how by the book” your papers need to be. We’ll explain everything below.

Can A Foreigner Buy A Motorbike In Vietnam?

Foreigners, tourists, expats, travelers, whatever category you fall into, all of them can buy a motorbike in Vietnam. When buying and selling a motorbike in Vietnam you must be absolutely sure to have the Bluecard for it. The Bluecard represents roughly 50% of the value of the bike and you can’t resell a motorcycle without it. Services such as transporting the motorbike by train or bus will also require a bluecard to presented.
Tigit does sell off some our rental motorbikes that can be found in this motorbike for sale section.

 Depending on if you plan to purchase a $300 Honda Win, a $1500 Honda Winner, or a $15000 BMW will greatly affect the importance of your Bluecard and its position on the “scale of legitimacy”.

The Scale Of Legitimacy

When purchasing a motorcycle the scale of legitimacy looks like this;

  • Level 1. $500 and under. The Bluecard could be a paper copy or even a fake. Basically your bike isn’t worth anything and no one cares about the paperwork.
  • Level 2.$1000-$3000. The Bluecard needs to be real and the bikes identification numbers need to match what’s on your Bluecard. The name registered on the bluecard isn’t that important and generally, even the locals won’t bother to go through the process of transferring the names on the paperwork.
  • Level 3.$3000+. All the bikes paperwork needs to be real with matching bike identification numbers and the owner’s name should be correctly on the document. 
  • Level 4. Unobtainable – Strict import control, limits what motorbikes are sold legally in Vietnam. Huge markets and niches of popular models that were never legally sold in Vietnam, are all illegally imported with fake papers. For example, nearly all dirt bikes were never officially sold in Vietnam, and so, are all fake. If the bike of your dreams was never officially sold in Vietnam. Then you have no choice but to get fake papers. 

Renting a motorcycle.

  • For traveling within Vietnam the original Bluecard isn’t required. Instead, you’ll be given a copy.
  • For border crossing between Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, you’ll require the Bluecard. In this case, a rental company would typically charge you a deposit for the value of the motorcycle. When you bring the bike back, you’ll get your deposit back. 

What to watch out for.

  • MBC and GTHL. These are code words for fake Bluecard you’ll see listed with online advertisements. 
  • Non-transferable. This happens when a motorcycle changed owners many times and the original owner on the papers was lost along the way. On a cheap bike, no problem. On a bike worth $3000+, you need to consider the very mild risk that comes with the slight bending of the rules with ownership
  • It is becoming common for motorbikes to be registered under different models. A motorbike that once legally existed in Vietnam has legitimate papers. Simply take the VIN and Engine number from a legal motorbike, and put it onto a motorbike that has been illegally imported. Now you have a motorbike that does belong to a set of legal papers and are in the police database. This does seem to work, and it is becoming a very common way around the problem of illegally imported motorbikes.

Transferring a Bluecard

The process of transferring a bluecard is a complex one. It also varies from province to province so there is no set process to document. The complexity and cost of transferring bluecards is one of the main reasons why older second hand motorbikes eventually get in a position of being non transferable. The motorbikes value is no longer worth going through the cost and time of this laborious process, and so through a number of sales, the original owner (on the bluecard ) is eventually lost in history.
If your motorbike is not worth $3000 + it probably isn’t worth worrying about the transfer process, simply having a blue card in any name is satisfactory.

Usually the seller will apply to the police to de-register the motorbike. This costs approximately 1 million dong. The number plate, vin number, chassis number are all sent off to the police for the de-registration process. This takes approximately 10 days, which means the motorbike has no number plate for quite some time.  The de-registration papers are given to the new owner who is then responsible for re-registering the motorbike. With the registration process it requires tax and other fees, approximately another 1 million to 3 million dong and varies from province to province.

