Six Steps To Importing Your Car Into Australia

Jack Sandher - Sunday, June 29, 2014

Six Steps To Importing Your Car Into Australia 


You've found the perfect car, but its on the other side of an ocean. No worries, it's not out of reach.

There is a government-approved process for importing cars into Australia, and by doing the following, you can make sure that you end up with a car you’ve always wanted:

1) Do your homework: Importing a car is not the same as other types of shopping from a distance. Whereas, on Amazon.com, you merely input your credit card information, click a button and then look for a package to arrive a few days later, car importation is significantly more complicated:

  • · Is the vehicle eligible for importing into Australia (check our copy of the SEVS Register)
  • · Which import options applies to you?
  • · What are the costs involved?
  • · How long will it take (this includes shipping as well as inspection and treatment as well as getting the paperwork sorted out)
  • Talking about paperwork – what documentation do you need?
  • What modifications are required?
  • What are the risks involved with importing the vehicle (including re-export, failure to meet compliance)
  • Should you use a broker?

2) Apply for import approval: The Australian government has several different import options when it comes to importing vehicles. You will have to determine which option your car falls under, then fill out an application for that option and send it to the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.

Make sure to get a hard copy of the approval before proceeding to the next step…

3) Arrange shipment: If and when you receive government approval for your importation, you will have to arrange the shipment of the vehicle.

  • Get the vehicle steam cleaned inside and out - if possible take the care to an approved cleaning and pre-inspection service in the country of export
  • Remove any materials that might pose a quarantine risk
  • Ensure the air-conditioner is degassed
  • Ensure the fuel tank is empty

4) Get Customs Clearance and Quarantine Inspection: Once your vehicle arrives in Australia, you will need to get a few last-minute approvals, including customs clearance and quarantine inspection.

This includes:

  • Lodging an Import Declaration and Quarantine Entry
  • Paying relevant duties (such as Customs duty, Luxury Car Tax and GST)
  • Arranging inspection with AQIS (the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service)

5) Meet Import Approval Conditions: You may also need to arrange for the modification of your car to meet Australian Design Rules and RAWS Compliance.

You will also need to apply for Identification approval or supply market approvals.

6) Register the vehicle: When conditions are met and approvals have been granted, you’re all set. Legally register the vehicle in your state or territory and make sure you have proper license plates and registration paperwork before you begin driving the car.