What is an advisory notice that a thing is not a road vehicle?
The Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation, administered by the department, regulates road vehicles. All road vehicles require permission before they can be imported into Australia.
While vehicles that are not road vehicles are not regulated under the legislation, to assist other regulatory bodies (for example Australian Border Force) identify which vehicles are road vehicles and which vehicles are not road vehicles, the department has the power to issue advisory notices to things it has assessed as not being road vehicles.
An advisory notice that a thing is not a road vehicle is a formal notice issued under the Road Vehicle Standards Rules 2019 (the Rules), stating that a vehicle (or thing) is not a road vehicle and therefore does not require ‘permission’ to be imported into Australia.
While you do not need an advisory notice to bring a vehicle that is not a road vehicle into Australia, it can be useful in the importation process by providing assurance to Australian Border Force (ABF) officers that the vehicle does not require further approval.
Once issued with an advisory notice, you can use it to import one or more of the same vehicle description, make, model and information provided in the advisory notice until the expiry date of the vehicle specified in it.
Vehicles that are not road vehicles must not be supplied to the market or sold to another person or business for use in transport on public roads within the meaning of the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018. Doing so may be an offence under RVS legislation. Any false or misleading information provided to support your application may make you liable under the Act as committing an offence.
To assist in identifying whether your vehicle is, or is not a road vehicle, read this guidance material and answer the questions about the characteristics of your vehicle.
Note: If a vehicle that ABF considers may be a road vehicle is detected arriving in Australia without an import approval or advisory notice the vehicle may be held in storage (costs apply) until an appropriate approval or advisory notice is applied for and granted by the department.
If you would like written confirmation your vehicle is not a “road vehicle” you should apply for an advisory notice. You can present the advisory notice to ABF when importing your vehicle.
A road vehicle is defined by the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (RVSA) as any of the following:
- a motor vehicle designed solely or principally* for use in transport on public roads
- a trailer or other vehicle (including equipment or machinery equipped with wheels) designed to be towed on a public road by a motor vehicle
- a vehicle determined in an instrument under the RVSA, being the Road Vehicle Standards (Classes of Vehicles that are Road Vehicles) Determination 2021
- a partly completed or unassembled vehicle that would otherwise be covered by any of the above.
* In determining whether a motor vehicle is designed solely or principally for use in transport on public roads, regard is to be had only to the physical or operational features of the vehicle, not the intended use of the vehicle.
Aside from vehicles you would usually expect to be road vehicles, the Road Vehicle Standards (Classes of Vehicles that are Road Vehicles) Determination 2021 lists certain classes of vehicles that are also determined to be road vehicles and gives definitions of these vehicles. If your vehicle fits in to any of the classes then it is a road vehicle.
If you are importing a road vehicle you MUST apply for approval to import the vehicle.
Things that are not road vehicles
For a vehicle to be assessed as ‘not a road vehicle’ it must be designed principally for non-road use. The manufacturer’s specifications (in the form of a brochure or technical specifications) will generally outline this. If the specifications do not state that the vehicle was designed principally for ‘non-road’ use, further information about the vehicle may need to be provided before a decision on the application can be made.
The Road Vehicle Standards (Classes of Vehicles that are not Road Vehicles) Determination 2021 (further information below) sets out classes of vehicles that are definitely not road vehicles.
If your vehicle is listed in the determination, some freight forwarders are comfortable with handling your vehicle as a non-road vehicle, and further confirmation is not required from the department. If your freight forwarder is not comfortable, or you are managing importation yourself, you may wish to apply for an advisory notice for your vehicle.
Any vehicle imported as a non-road vehicle cannot generally be registered for road use in Australia. Individual state and territory authorities may have specific rules and requirements regarding the use of non-road vehicles.
Disclaimer: The following information is designed to guide a person importing a vehicle as to whether the vehicle they are planning to import is a road vehicle (and requires importation approval) or is not a road vehicle (and can be supported by an advisory notice if requested).
The department makes this material available on the understanding that users exercise their own skill and care when using it.
By accessing this information each user waives and releases the department to the full extent permitted by law from any and all claims relating to the usage of and/or reliance on the material made available.
Advisory notice that a thing is not a road vehicle pre-screening questionnaire
The following questionnaire will help you decide whether your vehicle is not a road vehicle based on its features and design. If, after completing the questionnaire you are still uncertain whether your vehicle is or is not a road vehicle, you may want to apply for an advisory notice to confirm what it is.