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Answering Some Basic Questions About Importing a Car to Australia

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You might be thinking of importing a car to Australia if you've recently moved to the country and want to bring your old car with you, or you are looking to purchase a certain foreign car from a manufacturer not located in Australia. It is not difficult to import a car to Australia, either for a short-term stay or for your permanent use, but you can't simply have that car driven or flown into the country and then simply buy a license plate for it. Note a few questions you might have about the process and a few details involved, so you know if this is the right choice for your vehicle import and driving needs in the country. 

Do you get approval for the vehicle at the border?

Bringing anything over the border and into Australia involves the customs department and their required paperwork, and vehicles are no different. To import a vehicle, you will need to present to customs what is called a vehicle import approval; this is filled out and approved of before your vehicle is allowed to cross the border and stay in the country. Without this paperwork and prior approval, your vehicle may be held in storage at a port of entry, and you would not be allowed to retrieve it. It's often good to wait on arranging for the vehicle's transport until this import approval is in place.

Does customs provide the vehicle import approval?

While the customs department will need this import approval for your vehicle, you must contact the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development for the forms needed for your vehicle's approval. They will note the requirements for your vehicle, depending on its age, mileage, and expected use, and create the approval you will need to then provide to customs.

What if the vehicle will only be used for weekends or for show?

There are several different import options when it comes to bringing a vehicle to Australia, and this includes test vehicles, vehicles that are not designed for driving on standard roads such as cranes and forklifts, and even vehicles that will be used solely for racing, road rallies, and display. Each of these different import options will have their own required paperwork, different than the paperwork needed for everyday commuter vehicles, but may be a better fit for your vehicle and ensure you can import it quickly and easily for use in Australia.