CAR SHIPPING TO AUSTRALIA – PERSONAL IMPORT APPROVAL
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All vehicles imported into Australia require import approval from the DEPARTMENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT in Canberra (DIT). Import approval should be applied for well before shipment and takes 4–8 weeks. Vehicle approval is either as a personal import or if the vehicle is older than 1989. Personal import qualification is for one car per person that has been owned and used in the UK for a minimum period of 12 calendar months and taking up indefinite residence in Australia.
The IO1 ‘personal import approval’ application form should be completed in conjunction with the Instructions both of which, if not already available, can be downloaded from the DIT website. Part 1 should have an Australian address, part 2 normally left blank, part 3 the car details, part 4 declaration of Australian residency, part 5 dates of 12 months use and ownership, part 6 list of document in 3 sections (first 6 compulsory, next 6 recommended if possible and available and ditto the last 4), part 7 signature and date, part 8 warning and part 9 payment. For vehicles older than 1989 not owned for 12 months the other import application form (IO2) needs parts 1, 3, 4, 15 and 16 completed.
If time is of the essence then it can sometimes be quicker to fax (0061262746013) or email (Vimports@infrastructure.gov.au) a copy application and follow it up with the original in the post and sometimes a call or email to DIT about 28 days later can get a positive reply. Approvals for those without permanent residency but with 410 retirement or 457 business or other visas are occasionally only issued after further questions have been answered and so do expect further questions – this is quite normal. Companies, corporations, tourist and short-term visa holders cannot qualify a vehicle as a personal import.
A personal import application must include copies of every page of a vehicle owner's passport and their drivers licence, a copy of the UK purchase invoice and registration (V5C) document and a statement of travel. The import approval certificate in 4 parts is mailed by DIT to the Australian address provided – one part is for the Australian Customs Service at the entry port, one is for the Registration Authority, one is to enable a personal import sticker to be issued and one is for the car owner.
The ‘satement of travel’ should certify the date of purchase as on the invoice, the date of registration in your name as on the registration document, the date of handover of the car for shipment and your planned departure from the UK, details of any overseas trips from the UK since the purchase date and the actual period that qualifies for ‘the minimum 12 months period of use and ownership’. Periods away from the vehicle overseas are allowed as long as the vehicle remained taxed, insured and left at the UK residence address in a roadworthy and useable condition – UK residence must be retained during any absences and so lengthy stays in other countries or visits to Australia may mean that the personal import qualifying status is lost. 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:
“TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN”
Mr. John Smith,
1, High Street,
RE: 2006 BMW 525I SE, CHASSIS NO. ABCDEF12345678910.
I, Mr. John Smith, hereby certify that I purchased the above mentioned motor car in the UK on 5th September, 2011 and registered it in my name on the 6th September, 2011.
I propose to hand over my car for shipment in January, 2013 and plan to leave the UK to travel to Australia permanently in March, 2013.
I have ‘owned and used’ my car in the UK for over 18 months and during this time I have been away from the UK and the car for the following periods:
October 2011 – day trip to France, March / April 2012 – 3 weeks visit / holiday to Australia, June 2012 – weekend in Paris and August 2012 – two week holiday to Spain.
During absence from the UK the vehicle remained at my residence taxed and insured and able to have been used if I had remained in the UK.
CERTIFIED TRUE AND CORRECT,
(signed) MR. JOHN SMITH.
Further information about customs valuations, plus a guide to prices and useful website and contact addresses, can be found in the Australia Info Pack (PDF).