Importing Vehicles

The term “vehicle” in this information can refer to cars, motorcycles, trailers, campervans, motor homes, boat trailers, caravans, camper trailers or anything else that may drive or be towed on Australian roads and the same rules apply to all vehicles. It is important to realise that a trailer is a vehicle, even if it is used for the transport of a boat, aircraft or anything else.

Whether you have found the car of your dreams overseas or are relocating and want to bring your family car with you, AussieFreight can smooth the way and take all the hassle for you.

Although the price of a vehicle overseas might seem very cheap by Australian standards, you have to consider all the other expenses that must be met before the vehicle is parked in your driveway.

  • Freight
  • Insurance
  • Port storage and transport charges
  • Customs Duty
  • GST
  • Luxury Car Tax
  • Customs entry charges
  • Quarantine inspection and/or processing charges
  • Charges for any modifications required to meet state transport registration and insurance requirements. Different states have different rules but all will generally require cars to be right-hand drive unless they are at least 30 years old.

Before you can import any vehicle into Australia you must have either a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA) for a permanent import or a Carnet for a temporary import.

Vehicle Import Approval (VIA)

If the vehicle is intended to remain in Australia indefinitely then a VIA is required regardless of the value of the vehicle. A VIA can be obtained from the Vehicle Safety Standards Branch of the Department of Infrastructure. The Department of Infrastructure has prepared a very comprehensive booklet that you should read carefully before importing a vehicle.


A carnet (pronounced “car-nay”) is a document allowing the temporary importation of a vehicle or the return of a previously exported vehicle without having to pay any duties or taxes and without having to have a VIA. There are two types of carnet. A CPD Carnet is issued by an overseas motoring organisation (eg AAA, RAC etc) that has a reciprocal arrangement with the Australian Automobile Association. This allows a resident or visitor to bring in a vehicle for a defined period of time. When the carnet expires the vehicle must be re-exported along with all fittings and accessories present at the time of import. An Australian carnet is similar but works in reverse – it allows a vehicle to be exported from Australia for a defined period of time then re-imported before the carnet expires with no duty or taxes payable. If the carnet has expired then a VIA will be required and taxes will be payable.

Personal Effects