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Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)

This agreement is covered by Regulation 21A of the Motor Vehicle Standards Regulations 1989.

The purpose of the option

The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) allows for the importation of road vehicles by visiting military personnel that are members of a “Visiting Force” subject to a SOFA. This agreement permits the importation of a road vehicle without obtaining a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA).

Vehicles are typically imported for the duration of the tour of duty.

To check if you are a member of a visiting force subject to a SOFA, visit www.defence.gov.au/legal/digaalinks.asp.

Vehicles imported by visiting forces not subject to a SOFA are required to obtain a VIA. Details of vehicle import options are available at www.infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/imports/import_options/index.aspx.

How to apply

To apply for under the SOFA import option, you should provide to the Department with the following:

  • A letter from the appropriate Transport Officer outlining the duration of your posting to Australia, as well as the estimated date of arrival and departure of your vehicle.

This document is in addition to the documents required when you register on the portal. Refer to the How to apply page for further information.


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.

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Last Updated: 31 August, 2020