International Car Shipping

Personal Import Approval from Department of Infrastructure

All vehicles permanently imported into Australia require import approval from the Department of Transport, Regional Development and Local Government in Canberra.

An Import Approval should be applied for before shipment and takes 4-5 weeks. Approval will be granted as either a Personal Import OR if the vehicle was built prior to the 1st January, 1989.

To qualify for a Personal Import Approval the following restrictions apply:

The Application Form should be completed in conjunction with the Import Approval Instruction Brochure - Personal_Import_Application_1109.pdf for the form and for the full instructions.

Part 1 should have an Australian address if possible, Part 3 the car details.

If time is of the essence, then it can sometimes be quicker to fax (0061262746013) or email ( a copy of the application and follow it up with the original in the post. Sometimes a call or email to the Department 10 to 14 days later can get a positive reply but is generally discouraged by them. Those without permanent residency but with 410 Retirement Visa or 457 Business Visa can normally only obtain an approval once they have arrived in Australia and have supplied additional documentation.

Companies, Corporations, tourists and short term visa holders cannot qualify for a Personal Import Approval.

Personal Import Application

A Personal Import Application must include copies of:

The photo identification page of the passport must be certified by an eligible person. An eligible person can be, amongst others, a solicitor, doctor, nurse, teacher, vet, bank manager or chemist, who must certify that the photo ID is true and correct with their signature, name, address, telephone number and profession.

The ‘Statement of Travel’ should certify:

Example Statement of Travel

An example of a statement, which can be hand-written or typed onto a separate sheet and which should be included with the application form, the A$50 fee and supporting documentation, is:


Mr. John Smith, 1, High Street, Anytown, Buckinghamshire, SL8 1PQ.

RE: 1999 BMW 525I SE, CHASSIS NO. WBAHD123456BJ78910.

I, Mr. John Smith, hereby certify that I purchased the abovementioned motor car in the UK on 5th August, 2002 and registered it in my name on the 6th August, 2002. I propose to hand over my car for shipment in November, 2010 and plan to leave the UK to travel to Australia in December, 2010. I have ‘Owned and Used’ my car in the UK for over seven years and during this time I have been away from the UK and the car for the following periods… October 2009 – day trip to France November / December 2009 – 3 weeks visit/holiday to Australia March 2010 – weekend in Paris July 2010 – two week holiday to Spain CERTIFIED TRUE AND CORRECT, (signed) MR. JOHN SMITH.

PLEASE NOTE:From time to time the Australian Customs Service conducts detailed checks against some incoming motor vehicles. To avoid delays and additional expense it is recommended that all vehicle owners keep as much original supporting documentation as is available which could include a legible copy of the page where a vehicle was advertised for sale in the origin country, copies of bank statements and method of payment for the vehicle, insurance cover notes or certificates, service invoices, parking or speeding tickets, old road worthiness certificates etc.

Personal Vehicle Import Approval Certificate

The Department of Infrastructure issues the Personal Import Approval which comprises four (4) copies and is mailed to the Australian address provided on the application.

  1. One copy is for the Australian Customs Service at the entry port to clear the vehicle.

    The remaining copies are signed by the Registering Authority, as a statement on compliance, at the time of inspection, then:-

  2. One copy is kept by the Registration Authority
  3. One copy is to enable a Personal Import Plate to be issued.
  4. One copy is for the car owners records.

For Any Further Information...

Please Contact Us for any further information regarding Car Shipping to Australia or any queries you may have relating to Personal Import Approval.

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