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Importing Cars / Motorbikes into New Zealand

If you’re importing a used car, bus, truck, motorcycle, station wagon, van, SUV, 4WD, minibus or heavy motor vehicle into New Zealand, then as a first time migrant this can be done free of Customs Duty and GST, as long as you have owned the vehicle for 12 months prior to shipping and agree to retain the vehicle for at least 2 years after you arrive.

Importing a motor vehicle privately or commercially into New Zealand means it’s your responsibility to prove that:
– you are legally entitled to the vehicle
– the vehicle meets New Zealand safety and emissions requirements.

When importing a privately owned motor vehicle into New Zealand, there are changes in Land Transport Rule: Frontal Impact Amendment 2008 that may affect you. Similar changes are also included in Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Exhaust Emissions 2007 (the Emissions Rule).

There are conditions you have to meet before your vehicle can be registered in New Zealand, and to have a vehicle identified as belonging to an immigrant or returning New Zealander, the person must:
– be a New Zealand citizen, a New Zealand resident or a person entitled under the Immigration Act 1987 to take up permanent residence
– have lived outside New Zealand for a period of not less than 21 months before the date of his or her arrival in, or return to, New Zealand
– have personally owned the vehicle
– have personally owned and registered the vehicle for personal use in a country outside New Zealand for a period of at least one year before the applicant’s arrival in, or return to, New Zealand
– not have had any other vehicle identified as an immigrant’s vehicle
– not have imported, or be importing, the vehicle on behalf of, or for, a third party.

All vehicles are required to be thoroughly steam cleaned prior to departure and have a certificate as proof. The interior must also be fully valeted and clear of all personal effects, with a minimal amount of fuel in the tank, before shipping.

Subject to quarantine inspection upon arrival, your vehicle must be certified by the Land Transport safety Authority as complying to New Zealand legal requirements before it can be used on public roads.

For more details and to access official documentation, please go to the following websites:

The New Zealand Customs Service website:


Land Transport New Zealand website:


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