Registering the Bluecard as a foreigner NN number plate

The NN number plate is as much a myth as a reality. NN numbers are specifically for foreigners and allow the police to see that the owner is a foreigner. When buying a motorbike new it is possible to get the NN number plate if you legally work in Vietnam and have all the documents for your stay here. However, transferring the NN plate off to a Vietnamese is a complex process (that we have never seen done). Ultimately registering with the NN number plate is actually lowering the value of the bike, because you can’t transfer the papers onward to a local. We don’t have any specific information on how to register a NN number plate. The process is best tackled through the dealership you wish to purchase from.

Generally foreigners will register motorbikes in their wife’s name, girlfriends name of even a colleagues name.

Lost My Bluecard in Vietnam  

Dealing with parking lot staff and the police will be problematic if you lose your Bluecard, but it can generally be fixed. If your name is not the one on the Bluecard and you lose the original Bluecard the only option is to acquire a fake replacement. These fakes are as cheap as a few hundred thousand Dong. This does not replace the original and you’ll need to understand your motorcycle is now illegal. If it’s a rental, often the rental company can help you out for a replacement fee.

Overall, most drivers in Vietnam will be driving around on motorcycles worth less than $2000 with only some of the correct paperwork. The people, police and parking lot attendants are used to this and life goes on without much concern about the documents. However, as the value of your motorcycle goes up the scrutiny of officials goes up too.

Who Can Help if You lost it?

  1. Parking lot attendants. Security personal are obliged to make sure that whatever bikes come into their lot leave with the owner. The parking lot is assuming the risk when they let you go with a Bluecard that is not in your name. They are prepared to do this up to around $2000, but as the number gets bigger their processes get stronger. If you hold onto your parking ticket then you can pass freely. If you lose your ticket you’ll need to prove you are the owner of the motorcycle. Without the Bluecard or the parking ticket, you’re going to have problems.
  2. Police. Equally the Police are obligated to ensure that the owner of a motorcycle is the person who has possession of it. A cheap old bike, they probably won’t care. A newer motorcycle with unmatching documents, you may need to give them some “coffee money” to continue on your way. A brand new motorcycle with the wrong documents, the bike will likely be confiscated.

Who is Responsible for Replacing the Bluecard?

  1. Rentals.You’ll need to contact your rental company and they’ll usually provide you with a solution. Replacing the bluecard is a long laborious task, and the rental company is going to charge heavily for the time wasted.
  2. Owner. You’ll need to get a fake replacement made. In major cities, this is fairly easy and the service is even advertised on Facebook. Ask a local or long term expat to help you with this. You might want to have a copy made just incase.

Police Confiscating Bikes

 

Parking security

Parking Lot Security

Fake Bluecards in Vietnam

When you initially deal with motorbike registration Vietnam, a Bluecard is created with numbers matching both the VIN and chassis of the motorbike. This information is then added to the police database and can be referenced later for ownership transfer or to deal with illegitimate motorcycles. It seems like they have everything covered, however, it is easy to illegally change the bike’s information or the Bluecards information.

VIN/chassis numbers and engine numbers can be removed and changed, Bluecards forged, and there is no public access to registered motorcycle information. The reality is that it’s very difficult to know if a motorcycle is legitimate or not.

Fake Bluecards might exist for the following reasons

  • Stolen motorcycles. Motorcycles are often stolen without a Bluecard. A Bluecard is created, the bike is sold onto an unsuspecting buyer and the thief makes his money. If you are caught with a stolen bike it will be confiscated.
  • Illegally imported motorcycles. Imported manual motorbikes are considered luxury goods in Vietnam and come with significant import taxes. To avoid this they are sometimes illegally imported then a fake Bluecard is created to legitimize the motorcycle and its value. 
  • Unresolvable problems. Old motorcycles, motorcycles who’s original owner can’t be contacted or has passed away, and motorcycles without an original Bluecard will all be forced to have a fake Bluecard.
  • Custom motorcycles. Combining chassis and engines from different motorcycles to make a custom bike creates an unusable Bluecard. These bikes often have fake Bluecards made to compensate for the creation.

