How to Buy (and Register) a New Bike in the Philippines

If I’m gonna go through all that trouble getting my bike registered, the least I can do is get some blog fodder out of it. Besides which online information, while helpful, was often scattered about across different forums and sites. I could’t find any guides or walkthroughs of the process, so I may as well pay it forward and put one together.

My first piece of advice about buying and registering a new bike in the Philippines is not to do it. Just buy a used or repossessed bike that already has its OR/CR and live your life. But if you’re determined to buy a new bike (as I was), then settle in for either a long wait (if the dealer handles your paperwork) or an uphill battle (if you do it yourself).

If you let the dealer process the registration, the wait is 4–6 months on average. This is the status quo. Dealers send paperwork to the LTO (Land Transportation Office) in batches and it takes a while to get them back.

On the bright side, since this is the status quo, you won’t be the only one on the street without an OR/CR. You’re allowed to use your bike without registration for up to 7 days from purchase, so the dealer will just give you numerous postdated invoices to cover the wait until your official paperwork eventually arrives. (In theory. My dealer never gave me postdated invoices; they just said I couldn’t to ride my bike until the OR/CR came in.)

If you’re just planning on riding around town and not going on any long trips, this should be fine. If, however, you wanna take it on major highways (which often have motorcycle checkpoints) or on ferries (which ask for the OR/CR as proof you didn’t steal the bike), you’ll be better off with your paperwork in order. And if you don’t want to wait half a year, you’ll have to do it yourself.

This is the uphill battle. Expect resistance every step of the way, because “that’s not how it’s done.” Maybe not, but it’s still your right and no one can legally stop you. Remember that; keep it as your mantra.

So here’s how to do it:

Buy the bike in full, in cash—it’s the only real way to have any negotiating leverage here. If you don’t have the money and need to get a loan, do it from an outside source, not the dealership.

Manufacturers list the Suggested Retail Prices for their bikes on their websites. Look it up before you head in because it’s a guarantee the dealership’s sticker price will be above the SRP.

After the dealer agrees to a price, tell them you intend on filing the registration yourself and ask if that will be a problem. They’ll likely try to convince you to let them handle it; hold your ground and insist it’s a deal-breaker. They’ll concede rather than lose the sale.

Once the dealer agrees to let you handle it yourself, ask them how long it’ll take for them to prepare the necessary papers (for reference, my papers were ready two days after I requested / demanded them).

You will need:

– Sales Invoice (you’ll get this when you buy the bike)
– PNP clearance
– Certificate of Stock Reported
– Third Party Liability Insurance
– Stencil of Chasis & Engine
– Certificate of Quality Assurance

Once you have them, make two copies immediately.

Call your local LTO branch first to make sure they can handle new registrations. Not all branches do, and they’re far enough apart that you don’t want to have to shuttle from one to another if you can help it.

Be clear that you want to register a new vehicle; people almost never file their own initial registration and LTO agents will often assume you mean to renew your registration and respond accordingly.

Once at the LTO, ask for new (again, specify lest you want to chase down a bunch of dead ends) registrations and bring over your paperwork. You’ll meet more resistance and people might grumble at having to do more work, but so long as your papers are in order they can’t turn you away. Put on your winningest smile, hand over the paperwork, and go home to wait.

It took the Cebu LTO four days to process my papers. Some have supposedly gotten it done in a day. Either way, it’s in God’s hands now, so just sit back, wait, and start planning your road trip.

Good luck!

19 comments

    • It was four days from when I submitted the papers until when I had a valid OR/CR. I actually still don’t have plates, though, because I moved to Manila before they were ready. For all I know they’re still waiting for me in Cebu. I’ll find out when I’m back there in December. 🙂

  1. I’m about to buy my own first bike, and thanks for this.
    btw I live about 3 to 4 kilometers from work (Ayala), if I am to let the dealer handle the registration will I be able to use it from house to work in that short of a distance?

    • Yeah — if you follow the standard registration procedure, you’ll be provided with the paperwork necessary to use your bike in the meantime. The only real limitation is that you might not be able to get it onto a ferry (which likely won’t be an issue for you).

