Guide to Importing a Car
There are a number of ways you can purchase a vehicle overseas and import it into Australia.
Before you do anything you must check whether the vehicle can be registered and is compliant. All vehicles being imported into Australia need an Import Approval from the Department of Infrastructure and Transport (the DIT, previously known as DOTARS). Once you are satisfied you can meet the requirements then it is safe to proceed.
An Australian Resident can personally import a motor vehicle if :
- 1. they have owned, and driven the vehicle overseas for more than 12 consecutive months prior to their arrival into Australia. The application to import the vehicle must then be made within 6 months of their arrival date into Australia.
- 2. the vehicle you have purchased was built 30 years ago. If this is the case then there are no restrictions to importing a 30 year old car into Australia.
If neither of the above criteria apply then you can only import one of a limited number of specialist and enthusiast vehicles. For a list of all vehicles that can currently be imported into Australia log on to the Government's Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle web page at www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/motor/sevs/index.aspx and click on the Register of Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles link. Here you will be able to find out whether the vehicle you are after can be imported, or not.
If you plan to have your vehicle complied by a RAW (Registered Automotive Workshop), the RAW will handle the import approval with the DIT. Note that this may take up to 3-4 weeks to process. The RAW can handle the whole process of importing the vehicle for you, in the same way as would happen if you went through a vehicle broker. Using a RAW is certainly a good option, and may save you a lot of time and worry. As with all things though, both of these options will cost you a little more as there is a third party involved. Further information on RAW's can be found at the following Government web page raws.infrastructure.gov.au.
Many people chose not to use a RAW, and handle the process directly themselves. If this is your preferred option then you must ensure the vehicle is eligible to be imported, and can be made compliant. You have to remember though, that even if you organise the purchase and shipping of the vehicle yourself, you still need to secure an import approval from the DIT, and you cannot get one as a private individual. You can only have your vehicle made compliant by entering into an agreement with a RAW, who will do this on your behalf.
This still leaves you though to purchase the car and organise the shipping to Australia.
Then comes the fun part, finding that car!
Once you have located the car you will need to organise payment to the dealer, or seller overseas. Ensure you organise a vehicle inspection by an independent company, and ask for a copy of the report and digital photos to be sent to you for review prior to your final payment. Then ensure you organise Insurance (we do this for you, see our Insurance page) to ensure the vehicle is insured as soon as you take ownership.
Once the transaction is complete this is really where Maltacourt comes in. We organise the transport to the overseas wharf, and can advise you the best shipping options, normally either on a Roll On/Roll Off vessel (the car is driven on and off) or in some cases, in your own container. Services on car carrying vessels from most countries are not as frequent as with container ships, yet in many cases the cost savings are worth the wait.
We will need all title documents from you as soon as available so that we can have our overseas office handle all of the shipping documentation. Upon receipt, this will enable us to clear the vehicle through Australian Customs for you on arrival.
Customs Duty, GST, and possibly Luxury Car Tax (depending on vehicle value) may need to be paid out on arrival. If the car is over 30 years old there will be no Duty applicable. Duty on vehicles under 30 years old varies, depending on the origin country, between 5-10%. GST is calculated at 10% of the combined value of the purchase price of the car + the cost to land the vehicle into Australia + Duty. If the car is not a recent acquisition then Customs will determine a current valuation, and apply that for GST and Duty purposes.
Further local charges will be Port Costs, Customs Clearance and Handling Fees. In addition the vehicle will normally need to be steam cleaned by Quarantine (AQIS) on arrival.
Prior to shipment we are gernerally able to advise you all costs, and options, prior to shipping your vehicle.
We will be happy to answer any further questions you have at any time. Please call us on 02 9700 0100 or email us at email@example.com.