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Importing Motor Vehicles into Australia

There are several steps to privately import a motor vehicle in the Australia

You will be required to:-
– obtain a “VEHICLE IMPORT APPROVAL” from the Vehicle Safety Standards Branch of the Department of Transport and Regional Services. Phone: 1800 815 272 (Australia only) or (02) 6274 7506, Fax: (02) 6274 6013, email: Vimports@dotars.gov.au

– Pay Customs duty, GST and Luxury Car Tax (LCT) where applicable and obtain a customs clearance at the port of entry.

– Obtain quarantine clearance from the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) after the vehicle has arrived at the port of entry. For more information visit the AQIS website on www.aqis.gov.au

Because of the various duty rates applicable, and the existence of two valuation regimes depending on whether the car was purchased before or on or after 2 March 1998 – a publication, called “The Guide to the Importation of Privately Owned Motor Vehicles or Motor Cycle” is available in the PDF document below, which clearly describes the process involved and the methods to be used in calculating any duty and tax liability.

PDF: Guide to the Importation of Privately Owned Motor Vehicles or Motor Cycles (222KB)

Any person may import a motor vehicle or a motorcycle into Australia as directed in the section Motor Vehicle Standards, as detailed in the PDF document below.

PDF: Customs Valuation of Imported Goods Factsheet (42KB) (Coming soon)

If you plan to drive the vehicle on Australia’s roads it is essential that you contact the Vehicle Safety Standards Branch before importing to ensure that the vehicle can meet the safety requirements and to obtain a permission to import the vehicle.

All privately imported vehicles are subject to the same rates of Customs duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) and, where applicable, Luxury Car Tax (LCT) as commercially imported vehicles. The Customs duty is based on the Customs value of the vehicle.

The rate of Customs duty payable is that which applies to the particular type of vehicle on the date it is entered for Customs purposes in Australia. GST and, where applicable, LCT applies at the date you import the vehicle into Australia. Without a permission to import, which can be obtained from the Vehicle Safety Standards Branch, a special duty of $12,000 may apply.

As Customs duty varies according to vehicle design and value, and is subject to change, you should contact a Customs office before importing any vehicle into Australia.

Prior to this, you should take into account the costs involved in the process such as: freight, Customs duties and entry processing charges, steam cleaning for quarantine purposes, other wharf and transport charges and any costs involved in having the vehicle meet state or territory registration requirements (whether your vehicle will indeed meet these requirements should be checked prior to importation).

Vehicles which arrive and do not have a permit and/or do not comply with the regulations, will be re-exported at the owner’s own cost.

The Quarantine department will check the vehicle, including the spare tyre and bonnet seal, and especially underneath and near the wheel arches and mudguards, to ensure that there is no dirt or mud. If steam cleaned thoroughly, it will be released. However, if dirty, it will be ordered to be stream cleaned again, so it’s best you do it professionally before departure. The interior must also be fully valeted and clear of all personal effects, with a minimal amount of fuel in the tank, before shipping.

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

The Australian Customs Service

Australian Government – Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government
Importing Vehicles to Australia
Vehicle Imports Enquiries
Ph: 1800 815 272
Fax: (02) 6274 6013

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