Everything You Need to Know About the Certificate of Entitlement (COE)

Simply speaking, the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) is a document that allows you the privilege of owning a private vehicle and using it on Singapore roads. You have to bid for a COE and buy it from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in Singapore.

What Is the Certificate of Entitlement?

With a COE, you can own a vehicle and use the limited road space in Singapore for 10 years. If you are buying a new car in Singapore and want to register it with the Ministry of Transport/LTA, you need to get your vehicle’s COE in the correct vehicle category. You cannot drive a car in Singapore without a COE in the right vehicle category. For example, if you own a motorcycle, the COE issued to it cannot be used for a car you might buy later. Each vehicle has to have its individual COE.

What Are the Categories of Vehicles?

There are five categories of vehicles:

  1. Category A: Cars with engine capacity up to 1,600cc and maximum power output up to 97kW (130bhp).
  2. Category B: Cars with engine capacity above 1,600cc or maximum power output above 97kW (130bhp).
  3. Category C: Goods vehicles and buses.
  4. Category D: Motorcycles.
  5. Category E: Open, for any kind of vehicle except motorcycle.
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Why Does Singapore Need the COE System?

The reason for Singapore imposing the COE for use of its roads is the lack of land and road space on the island. The country discourages people from buying vehicles in order to avoid congestion on roads, rise in pollution and regular traffic woes. Singapore follows a Vehicle Quota System (VQS) which tries to control the growth of vehicles on the roads in proportion to the developments that can be made in land transport infrastructure. So there is a limit on how many vehicles of each category can be on the road at a given timespan. The vehicle quotas are determined based on the following parameters:

  • The number of deregistered vehicles.
  • Permissible growth of vehicles based on population.
  • The number of taxis, buses, replacements, expired or cancelled COEs, etc.

The COE quota is decided every quarter based on the vehicle quotas available.

How Long Is the COE Valid?

A COE for a vehicle is valid for a period of 10 years from the date of issuance. When the COE period ends, you can either deregister your vehicle or get a renewal of the COE for 5 or 10 years. You will need to pay the Prevailing Quota Premium when renewing your COE. You can only renew in 5-year or 10-year extension periods.

Should You Renew Car COE after 10 Years?

How to Get a COE

Certificates of Entitlement are sold through competitive bidding or auction. In each session, there will only be a certain number of COEs up for sale. The bidding is open and transparent, and the bids need to be placed via a bidding system. You will get real-time information that will help you place the bids, track the prices, and change your bid reserve price if required.

The bidding begins at 12:00 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month and ends two days later on Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. If any of these days is a holiday, you will get an extension. A restricted number of COEs are released at each auction. Each category of vehicles will have a COE quota. The LTA publicly releases details about the COE quota available, start and end dates, and time before each exercise.

If you are buying a car or motorcycle from an authorised dealer, then you do not have to personally worry about procuring a COE. The dealers will take care of the bidding process for you and charge you the required expenses and service charges.

COE Bidding Process

  • Both individuals and companies can place bids. Individuals can only submit bids using the ATMs of DBS or POSB. Companies and motor traders can submit bids through internet banking channels of DBS, UOB, or Maybank. You can use these methods only if you have an account with one of these banks.
  • On the COE Open Bidding System, you need to enter your Reserve Price. Reserve Price is the maximum amount that you are willing to pay for the COE. The minimum Reserve Price is S$1.
  • The price of bids should be related to the Current COE Price (CCP). You can check the CCP and all details about ongoing and previous COEs on the ONE.MOTORING website.
  • CCP will continue to increase if the bidders raise their Reserve Prices. It will stop climbing when people are ready to pay equal to or more than the CCP.
  • You can view or track your bids through the banks’ online banking methods or through the COE Open Bidding System. You cannot make enquiries on your bids through the ATMs.
  • If your Reserve Price is equal to or higher than the CCP, then you will remain in the auction. But if your Reserve Price goes lower than the CCP, then you will be out of the COE race.
  • You can raise your Reserve Price while you’re participating in the bidding process through DBS/POSB ATMs or DBS/UOB/Maybank online banking. You could also revise your bids by logging into the COE Open Bidding System (https://ocoe.lta.gov.sg/PaInternetAction.do) using your NRIC number or passport number, which is called the Bidder ID.
  • You cannot reduce your Reserve Price or withdraw a bid. You can bid only once in a bidding exercise as an individual, but can bid more than once in the same session if you are a company or dealer. But you are allowed to bid again in the following sessions until you get a COE.
  • Since only a limited number of COEs are available in each bidding session, only those with higher reserve prices can procure a COE.

If there are 6 COEs available in one session and there are 10 bidders, at least 4 will have to leave the bidding without a COE. It is also possible that the CCP keeps rising, thereby increasing the bidding prices, and less number of people will be left in the running compared to the number of available COEs. In this case, the extra number of COEs are moved forward to the next open bidding session.

What is Quota Premium?

The Quota Premium for a given bidding session is the latest CCP for each vehicle category at the close of bidding. That is, the CCP at which the bidding ended. All those who managed to get a COE in a session will pay the same Quota Premium, as per their vehicle category.

When you submit the bid application, the deposit and administrative charges will be taken from your account. If the Quota Premium is higher than the deposit, you will need to pay the balance when you register your vehicle. If the Quota Premium is lower than the deposit, registration fees and other fees can be offset against the remaining bid deposit.

Average Cost of COE

Before you can make a bid, you need to pay a bid deposit and the bank’s administrative fee. The administrative fee is between S$2 and S$10 and varies from bank to bank. These fees will be charged for each application and revision. The COE bid deposit for Categories A, B, C and E is S$10,000, while that for Category D is S$200. If you did not make a successful bid in a session, the bid deposit is returned to you.

COE Renewal Process

To renew your COE after 10 years, you don’t need to participate in a bidding session again. You can pay the Prevailing Quota Premium for your car category and get it renewed for a period of 10 years. The Prevailing Quota Premium is the quarterly average of Quota Premiums in a particular category of vehicle. If you are opting for a 5-year renewal, then you need to pay half the Prevailing Quota Premium. If you don’t renew your Certificate of Entitlement, your car will be automatically deregistered on the COE expiry date. If you wish to renew your COE after its expiry, you must pay the applicable late payment fees.

You can renew the COE of vehicles without a statutory lifespan, like cars and bikes for 10-year periods as many times as needed. But if you choose a 5-year extension then you cannot renew the COEs for these vehicles again. However, a COE for a period of five years for Category C vehicles ending on or after 25 February 2013 can be renewed. But only for a period of five years, depending on how old the vehicle is.

You can make renewal payments in three ways:

  1. Online payment through Citi, DBS/POSB, OCBC/Plus!, Standard Chartered Bank, or UOB.
  2. By post along with the application form.
  3. At the Customer Service Centre of LTA.

You also get a COE rebate on Quota Premiums or Prevailing Quota Premiums if you deregister your vehicle before the validity of your COE ends. The rebate depends on how many days are left for the COE validity to end. These rebates can be encashed.

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