Import rules and regulations on Japanese used vehicles in Australia

Australia is located in Oceania between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. Like other countries, Aussies too have passion for Japanese vehicles. Most vehicles imported are manufactured by large manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda, and Mitsubishi. Japan has been an important source of export of used cars and other vehicles. With a year only, large numbers of Japanese used vehicles are imported into country.


The importation of Japanese used vehicles to Australia is a quick transit and is done at competitive prices. It is important that used vehicle imported must meets safety standards required to prevent the environment from hazardous pollutants. There are few guidelines which should be followed while importing used vehicle from Japan. One can import any vehicle which is 15 years or older on the date the vehicle lands in Australia. Importation of right hand drive vehicles is allowed in Australia. Once the vehicle arrives at the port of entry, Quarantine clearance is required from the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS).

Vehicle importation:-
Japanese used cars can be imported in Australia by given ways-

  • Private Importing
  • 1 January 1989
  • RAWS (Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme)

Private importation:-
To import a vehicle as private import, following conditions should be satisfied-

  • Importer must have owned and used the vehicle overseas for over 12 months.
  • Importer must be a Citizen or Permanent Resident of Australia or applying.
  • Must be of age to hold a driver’s license.
  • The vehicle must be roadworthy and should comply with the road safety standards.
  • Importer hasn’t imported any vehicle the year before.

1 January 1989 Rule:-
According to this rule, if a car is manufactured before 1 January 1989, then there is no need for a compliance plate or test. Importer just has to get an “Import Approval”, register and license the vehicle.

RAWS (Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme):-
If the vehicle is manufactured after 1988 and is not a private import, then importer must use a RAW. This scheme imports the vehicle in accordance with the Australian Design Rules (ADR) standards, and then plates it with import and identification plates. Importer can get a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA) from the Vehicle Safety Standards Branch of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.

Documents for application of Import Approval:-

  • A completed Application for Approval to Import a Vehicle.
  • The application fee $50.00 Australian Dollars by cheque, Money Order, or credit card (MasterCard or Visa only). If paying by cheque from overseas, seek advice from your bank on the correct process.
  • A copy of the vehicle purchase documents.
  • A clear picture of the vehicle in its current state.
  • If the vehicle has been modified, supply a complete list of all modifications and evidence of when the modifications were completed.
  • Photographic identification by way of an Australian driver’s license or picture page of a passport of the person making the application.

It is an offence under the MVSA to import, sell or present new or used imported road vehicles to the Australian market for the first time unless those road vehicles meet the National Standards. If the vehicle imported has a value below the import entry threshold (AUD1000), the vehicle may be cleared by Customs by lodging a self-assessed clearance (SAC) declaration. A VIA is required regardless of the value of the road vehicle.

Taxes and Duties:-

Vehicle Type Duty Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Vehicles over 30 years of age, and Motorcycle 0% 10%
New and used vehicle up to 30 years of age 10% 10%
4X4 vehicles/ Commercial vehicles 5% 10%

Luxury Car Tax (LCT) is imposed on vehicles that are valued (GST inclusive) over $57,000 AUD.

Shipping Ports:-
Used vehicles are mainly shipped to the ports of Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Fremantle, Melbourne, Sydney. Generally RoRo (Roll-on Roll-off) shipping method is used for vehicle shipment, if requested a container shipment can be arranged.


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