 

                  Fake Vin number on a Suzuki GN engine                           

 

     Fake paper services on Facebook

 

Bike Insurance in Vietnam

In Vietnam, you are required to have “Yellow Paper Insurance” and when buying a new motorcycle in Vietnam this insurance will come with the bike. This paper is supposed to represent coverage for your motorcycle in the event of an accident. In reality, this paper has no value and you aren’t likely to be able to cash in on any insurance money for any reason.

If you own a motorcycle you might consider carrying this piece of paper around with you, it can be purchased from any mechanic for around 60-80,000vnd a year. For rental motorbikes, the rental company usually retains the yellow paper. You aren’t likely to need it, but they should have a copy if you do for some reason. 

What really happens in the event of an accident goes something like this; The police arrive and investigate the severity of the accident. They are generally helpful and try to be fair with both parties. They will check your documents, such as your Vietnam motorbike license and Bluecard.  If the incident can’t be resolved on the spot, then the police confiscate the motorcycles of each person and hold them as ransom until fault is decided and any money owed is paid out.

If you own the bike then you will need to deal with this directly. If the motorcycle is a rental, the rental company will eventually get the motorcycle back but any money required to do so will come out of the rental deposit. 

Motorbike insurance paper
Motorbike insurance paper

 

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26 Replies to “Vietnam Motorcycle Bluecard”

  1. Hello,

    I bought a 50cc Honda Crea Scoopy because I currently need a very light scooter after surgery. I am told that they are from Japan and come without a blue card.

    I found the engine number but not the frame and/or VIN.

    Where could either number be? The Honda dealer said, he cannot find the frame number or VIN.

    Many thanks.

    1. They may have japanese vins, or even be a japenese frame. However you can’t buy parts for them anymore. Any replacement parts are Chinese. Over time the bike goes from Japanese to Chinese.
      Frame number would be on the steering stem of the motorbike.

  2. I want to buy a used Exciter from what looks like a legitimate large used motorbike shop in a small city in Vietnam. He says he has a bluecard for it but I wonder if it is a real bluecard or not. What are the percentage odds that it is a real blue card 10%, 50%, 75%? Is there a way for me to find out for sure for if it is a real bluecard and isn’t a stolen motorbike, example buy going to a police station? Do I need to worry about the bluecard or if it is stolen when I am buying from a shop on a busy main street like this? I need to be quite sure as I will be spending 30 million for it. I thank you for you time and knowledge in replying to this. Thanks

    1. Check the Frame and engine number match up. At this point I would say your chances of it being real are good.
      You have done your due diligence and checked all matching numbers and this does pay rewards if police stop you and determine the papers are fake. We had this case on one of our bikes before, and the police ended up re-registering the bike for us for a fee of around 6 mil.

  3. Hi there, thanks for your article!

    I’m currently riding a 125 with NN number plate. I bought it from a friend who bought from a friend who was working in an embassy. The main issue here is that the Bluecard was valid until some time in 2016.

    I have a A1 driving licence also.

    Do you know if it’s possible to get the NN plate changed to a conventional VN plate under a local’s name?

    What kind of risk do I face as it seems that I can’t do much with the bike?

    Cheers,

    Julien

    1. The expiry date doesn’t mean anything. I don’t know why it is there.
      It is not possible to transfer the name. Your bluecard is what I would call “owner lost in history”. Very common here, so common that the risk/consequence of such a situation is basically nothing.

    2. I checked the number on the engine of the Exciter I want to buy, which is located on the left side under the engine. You say check the frame and engine numbers to see that they match up. So I was shown a number under the seat etched into the frame at the top part and under the seat and this number did not match. Is that where the frame number is or is it located somewhere else? Are those the two numbers and locations that I need to be checking to see if they match? Thanks for taking the time to reply to my questions.

    3. Perhaps a grammar error in our article.
      The numbers need to match the blue card. The blue card will have both numbers on it.

  4. 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

    1. 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?

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Hi

    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.

    1. 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: https://www.tigitmotorbikes.com/mui-ne-police-sand-dune-trap/

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