What types of Cars can be imported to Australia?

Import permits are mandatory for all road vehicles imported to Australia. There are a variety  of different import permits available for different types of cars, unfortunately not all cars can be imported to Australia. Below is a list of the Vehicle Import Permits available, please read carefully before you make any purchase and prior to shipping your car to Australia.

The two most common schemes used are to assist people who are migrating to Australia to bring their vehicle, and also for classic historicial manufactured prior to 1989. On the 10th of December 2019 the government has changed the the pre 1989 scheme to a Rolling 25 year rule which allows vehicles up to 25 years old to enter Australia.

Types Vehicle Import Permits (VIA) available in Australia

Classic cars – Vehicles manufactured more than 25 years ago which do not have any major modifications can be imported under the Rolling 25 Year Rule scheme. Any modifications should be reported to the department of infrastructure to determine if approval will be granted

Migrating to Australia – if you are migrating to Australia the government has put in place an Import permit specific for your situation. As long as you have lived overseas and owned your car for more than 12 months to be eligible under the Personal Import Scheme and you can only import one vehicle every 5 years.

Enthusiast Cars – SEVS permits is for Enthusiast cars, only certain cars are approved on the SEVS list which you can find out if your vehicle is already approved on the RAWS Australia website. If its not approved already you can apply to the RVCS to have make & model of the vehicle you are wanting to import to Australia added to the list.

New cars and any vehicle manufactured post 1989 – Any vehicle manufactured after 1989 which is not eligable for one of the other import permits available is required to get  complied to Australian standard by a RAWS approved workshop. The RAWS Workshop must issue you the Import permit and handle the conversation to Australian Standards.

Race Cars – Vehicles non designed for public road use and specifically for racing have there on permit. Vehicles entering Australia for a race must provide the details of the race and driver to gain approval

Off Road Vehicles – Vehicles not designed to go on public roads still require a permit for Australian Customs to gain clearance into Australia. The vehicle must be for designed for off road use and can never be registered for use on public roads in Australia.

Temporary Imports – For Temporary Importation you must have a Carnet de Passages. The car must not be sold in Australia and must be re-exported back to the originating country within 12 months. You will also have you pay a bond or have a bank guarantee covering the import taxes for Customs.

Additional Import Permits – There are also several other discretionary vehicle import permits for exhibitions, military forces, special purpose vehicles and repairs available. Please contact us for any further advice or information.

Left Hand Drive Vehicles –  The same Import Permit schemes above apply to left hand drive cars as for right hand drive cars. Each state has different regulations regarding registering Left Hand Drive Vehicles. Please CLICK HERE to find the links to each states requiredments.

What Happens if I Import a Car Without Approval?

Importing a vehicle is an offence without a valid import approval. Penalties for this offence can be a fine of up to A$13,200. You cannot gain customs clearance in Australia without a Vehicle Import Permit, Customs bond storage is expensive if you do not receive your permit prior to the arrival of your vehicle.

What Import taxes apply to cars Imported into Australia?

Import Duty 5%:

Import Duty is applicable on vehicles that do not comply with Schedule 4 or any of the Free trade Agreements we have in place

Vehicles that are 30 years or older are duty free as per the following item from Schedule 4(please note that the vehicle must comply with the following):

SCHEDULE 4: Item 41D 941 (* )

Vehicles of an age of 30 years or more, being:
(a) utilities or pick-ups, having a g.v.w. not exceeding 3.5 tonnes classified under 8704.21.10 or 8704.31.10 of Schedule 3; or
(b) passenger motor vehicles

RATE: Free

Australia has Free Trade Agreements with Japan & the USA which means any vehicle built in the USA or Japan and is shipped to Australia directly from the country of manufacturer will allow you to avoid paying any duty by simply filling in one extra document.

Luxury Car Tax:

Applies on vehicles that exceed the allowable Luxury Car Tax threshold to see the current LCT threshold please CLICK HERE based on the vehicle sell price less duty, GST or LCT. Luxury Car Tax is payable at 33%

Import GST

10% GST applies on all imported vehicles

The only exemption is vehicles that are solely designed for people with a disability.

Does quarantine need to inspect my vehicle?

All used cars and vehicles are subject to a mandatory Australian Quarantine Inspections unless processed by an Approved Offshore Biosecurity provider. Approved Offshore Biosecurity providers still have a 5% inspection rate so Australian quarantine can audit there system. All vehicles must be clean and free of quarantine risk material prior to arrival in Australia to avoid quarantine cleaning upon arrival.

Common quarantine problem with vehicles

  1. Soil around wheels, muffler, guards, mud guards
  2. Spare tyres and boot
  3. Engine bay and/or radiator
  4. Dirt underneath of the car or vehicle
  5. Leaves seeds and soil in the Interior of the car or vehicle

If your import car or vehicle is found to have quarantine matter by the quarantine officer it will be directed to quarantine cleaning. This can involve steam cleaning/high pressure cleaning, disinfecting and vacuuming which is all at the importers cost.

Below are some links for further information. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Asbestos in used Motor Vehicles

In 2017 Australian Border Force changed the import requirements for used vehicles. Now all vehicles need to be tested for asbestos before gaining customs clearance in Australia. Australia has a ZERO tolerance, which means many countries do not comply with our standard and the countries which do only started from around the year 2000. Classic/vintage American cars are high risk for asbestos so DAZMAC has set up offshore testing service to ensure you comply and reduce any potential asbestos removal costs.

Below is the Australian Border Forces 2017 media release regarding Asbestos in used motor vehicles.


Written by Daryl McIntyre

8 Must-Do Steps Before Shipping Your Boat Successfully to Australia

Send me the checklist