Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Importing Vehicles into Australia

You cannot hand deliver your application or any associated correspondence in person. Neither your application or any correspondence can be left at the security desk. All communications with the Vehicle Import's area is to be delivered either by email, fax or post. Please see the contact us section for details. This ensures that no application is misplaced.

Safe vehicles reduce road trauma. Australia's vehicle fleet is among the safest in the world.

The importation of vehicles to Australia is prohibited except in very specific circumstances. Most vehicles are imported by large manufacturers that invest substantially in research and development to ensure that every new vehicle meets minimum safety standards that maintain the safest possible environment for all road users and our community. Manufacturers wanting to import vehicles to Australia for supply must first obtain an identification plate approval. Information on this process is available here.

Approved companies known as Registered Automotive Workshops (RAWs) may import a limited range of used vehicles on behalf of individuals. To find out if your make and model of vehicle is currently approved click here. If your vehicle is not currently approved you may be able to find a RAW that will import it for you. To check if your vehicle is eligible, click here. Please be aware that vehicles imported by RAWs must undergo a range of modifications and maintenance procedures to ensure that they meet minimum safety and environmental standards. You will be charged for this work and the costs of importation by the RAW.

Individuals can also apply to import vehicles to Australia. The Department administers legislation setting out when an import approval may be issued. More information on import options is available here.

A Vehicle Import Approval is required before a road vehicle is shipped. The vehicle will not be released from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service unless it has a Vehicle Import Approval. All costs incurred in this process are the responsibility of the importer.

It is important to note that these requirements relate to vehicles designed soley or principally for the transportation of people, animals or goods on public roads. For vehicles that are not designed for road use, import approvals are not required, however a positive assessment of this through the Vehicle Import application process will ensure the clearance of your vehicle by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

An application for a Vehicle Import Approval, with all necessary supporting documentation will generally be assessed by the Department within 15 working days of receipt (including payment of the lodgment fee). This is a service target and in unpredictable peak periods it may not be met. This process will take longer if any further information or clarification is required, if the necessary supporting documentation is not initially provided, or if the original application is incomplete.

Obtaining a Vehicle Import Approval is only one step in the process of importing a vehicle into Australia. Depending on the type of vehicle, the processes may be complex, involve several organisations, and take many weeks. For an overview of the process, click here.

This site provides you with information required to apply for a Vehicle Import Approval. In particular we recommend you review:

The information provided on this page should be used as guidance material only for importing a vehicle into Australia. Please familiarise yourself with the relevant legislation prior to lodging an application.


Last Updated: 21 April, 2015