Rules and Regulations for the Import of Vehicles in to Australia

This page provides information about the documentation, rules, regulations and processes required to ship a car from the United States to Australia. If you looking to have a car shipped to Australia it is very important that you understand the requirements before you have the car exported from the USA so that your application to import the vehicle is not declined by Australian customs.

Vehicle Import Rules

Permanent Imports

In order to qualify for importing a car in to Australia from the United States or anywhere else in the world you must meet the requirements set by Australia's Department of Infrastructure and Transport. They have set various different permanent import options of which you must adhere to at least one to qualify. It is extremely important that you obtain approval from the Department of Infrastructure before you ship your car or you may be denied import.

  • Pre-1989 Vehicles - Under the pre-1989 vehicles import scheme you may bring in to the country road vehicles that were manufactured before January 1st 1989. This option is intended to allow individuals to import vintage, classic and historic enthusiast vehicles in to Australia.

    More information:  http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/imports/import_options/pre1989scheme.aspx
  • Personal Import Scheme - If you are a migrant settling in Australia, or an Australian expatriate returning home after a long period overseas you may qualify for this import scheme to bring your personal vehicle back home if you have owned the car for 12 months or more.

    More information: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/imports/import_options/pis.aspx
  • Letter of Compliance Arrangement - If your vehicle complied with the applicable Australian Design Rules (ADRs) at the time the vehicle was originally supplied to the market overseas then you may be eligible to bring your vehicle in to Australia on this scheme if you can obtain a Letter of Compliance from the authorized Australian representative of your vehicles manufacturer.

    More information: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/imports/import_options/lca.aspx
  • Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme - This scheme allows registered RAWs companies to import small amounts of used vehicles each year. In order to qualify for this scheme you must first register your car with the Register of Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles. If your car is eligigle to be imported based on this scheme then you can find a RAW business to import the vehicle on your behalf.

    More information: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/imports/import_options/sevr.aspx

Temporary Imports (up to 12 months)

In addition to permanent import schemes, you may also bring a vehicle in to Australia on a temporary basis. This may be useful for long visits, or temporary work placements where you need your own car. Below are the options for temporary vehicle importation:

  • Carnet - A ‘Carnet de Passage en Douane’ is an international agreement that allows you to import your car or vehicle in to Australia for up to 12 months. You must obtain a Carnet from your country of residence. Additionally, cars brought in under the Carnet scheme cannot be lent, sold, given away or even disposed of while in Australia.

    More information: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/imports/import_options/carnet.aspx
  • Exhibition Vehicles - If your vehicle is intended for exhibition use at, for example, a museum or motor show, then you may bring your vehicle in to the country on this scheme. The exhibition in question should be open to the public and your car must be of the type generally available in Australia.

    More information: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/imports/import_options/evs.aspx
  • Status of Forces Agreement - If you are military personnel at a temporary posting in Australia you will be able to import your vehicle temporarily under this scheme and keep in within the country for the duration of your tour of duty. The appropriate transport officer must provide a letter that details your vehicles estimated arrival and departure date.

    More information: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/imports/import_options/sofa.aspx

If you would like more information about car import procedures or aren't sure if you qualify to bring your vehicle in to Australia then you can either contact us, or the Department of Infrastructure and Transport directly:

Department of Infrastructure and Transport in AU
Calling From Australia Calling From Outside Australia Email
Tel 1800 815 272 Tel 61 2 6274 7444 vimports@infrastructure.gov.au
Fax (02) 6274 6013 Fax 61 2 6274 6013


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