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Australia Car Shipping and Import

Our complete guide to shipping your car to Australia

Information on Australian car import duties and taxes (GST) and how Autoshippers unique R-Rak car shipping system works. Get the facts about shipping your car to Australia and know before you go to avoid delays and problems.

We hope the information provided here will assist you in shipping your car to Australia, we also have an experienced team of professionals who will guide you through the process to ensure the safe and secure shipping of your vehicle.

Please feel free to call us on 0800 3890784 for any further information.

Download this Australia Car Shipping guide page as a PDF
Car Shipping Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Importing a motor vehicle (abf.gov.au)
Australia Application for Importing a Vehicle
8 steps to import a vehicle into Australia (infrastructure.gov.au)
Guide to The Valuation of Imported Road Vehicles
Car Shipping Checklist

Regulations

To import a vehicle into Australia there are regulations with which vehicles must comply. The age and origin of the vehicle (based on original manufacture) along with the status of the importer play an important role in whether a vehicle can be imported into Australia and what documentation may be required.

While Australia has very strict safety and emissions standards and modification work that may be required to bring non-compliant vehicles in line with required standards can be expensive, conversion or modification work is not required for vehicles falling into any one of the below categories:

  • Vehicle has been owned and used in the country of origin for a period of more than twelve months by the person importing the vehicle into Australia.
  • The vehicle was originally manufactured or sold in Australia and carries the compliance plate fitted at the time of original manufacture.
  • The vehicle was newly purchased having been manufactured to comply with Australian safety and emission standards.

To find out which import option best suits your requirements, please take a look at the Eligibility Assessment on the Australian Department of Infrastructure and Transport website which assists you in assessing which option may be the most appropriate for you.

Vehicle Import Approval (VIA)

Applications normally take between 4-6 weeks to be processed and returned. Vehicles cannot be shipped from the UK until the import approval has been issued. If your vehicle arrives in Australia before the VIA is issued you may incur storage costs and other charges, and if a VIA is not issued you vehicle will need to be exported or destroyed at your expense.

Applying for Your VIA

Vehicle Import Approval applications must be made to the Australian Department of Infrastructure and Transport. The quickest way of submitting your application is by using their online portal that can be found here. When you make your application online you will need to make a payment of AU$50 to cover the application fee and have scanned copies of required documentation to attach to and submit with your application.

Preparation for Quarantine inspection

Before your vehicle is shipped you should make sure that it is well cleaned. On arrival in Australia all vehicles are inspected by the Australian Department for Agriculture for ‘cleanliness’. Typical areas that are frequently overlooked when cleaning a vehicle for shipment are:

  • Wheels/tyres, Wheel arches and Mud guards
  • Spare tyre, Spare wheel housing and Boot.

Before release from customs control, Biosecurity Officers from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment inspect road vehicles for cleanliness on arrival in Australia. Please note that you are responsible for all inspection charges.

Documentation we need

To ship your vehicle to Australia there are a few things that you will need to provide us with:

  • A Copy of the V5 (Licence Document) for your vehicle – we do not need the original.
  • A Copy of your Passport Photopage.

We will also require a copy of your VIA to arrange shipment of your vehicle from the UK.

On arrival in Australia

When your vehicle arrives in Australia there are some standard costs you should expect to pay in relation to fees levied by the port and local agent in respect of handling your vehicle at the port and for the completion of customs Clearance formalities. We have negotiated preferential rates for discharge, and handling in Australia for our customers and are pleased to provide an indication of these costs below:

Car Import Charges in Australia

Details of Service RoRo Costs Shared Container Costs
Port service charges container trucking, container unpacking, 1st AQIS inspection n/a Car AU$ 900
SUV AU$ 1400
Port service charges and handling Car AU$ 220 n/a
SUV AU$ 265
Valuation fee AU$ 330 AU$ 320
Customs Clearance AU$ 220 AU$ 250
Declaration processing fee n/a AU$ 210
Quarantine fee AU$ 140 AU$ 239
AQIS attendance fee AU$ 120 AU$ 110
Sea cargo automation AU$ 45 AU$ 55
Delivery order fee AU$ 85 AU$ 65
Personal effects surcharge (if effects in vehicle) n/a AU$ 90
Total
(R-Rak total excl. personal effects surcharge)
Car AU$ 1160 Car AU$ 2149
SUV AU$ 2649 SUV AU$ 1205
Charges correct at the time of publishing based on an average vehicle size.

Please note that the above charges are excluding of GST or Duty, see below, and are up to first AQIS Inspection only.Additional charges might apply if the cargo fails the AQIS inspection. Customs cleaning and re-inspection will then be necessary and additional charges apply.

Destination charges aside, if you'd like more information on car shipping costs to Australia, see 'how much does it cost to ship a car to Australia' for a breakdown.

Duties and Taxes

The table below provides a summary of Duty and GST rates applied by Australian customs:

Import Duty is calculated at the rates shown below based purely on the value placed on your vehicle following it valuation by Australian Authorities.

GST is calculated at the below rate and is based on the Value of the Taxable Importation (VoTI) and this is calculated as: Customs Value + Duty + Shipping and Insurance costs of transporting your vehicle to Australia.

Duty GST
Vehicles over 30 years old and motorcycles 0% 10%
Vehicles up to 30 years old including 4x4, off road vehicles and commercial vehicles 5% 10%

Luxury Car Tax (LCT)

Most of the information including calculations is available on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

Registration

Once a vehicle has been customs cleared into Australia and customs duties and GST have been paid, it must be checked by the State department Motor Vehicle Registration service who will examine the vehicles (similar to an MOT) and issue a road worthiness certificate. This should be presented along with other vehicle documentation at the registration counter who on payment of registration and roadworthy examination fees provide the yearly registration label to be displayed in the vehicles windscreen (similar to a tax disc) and will also provide the Australian number plates assigned to the vehicle. When registering your vehicle, stamp duty fees are payable to the local state registration authorities.

Cars (and other equipment such as boats and caravans) equipped with an air-conditioner or a refrigeration system might require an import licence for ozone depleting substances (ODS) and synthetic greenhouse gases (SGG).

Before importing a road vehicle with an air-conditioner or refrigeration system, you must find out the type and quantity of gas contained in the equipment (if gassed) so that you can complete licensing and reporting requirements.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website provide more information about Importing vehicles, boats, caravans or and other equipment that may contain refrigerant gas into Australia, including how to apply for a licence and exceptions.

The importation of asbestos into Australia is strictly prohibited. You must ensure your vehicle does not contain any asbestos before you ship it to Australia.

If the Australian Border Force (ABF) decide that your vehicle is a risk of containing asbestos, they will require assurances that parts or components do not contain asbestos. If adequate assurance is not provided, you could face delays and will be responsible for costs incurred if the vehicle is held at the border for the purposes of sampling and testing.

Please find more information regarding asbestos here and the ABF have a factsheet “Managing the risk of asbestos when importing a motor vehicle” with further information regarding asbestos when importing vehicles

Tourists or temporary residents can import road vehicles into Australia on a temporary basis without the requirement to pay duty and taxes, provided certain conditions are met. The temporary import is possible for a period of 12 months, and if you temporarily import your vehicle using a CPD carnet you do not require a VIA.

Please find more information on temporary imports here.

If you are a member of a “visiting force” that is subject to a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) then you do not need to apply for a VIA to import your vehicle.

You may also be able to claim a preferential rate for customs duty and taxes, again provided certain conditions are met. This would be under item 11 of schedule 4 to the customs tariff act.

Please contact us on 0800 389 0784 for any further information

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