expat network

Taking Motor Vehicles To Australia

vehicles australia
Taking vehicles to Australia is possible but you should be clear on what is involved and whether it is worthwhile.

If you plan to take your vehicle to Australia you will need to be realistic about what is involved and the costs of doing so.  The vehicle will need to comply with Australian design and safety standards (and will need to be a right-hand drive vehicle).  Each state sets its own requirements and so you will need to identify the rules in the State you are moving to.  You will need to obtain a Vehicle Import Approval and should allow at least 21 days for processing the request.  It will generally be best to use the services of a company experienced in dealing with imports into Australia.

Migrants settling in Australia, and expatriate Australian citizens returning permanently to Australia after a long period overseas, can bring their personal road vehicle with them, provided the vehicle has been owned and used for a period of 12 months or longer.  You are restricted to one vehicle every five years.

Applicants must have lived outside Australia for at least 12 months prior to arriving in Australia and intend to become an Australian permanent resident and remain in Australia indefinitely.

You will need to demonstrate that the vehicle has been available to be driven by you, at all times during the 12 month qualifying period. The vehicle should have been registered in your name and garaged near where you lived so that you could drive the vehicle.  Evidence that you held an appropriate licence to drive the vehicle overseas would also help to confirm the vehicle was available for use.

You will need to apply before you arrive in Australia if you have met the criteria for importing your vehicle or you can apply up to six months after you arrive in Australia if you do not qualify before you arrive.

Applications may be made before you arrive in Australia (although you must still meet the 12 month qualifying period prior to applying). Alternatively, applications may be made up to six months after you arrive in Australia.


To apply for a Vehicle Import Approval you will need to provide the following to the Department:

  • A purchase document for the vehicle in your name (a purchase document can be a pro-forma invoice/receipt for deposit or full payment).
  • A copy of your international or overseas driver’s license;
  • A copy of the registration documents for the vehicle (for the qualifying period), in your name;
  • A statement of travel prepared by you, listing any international travel you undertook during the qualifying period. In particular, the statement is to set out any absences from your country of residence. If travel was for business reasons, you should supply a letter to that effect from your employer;
  • A copy of the identity page of your passport. If you hold dual passports, you should provide a copy of both passport identity pages;
  • A copy of your current Australian permanent resident visa if you are not a citizen;
  • If you have applied previously you will need to quote your previous application number.

Applicants will also need to substantiate their intention to remain in Australia indefinitely by supplying a range of supporting documents.

Refer to the How to apply page for further information.


Vehicle Inspection

All vehicles will be subject to biosecurity control upon arrival in Australia and it is the importer’s responsibility to ensure that they are clean and free of contamination of biosecurity concern, internally and externally, before they arrive in Australia. Contamination of biosecurity concern includes, but is not limited to: live insects, seeds, soil, mud, clay, animal faeces, animal material and plant material such as straw, twigs, leaves, roots, bark.  Vehicles should be steam cleaned prior to shipment.


Duty and Luxury Car Tax

The Department of Customs imposes a levy on imported vehicles which is made up of Duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) as follows:


Vehicle Type Duty GST
Vehicles over 30 years old and motorcycles 0% 10%
New and used vehicles up to 30 years old 10% 10%
Four wheel drive off road / commercial vehicles 5% 10%


Also a Luxury Car Tax of 33% is payable if your vehicle is worth over $65,094 in 2017-18 (or $75,526 for fuel efficient vehicles, ie uses no more than 7 litres per 100km).