Your Guide to Importing a Car to Australia from New Zealand

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Posted on 17th July 2023


Your Guide to Importing a Car to Australia from New Zealand

Whether you're a Kiwi looking to move to Australia or an Aussie local looking to catch a better deal across the pond, importing a car to Australia can be a fantastic idea. Below, we will lay out everything you need to know before you ship a car to Australia from New Zealand.

Eligibility Criteria for Importing a Car to Australia

Before importing a car to Australia, it's vital to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria set by the government. The following conditions generally apply:

Personal Import

If you are a permanent resident or citizen of Australia, you can import a vehicle for personal use. However, certain restrictions and conditions may apply, such as the age of the vehicle and its compliance with Australian Design Rules (ADRs).

Temporary Import

Non-residents and temporary residents may also import a car temporarily, usually for up to 12 months. This category includes individuals on student or work visas. However, it's important to note that you must export the vehicle before the specified timeframe expires.

Vehicle Type Approval

To bring your car across the Tasman, you must obtain vehicle type approval from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDCA). You can obtain this approval through the ROVER application portal. It's important to note that you must apply for approval on your own behalf, even using a car transportation service. There are four types of vehicle approvals that you may fall under: • A vehicle type approval for commercial purposes and those importing one of the same vehicle types. • A concessional Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV) entry approval. • A non-RAV entry import approval. • A reimportation import approval.

Obtain the Required Documentation

When importing a vehicle from New Zealand to Australia, there's plenty of paperwork you'll need to gather beforehand, including:

• Proof of ownership.

• Purchase invoice or receipt.

• Original vehicle registration documents.

• Import approval from the Australian Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Communications.

• Insurance documents.

• Bill of lading or other shipping documents.

Ensuring all documentation is thorough, precise, and current will help prevent any setbacks or issues during the import process.

Importing a car to Australia - The back of a campervan in the Outback

Arranging Shipping and Transportation

For importing a vehicle from New Zealand to Australia, you can choose between Roll-on/Roll-off (RORO) shipping or container shipping. RORO is faster and more cost-effective but offers limited protection from the elements. Container shipping is more expensive but provides better security, making it ideal for valuable or classic vehicles. Container shipping also allows for additional personal belongings and extra space. Ultimately, decide on the shipping method that fits your budget, preferences, and vehicle condition to ensure safe and secure transport.

Customs Clearance and Compliance

Clearing customs and ensuring regulation compliance is the final hurdle you'll face when importing a car to Australia. This process involves a few steps that you must carry out meticulously to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Clearing customs in Australia

When your vehicle arrives in Australia, it must go through customs clearance. To ensure a smooth process, you'll need all the necessary documentation, such as the import permit and customs forms. These documents serve as proof of your compliance with import regulations and allow customs officials to confirm the legality of your import.

Paying import duties, taxes, and fees

As part of the customs clearance process, you must calculate and pay the import duties, Goods and Services Tax (GST), luxury car tax (if applicable), and any other fees imposed by Australian authorities. These fees vary based on the vehicle's value, age, and emissions rating. Making the necessary payments ensures the progress of the importation.

Complying with quarantine and biosecurity regulations

Australia has stringent quarantine and biosecurity regulations to protect its unique ecosystem from invasive species and diseases. Ensuring that the imported car is thoroughly cleaned and free from contaminants, soil, or prohibited items is essential.

Getting the vehicle inspected and registered in Australia

After clearing customs and meeting the quarantine requirements, the next step is for a certified mechanic to assess the imported vehicle's roadworthiness. The mechanic will check various components, such as the brakes, lights, tires, and emissions, to ensure they meet Australian safety and environmental standards. If any compliance modifications are necessary, complete them before proceeding. After inspection, you can register the vehicle and obtain the required license plates.

Take Your Ride Across the Tasman with Cars2NZ

If you're starting a new life in Australia or returning home, this guide to importing a car to Australia will help ensure you can take your ride. When importing cars from Australia to NZ or vice versa, contact Cars2NZ. We can sort the nitty gritty out and have your ride in your driveway in no time.


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