Australia Import Regulations

Australia Flag
Country Code+61
Time Difference+1 Hour (GMT+10)
PortAdelaide, Brisbane, Sydney
Shipping Line---
CurrencyAustralian dollar

Shipping Ports

Used vehicles are mainly shipped to the ports of Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Fremantle, Melbourne, Sydney. Generally RoRo (Roll-on Roll-off) shipping method is used for vehicle shipment, if requested a container shipment can be arranged.

Key Points

  • Before importing any motor vehicle, including a disassembled or partly completed road motor vehicle, you should contact the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
  • Do not make arrangements to transport your road vehicle to Australia until you have been issued with a valid Vehicle Import Approval (VIA). It is an offence to ship a road vehicle before obtaining a VIA.
  • Apply for a VIA through the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. Information is available about Importing vehicles into Australia.
  • A VIA is required regardless of the value of your road vehicle.
  • When you have started transport of your road vehicle to Australia, you must lodge an Import Declaration with us.
  • Your vehicle will not be cleared from customs control until you have provided a valid VIA for that road vehicle to us and you have paid customs duty, goods and services tax (GST), luxury car tax (LCT) and other charges, where applicable. More information on payment of LCT is below.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure each vehicle is clean and free of contamination of biosecurity concern, internally and externally, before it arrives in Australia. See the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website for information about the biosecurity requirements for importing motor vehicles, motor cycles, machinery and tyres.
  • If your road vehicle is shipped to Australia before you receive a VIA, and/or it arrives before your VIA application is processed, you might incur storage costs and other charges (not our charges) until the vehicle is cleared. If you do not have a VIA, your vehicle will be exported or destroyed at your expense.
Before importing a road vehicle, consider the costs of importation such as:
  • Freight and insurance (for the transport of the goods to Australia)
  • Customs duties, GST and LCT
  • Storage and delivery charges
  • logistics service provider charges
  • Customs brokers' charges
  • Import processing charges
  • Steam cleaning for biosecurity
  • Wharf and transport charges
  • Costs to have your vehicle meet State or Territory registration and insurance requirements.

Import Approval Permits

Both the Department of Infrastructure and Transportation and the Australian Customs Border Protection Service state categorically, "Do not import a vehicle into Australia before obtaining a vehicle import approval."
If the car or any other vehicle meets certain criteria, this permit is available from the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.
The Department of Customs then imposes a levy on the car. This has two components - Duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST). These are the figures:

Luxury Car Tax

If the car you want to import has a GST inclusive value of $57,466 or more (as of 2011), it will be subject to Luxury Car Tax (LCT). This tax is in addition to the other charges listed above and is levied at 33% of the value above the $57,466 threshold.

How to Calculate the Cost of Duty and GST

The way to calculate duty and GST is dependent on the specific car and can be quite complex. Let's examine several different scenarios.
Classic Car: You have a vintage MG built in 1960 purchased in the UK. You originally paid the equivalent of $20,000 for the car. Since it is a classic car, it has not devalued. Customs value the car at the original price. Because the car is more than 30 years old, there is no duty to pay on it. However, there will be GST to pay. This will be 10% of the value of the car, or $2,000 in GST.

How to Get a Permit

To obtain clearance to bring your car to Australia - an Import Approval Permit - you will need to supply to the Department of Infrastructure and Transportation a collection of documents. These include:
  • Weighbridge Certificate
  • Engineer Certificate (for some vehicles)
  • Imported Blue Slip ensuring the Road Transport Authority (RTA) that the vehicle is roadworthy
  • RTA Visual Identification Unit inspection (for some vehicles)

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