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Import options—common questions

Q. How do I choose which vehicle import option I should apply under?
Take the quick quiz online—‘Which import option is best for me?’ to assist you in deciding which option may be most suitable in your individual circumstance.

Q. I don't qualify under any import options. How can I import the vehicle?
If your application does not qualify under any of the import options, you cannot import the vehicle.

Q. I am an Australian citizen—can I temporarily import my vehicle?
There are specific options for temporary importation of a vehicle.

Q. I am an overseas visitor—can I temporarily import my vehicle?
Yes. If you are visiting Australia on a vacation, you may import your vehicle for up to one year to Australia by presenting a valid ‘Carnet de Passage en Douane’ to Australian Customs. Carnets are administered by Department of Immigration and Border Protection. For more information, see ‘Carnet Guidelines’. In this case, you do not need at Vehicle Import Approval.

Q. I have a temporary diplomatic or military posting to Australia—can I temporarily import my vehicle?
You may be permitted to import a vehicle under the SOFA option

Q. Can I import a vehicle for wrecking, dismantling, or to use its parts?
No. No options exist which allow the importation of a vehicle for wrecking, dismantling or parts.

Q. Can I import motor vehicle parts
No. A vehicle is not considered to be parts just because it is unassembled, dismantled or incomplete.

A motor vehicle includes a vehicle that is partly completed, but does not include vehicle parts. The importation of a vehicle part does not require a vehicle import approval.

An import approval is required for a ‘kit of parts’ that can be assembled to build a rolling vehicle.

Where the vehicle is an unassembled kit, the certification process for a ‘Kit Car’ or Individually Constructed Vehicle (ICV) is regulated by the relevant state or territory government registration authority. See the ICV section of the National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification as found on the Department's website.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection maintain an information page covering the importation of vehicles.

The following goods are generally considered to be parts:

  • Passenger motor vehicles without engines, gearboxes, wheels and axles.
  • Light and medium road vehicle for the transport of goods of gross vehicle mass (GVM) less than 12 tones without engines, gearboxes, wheels.
  • Heavy road vehicles for the transport of goods of GVM greater than 12 tones without engines and gearboxes.
  • Trailers without axles, mechanical connections, suspension and brakes.
  • Buses without engines, gearboxes, wheels and axles.
  • Road motor cycles without front forks, steering components and wheels.

Q. If I am not the legal owner of the vehicle, can I import it?
No. Only owners of the vehicle can apply for, and receive, a Vehicle Import Approval.

Q. I have two cars, both registered in my name. Can I import both under the personal imports option?
No, however, under certain circumstances, a second vehicle can be imported in the name of a spouse or de facto partner, but the spouse or de facto partner is required to meet all requirements of the personal imports option. In these cases, proof of the relationship should be provided.

Q. In this case, can we share the 100 points required as evidence of intention to stay in Australia?

Q. Who can import a vehicle under the personal imports option?
Only Australian citizens returning to Australia after owning the car for more than 12 months or immigrants coming to Australia can import a vehicle under the personal imports option.

Companies, tourists, posted diplomats, posted military personnel or anyone who is on a temporary visitors' visa or student visa are not eligible to import a vehicle under the Personal Imports Scheme, however they may be eligible under an alternate option .

Q. Can I apply to import a pre-1989 modified vehicle?
Yes, you can apply under the Pre-1989 Scheme provided that any modifications made to the vehicle are in line with original factory specifications available as options at the original date of manufacture. For more information, see Import options.

Q. My vehicle (i.e. ATV/dirt bike/motorcross bike) won't be used on Australian roads—do I still need a Vehicle Import Approval?
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (Customs) require an importer of an “off-road” vehicle or piece of “non-transport equipment” to obtain advice from the Department that it is not categorised as a ‘road vehicle’. Having this approval in advance will give you the “Authority to Deal”. This is a form of documentation similar to an import approval and issued by the Department which allows for Customs to release your “off-road” vehicle. As such, you may wish to apply through the Vehicle Import Approval process prior to shipping your vehicle to avoid accruing storage costs when your vehicle arrives. Please refer to the Non-Road Vehicles: Off-Road and Non-Transport Equipment Assessment Option for further information.

Q. Do I need an import approval for my motorised wheelchair?
Yes. Whilst motorised wheelchairs are not classified as “road vehicles” under the Act and are therefore not prohibited from importation, Customs requires that the Department undertake an assessment of the vehicle to determine whether or not it meets the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Standards (Road Vehicles) Determination 2005. This requires a detailed assessment of the specifications of the vehicle including speed and unladen mass. For more information on importing motorised wheelchairs, please refer to the Non-Road Vehicles: Off-Road and Non-Transport Equipment Assessment Option.

Q. What is the date of manufacture for a vehicle?

The date of manufacture is the date the vehicle was first driven or moved from the manufacturer's production line or production facility, after the vehicle's body shell and powertrain assemblies were joined. This is equivalent to the concept of the build date (as developed and used by Australia's automotive industry).

If parts of a vehicle have been assembled into another vehicle, the date of manufacture is taken to be the date on which this new vehicle was first driven.

Please be advised: that for vehicles with a Date of Manufacture on or after 1 January 2014 the import approval will include a condition restricting the supply of the vehicle for use in transport until 1 January 2014.


Last Updated: 6 April, 2018