Motor Vehicle Clearance
Whether you are importing a vehicle you have owned for a lifetime or a recently purchased vehicle there are several challenges and obstacles to navigate. Atlas Customs has a long history of assisting client import their rides, we have an extensive knowledge of the customs tariff and opportunities to minimise your tax obligations. Additionally, we have developed an extensive network of agents who can assist you as far you require in handing you a vehicle ready to hit the road.
We can assist with any part of the importation process including.
Generally Customs Entries lodged within 48 hours, Quarantine inspections will be dependant on local quarantine department capabilities.
Vehicle Import Approvals from $300 + GST
Vehicle Valuation from $300 + GST
Vehicle Customs Clearance from $220 + GST
Vehicle Compliance from $750 + GST
More information can be found at;
Each of these approvals incorporates permission to import a vehicle. It is an offence to import a road vehicle without obtaining one of the above approvals.
Before importing a road vehicle, consider the costs of importation such as:
A completed application for an import approval, with all the necessary supporting documentation, will generally be assessed by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications within 30 working days of receipt.
A road vehicle is:
It is an offence to import, sell or present new or used imported road motor vehicles to the Australian market for the first time unless they meet the Australian Design Rules.
Road vehicle kits including disassembled or partly disassembled road vehicles must be assessed by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. If they determine an import approval is not required, documentation similar to a non RAV entry approval will be issued. This will allow the kit or disassembled vehicle to be released from customs control.
Road vehicle parts do not require an import approval. However, for the purposes of both tariff classification and obtaining an import approval, a road vehicle is not considered to be parts just because it is unassembled, dismantled or incomplete. If you do intend to import an unassembled, dismantled or incomplete road vehicle, we recommend that you seek advice from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.
If a road vehicle assembly or component being imported bears a road vehicle identification chassis number and is to be reassembled for use on public roads, then an import approval is required.
A ‘non-road vehicle’ (often referred to as ‘non-transport equipment’ and/or ‘off-road vehicles’) is a vehicle that is not principally designed for road travel and/or is not permitted to be driven on public roads.
Non-road vehicles do not need an import approval. However, if there is any uncertainty that a vehicle is a non-road vehicle the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications can assess whether the vehicle requires an import approval or determine that they are not road vehicles. If a vehicle is assessed as a non-road vehicle, a notice advising the thing is not a road vehicle will be issued. This will allow the vehicle to be released from customs control.
The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications has examples of non-road vehicles and information on vehicle assessment on their Not a road vehicle webpage.
Classes of vehicles that generally require an import approval can be found in Chapter 87 of Schedule 3 of the Customs Tariff Act 1995 (the Customs Tariff Act).
Other equipment that may require an import approval (outside Chapter 87 of the Customs Tariff Act) include mobile light towers, mobile compressors, mobile generators and other similar equipment if mounted on wheels and that can be towed or driven on the road.
Road vehicles (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). These import licences are issued under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989.
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 has 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 prohibited. You must ensure your vehicle (whether in a commercial or private importation) does not contain any asbestos before you or your supplier ship it to Australia.
When the Australian Border Force (ABF) judge that your vehicle is a risk of containing asbestos, the ABF will require assurances that parts or components do not contain asbestos. If adequate assurance is not provided, you will face delays and be responsible for costs incurred if the vehicle is held at the border for the purposes of sampling and testing. Importers should be familiar with the information on the asbestos webpage.
See the factsheet: Managing the risk of asbestos when importing a motor vehicle (127KB PDF).
When importing motor vehicles into Australia, it is your responsibility to ensure each vehicle is clean and free of contamination of biosecurity concern, internally and externally, before it arrives in Australia.
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. You are responsible for all inspection charges.
It is your responsibility to contact the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment regional office at the port of arrival to arrange a vehicle inspection. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment will tell you about the inspection process and required documentation.
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website contains more information on Importing motor vehicles, motorcycles, machinery and tyres.
For information on how the customs value of imported goods is determined see the Valuation of Imported Goods (426KB PDF) Fact Sheet.
More information is available about how the customs value of your imported road vehicle is determined in the Guide to the valuation of imported road vehicles (including motorcycles and trailers). (66KB PDF)
Goods you import into Australia require classification under the Customs Tariff Act 1995 (the Customs Tariff Act). The customs duty rate payable is determined by the tariff classification of your goods. Duty is payable on the customs value of the goods.
GST applies to most imported goods. There are a few exemptions from the GST, one being road vehicles for disabled persons, subject to certain conditions. If no exemptions apply, GST is applied at ten per cent of the value of the taxable importation (VoTI).
LCT applies to road vehicles, except motor cycles or similar vehicles, that are designed to carry a load of less than two tonnes and fewer than nine passengers and are above a certain value
The value above which the LCT becomes payable is the LCT threshold. LCT is imposed at the rate of 33 per cent on the amount above the LCT threshold.
The Australian Taxation Office website contains further information on Luxury car tax and thresholds.
Note: You do not need to calculate the duty, GST or LCT (if applicable). We will provide you with an Outstanding Payment Advice when your Import Declaration is processed. This Advice will show all amounts payable to us relating to your goods.
Tourists or temporary residents can import road vehicles into Australia on a temporary basis (for a period of up to 12 months), without paying duty and taxes, provided conditions are met.
If you temporarily import your road vehicle using a CPD carnet an import approval is not required.
More information is available on temporary importations, including securities and carnets.
If your vehicle is returning to Australia and has previously left Australia on an Australian Carnet, you do not need to obtain an import approval if it is being imported before the expiry date of the carnet. If the carnet has expired, you will need to obtain an import approval.
An import approval is required for all returning Australian road vehicles including road vehicles that have been modified, before we can authorise your vehicle to be released from customs control. This does not apply to vehicles returning on an Australian carnet.
Provided an import approval is obtained prior to import, you may be able to claim concessional treatment under Items 17 and 20 to Schedule 4 of the Customs Tariff Act which provides a concessional rates of customs duty and taxes for returned Australian goods, provided certain conditions are met.