Those looking to ship a car to Australia will find the task fairly straightforward, because the rules and regulations governing car shipping
imports in the country are fairly uncomplicated and simple to follow.
Two options for shipping to Australia
Basically, the government offers two options for importing a car to Australia via international auto transport companies. You can either bring it on a temporary basis, or you can import it into the country permanently. The rules associated with each option vary significantly.
You have two options for importing a car to Australia temporarily. You can either import it under the cover of what is known as a carnet, or you can import it under a subsection of Australia’s Customs Act. A carnet is basically a kind of passport for the car. It is a document that contains all details of your vehicle, including its make, its model year, engine displacement, seating capacity, registration and retail value. A carnet is valid for a period of 12 months, after which the car will need to be exported out of Australia.
To obtain a carnet, you will first be required to deposit a sum equal to the retail value of the car together when any other taxes that may be applicable. The money will be held as a security deposit until you export the car out of Australia at the end of the temporary period. At that time, the entire amount will be refunded to you.
Obtaining a Vehicle Import Approval
The other option for obtaining a temporary permit to import a car to Australia is to obtain a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA) from the country’s Department of Infrastructure and Transport. Temporary Visa holders and visitors to the country can import a car to Australia for a period of up to 12 months, tax free and duty free. Here, again, you will be required to make a security deposit that is equal to the value of the car together with applicable taxes. The Customs agency will return the deposit after you export your car back out of the country at the end of the temporary permit period.
Permanent car import
Australian citizens who are returning to the country permanently or new immigrants to the country can permanently import cars using the same VIA process. However, they will be required to pay all applicable import duties and tariffs before they can clear customers.
Factors to Consider
Before shipping a car to Australia, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
- If you are using a carnet, you will need to obtain it before shipping a car to Australia. If you are importing it through Customs, you will need to obtain the VIA from them first before making your shipping arrangements.
- Your vehicle will be inspected by Customs officials and by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service at the port of entry regardless of how you import the vehicle.
- If you bring in your car on a temporary basis, you will be expected to export your car back out in 12 months or you will forfeit your deposit.
It is generally easier to ship a car to Australia from the US than it is to many other countries, however, it is still advisable to use the services of a professional shipping company to transport your vehicle for you.