How To Import Vehicles into Australia P1

Vehicles are imported into Australia under different circumstances and for that reason the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads have a range of Options for importers to validate their application to register the vehicle for use in Australia.

When importing into Queensland, the regulations and processes are to ensure the safety of all road users. There are a series of processes to make sure that the vehicle will be roadworthy and comply with the standards set for road users in Australia.

Important: Do not ship your vehicle until the vehicle has been approved.

The most important first step to take is to conduct your research about the vehicle you are looking at importing into Australia.

One of the first steps is to see if your vehicle is firstly eligible to enter Australia.

There are many different schemes in which vehicles can be imported. You will need to research to see which one applies to your vehicle and circumstances.

When importing vehicles there will always be costs involved from shipping to customs and taxes. Here is a list of potential costs that you will need to take into your calculations when importing the vehicle to Australia.

  •        Freight and Insurance (for transport of the vehicle to Australia)
  •        Customs duties, GST and if applicable Luxury Car Tax
  •        Storage and Delivery charges

                  (especially if you are shipping the vehicle before you arrive in the country)

  •        Logistics services providers charges
  •        Custom brokers charges
  •        Entry processing charges
  •        Steam cleaning for quarantine purposes
  •        Other wharf and transport charges
  •        Insurances
  •       Any costs for repairs/modifications to have the vehicle meet the Australian road standards.

In relation to the vehicle itself, there are regulations that the vehicle needs to meet before it is imported in Australia.

The regulating bodies that are apart of the process include:

  • Customs and Border Protection
  • Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS)
  • Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
  • The State or Territory Regulation the vehicle will be registered and driven in.

Always keeping in mind that some of the processes involved are time sensitive and have deadlines that need to be met. Investigation with each department and asking as many questions as you will smooth the process for importing vehicles.

If you do wish to save time and the possibility of doing the process incorrectly, there are brokers or agents who are experienced in these fields that can work on your behalf. It is certainly something to take into consideration if the vehicle has multiple modifications and you are running out of time.

Applying for the Vehicle Import Approval.

1 – Decide which option that your vehicle will be imported under:

·      Vehicles Manufactured before 1989 Option

·      Personal Import Option

·      Australian Plated Vehicles Option

·      Small Road Trailers Option

·      Race and Rally and Support Vehicles Option

·      Letter of Compliance Option

·      Special Purpose Vehicles Option

·      Exhibition Vehicles Option

·      Non-Road Vehicles Option

·      Vehicles in Transit Option

·      New Vehicles (Including Large Trailers) for use on road Option

·      Test and Evaluation Vehicles

·      Discretionary Approvals

·      Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme

·      Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Register

·      Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)

·      Carnet

There is an eligibility quiz on the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads website that will enable you to select the correct option through a series of questions.

2– Read all the related Material – research the requirement on the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads Website

3 – Download and complete the application form

4 – Pay the application fee of $50 to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

5 – Check that you have all the required additional information

6 – Send off the application with all documentation and photographs attached to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

7 – You will be contacted via email if there is any additional information required. Check this email regularly.

When the vehicle has been cleared through the importing process, in order to register the vehicle in Queensland, the vehicle will need to pass a Safety Certificate Inspection.

This inspection is to check that the vehicle is roadworthy and meets the minimum safety standard set by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

There are some vehicles that do not require approval to be imported into Australia.

They are usually vehicles that will not be used on Australian roads.


  •        Railway or tramway rolling-stock
  •        Tracked vehicles
  •        Bulldozers
  •        Graders
  •        Excavators
  •        Loaders
  •        Dumpers
  •        Agricultural Tractors or trailers
  •        Pedestrian-controlled tractors
  •        Forklifts
  •        Children’s Toys
  •        Fairground Amusements

 However you will need to contact Australian Customs and Border Protection Service for information on how to clear your vehicle.

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