    • The LTO is supposedly improving so I don’t know if it’s still the same, but back when I was getting this done, if the dealer handled the registration it took months (some people had been waiting a year) for you to get your final OR/CR.

      But even though you don’t have your OR/CR yet, you can still ride your bike. Since you’re allowed to ride your bike without an OR/CR within the first week of buying your bike, the dealer will just give you a stack of backdated receipts to show to traffic cops.

      This is how everyone does it, and the system pretty much “works” as it is. As long as you don’t need your OR/CR for anything (like riding a ferry), you should be okay letting the dealer handle registration.

  2. Hi, among all the required paperworks you have listed, which ones should be provided by the dealer? Do you have to process the PNP Clearance , TPL and stencils yourself?

    • The PNP clearance and stencils were provided by the dealer. I can’t remember who sorted out the TPL but I do remember that I didn’t have to go shopping around for it. So if I did have to take care of TPL, it was just a formality that I paid for at (or near) the LTO. Sorry — it’s been a few years and my memory’s fuzzy!

  3. Hi, we bought motorcycle last october and we got OR/CR after a month. Just wanna ask what are the things we need to do since it will turn 1 year this coming october 2019 pls help coz I really don’t have idea what would the next thung we ahould do. Is it renewal of registration and what is the requirements and is it ok to file renewal after date expires? Thanks you in advance sir. Pls help. Thanks again.

  4. I just checked online, that we need to bring MVIR and COC and COE what are those? Were they provided by store where we bought it? As as far as I remember they gave me OR/CR orig and photocopy and those manuals and warranty. Pls Im really confused what shall I do?

    • Hi! Sorry I took so long to reply (I really need to turn on email notifications).

      I’m not sure if you’re still looking to register your bike, but according to https://www.lto.gov.ph/motor-vehicle-registration/312-renewal-of-registration-for-all-classification.html

      MVIR = Motor Vehicle Inspection Report
      COC = Certificate of Cover
      CEC = Certificate of Emission Compliance

      I’m honestly not sure what those are (though the last one sounds like what you get when they do the smog test during registration). I’m guessing the LTO changed their process for new vehicles in the past three years.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more help! 🙁

  5. I bought a new motorcycle and paid cash. The dealer gave me a receipt for the payment and a paper to show I can ride the motorcycle, but said my registration and title I would not get for 4 to 6 months, and no idea when I would get my tag. Is this normal for a cash transaction? Please give me advise

    • That’s how it was in 2014, at least. I paid for my bike in cash and they told me it would take 4-6 months for the OR/CR to be processed. I couldn’t afford to wait that long, which is why I decided to do it myself.

      I don’t know if the process has changed since 2014, though, so I don’t know how accurate the blog post is anymore.

    • I don’t remember there being any real requirements to buy the bike in cash. I didn’t even have a Philippine driver’s license at the time (was using my U.S. one lang). I just paid and rode it home.

  6. I’m trying to buy a used bike that was imported by someone else to the Philippines. It appears to not be registered. All she can only offer me document wise is the import doc’s Bill of lading that does have the Philippine import stamp. nothing else.

    I don’t want to give her money if there is going to be a big problem, like a stolen bike from the US..I am weary because the price is so low

    • Sadly I don’t know much about registering used vehicles, but one of the key pieces of information for registering a new bike the LTO required was PNP clearance to prove it wasn’t stolen. On the upside, it looks like you (or they) might be able to get it yourselves. It’s just — like everything else — take a bit of running around.

      You probably don’t need the Certificate of Stock Reported though the insurance and stencils are likely necessary. Not sure about the Certificate of Quality Assurance. Your best bet would likely be to go to the LTO and find out from them directly what you’d need to get new registration on a used bike. Good luck!

  7. I just purchased a motorcycle on installments from motortrade and they’re still telling me that it’ll be ready in 2 to 3 months and because of all the restrictions due to the virus I can’t drive it around within the town so I am planning to do it myself so I at least won’t have to wait months and let the motorcycle gather dust.
    Any suggestions you can offer?

    • I wish I could help but it’s been so long since I registered my bike I honestly don’t even know if the process is still the same. I’m not even sure if the steps I took in this post are still valid or not. Have you tried talking to the dealer about doing it yourself?

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