Importing Motor Vehicles into Australia

Importing Motor Vehicles

importing motor vehicles

If you plan to drive the vehicle on Australia's roads it is essential that you contact the Department of Transport before you import, to ensure that the motor vehicle can meet the safety requirements and to obtain an import approval to be allowed import the vehicle into Australia.

Click to apply for a "Motor Vehicle Import Approval" 

Customs Duties, GST and Luxury Car Tax (LCT) Payable

The Customs Duty is payable on the Customs Value of the vehicle at a rate of 5% for cars and 5% for 4WDs.

However, the 10% GST is paid on the Value of Taxable Importation.
This value is calculated from total of the customs value + freight and insurance + customs duty amounts.

The Luxury Car Tax, which is payable in addition to Customs Duty and GST. Applies only when the Value of Taxable Importation exceeds the "Luxury Car threshold amount.

The Luxury Car Tax is calculated at the rate of 33% and is paid on the amount by which the value exceeds the threshold.

The threshold Value of Taxable Importation is

  • $68740.00
  • Fuel efficient car limit $77565.00
  • current as at 2020/21.

For more information view the

All privately imported vehicles are subject to the same rates of Customs duty , Goods and Services Tax (GST) and where applicable, Luxury Car Tax (LCT) as commercially imported vehicles.

The Customs duty is based on the Customs value of the vehicle. 

Prior to making a decision to import your vehicle you should take into account the additional costs involved such as freight, customs duties and customs entry processing charges, steam cleaning for quarantine purposes, other wharf and transport charges and any costs involved in having the vehicle comply with any state or territory registration requirements.

Valuing your Vehicle for Customs Purposes

The Customs value of imported private motor vehicles and motor cycles (whether new or used) is assessed in the following way:

The Transaction Value Method

The Customs value of new or second hand privately imported motor vehicles or motor cycles will ordinarily be calculated using the "transaction value" method.
Under this method the Customs value is based on the "price actually paid or payable" for the vehicle or cycle in a bona fide sale where the price is not influenced by any other factor.

Alternate Methods of Valuation

When the "transaction value" method cannot be used to determine Customs Value, the alternate methods of valuation, as set out in Section 159 of the Customs Act will be applied in sequential order. 

Where the Fall-Back alternate method is used, Customs will usually accept as the basis for determining the Customs Value, the landed cost of the vehicle or cycle in Australia as assessed by a person qualified in valuing such vehicles and cycles.

Conversion to Australian currency

The Customs value of your vehicle is calculated in Australian dollars. Where it is necessary to convert any prices, costs, etc. from a foreign currency to Australian dollars, the conversion will be based on that rate of exchange in effect in Australia on the date of exportation of your vehicle to Australia.

Concessions for Tourists and Temporary residents

As a tourist or temporary resident, you may bring a motor vehicle or a motorcycle and attached trailer or a caravan to Australia for a period of up to 12 months (or longer under certain circumstances) without paying duty on them, provided they are subsequently exported from Australia. 

For this concession to apply, you will need one of the following:

  • a Carnet De Passages en Douanes issued by an overseas organization which has a reciprocal arrangement with the Australian Automobile Association, or
  • a cash or bank security, equal to the amount of duty and GST and, where applicable, LCT otherwise payable.

If your vehicle is stolen, damaged or destroyed whilst you are in Australia you should notify Customs as soon as possible at your original port of arrival.
All fittings and accessories imported with your motor vehicle, motorcycle, trailer or caravan must also be exported with that same vehicle.


To prevent the entry of diseases, noxious weeds and insect pests into Australia, Quarantine inspects all vehicles on arrival and may require them to be properly cleaned.
This is usually affected by steam cleaning. You should remove all soil and any other matter from your vehicle (including the underside) prior to exportation to Australia.
It is often cheaper and more convenient to have the car thoroughly cleaned before shipment than after arrival in Australia. Vacuuming of the inside, including the boot, washing the outside and steam cleaning underneath is recommended.

Vehicles manufactured in Australia

You may import an Australian manufactured motor vehicle or a motorcycle without paying Customs duty on it, providing you have owned and used the vehicle overseas and there are no outstanding Australian duties, taxes or charges owing on it.
However, you will be required to pay GST and, where applicable, LCT on the vehicle if no GST or applicable LCT was paid when the vehicle was originally exported from Australia & you also need to apply for an import motor vehicle approval.

Motor Vehicle Standards Act

The Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, which is administered by the Vehicle Safety Standards Branch, came into effect on 1 August 1989.

Under this legislation it is an offense to import any new or second-hand vehicle unless: it meets the safety and emissions standards applying to vehicles to be used on Australian roads, or arrangements are in place to modify the vehicle to meet these requirements after its arrival in Australia.

Before importing any vehicle, it is essential that you ensure it will be able to be delivered in Australia by contacting the Vehicle safety standards branch.

Clearance formalities

You will be required to complete all the formalities to clear your motor vehicle through Customs at the port of importation. To avoid any delays, please have available documents such as passport, driver's license, purchase and transportation documents, bills of sale, registration and insurance papers, service records and log books.

Vehicle registration

Australian Customs has no control or authority over motor vehicle or motorcycle specifications or registration requirements in Australia.

Before bringing your vehicle to Australia, you should check with the motor registration Branch of the State or Territory where it is intended to be registered to ensure that it will meet their registration requirements.

Vehicles can be temporarily imported and legally driven on Australian roads for the period of carnet validity (or temporary importation period) provided registration is still current in the vehicle's country of origin.