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) (Vimports@infrastructure.gov.au). Import approval should be applied for well before shipment and takes 4–8 weeks. Approval is either as a personal import or if the vehicle is older than 1989. Personal import qualification is for 1 car per person only who is taking up indefinite residence in Australia and for a car that has been owned and used in the UK for a minimum period of 12 calendar months.
The ‘Application for Importing a Vehicle’ (parts 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 only) + ‘Addendum IO1 Personal Imports Option’ (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 only) forms should preferably be completed online (attaching scanned documents) although there is an option to print the forms and post them to Canberra. The $50 fee can be paid by credit / debit card for online applications but only by Australian cheque if the forms are posted. For vehicles older than 1989 not owned for 12 months the ‘Addendum IO4 Vehicles Manufactured Before 1989 Option’ needs parts 1 and 2 completed. It may help to print the forms first and prepare the answers and scanned documents required before then applying online here.
Some import approvals are occasionally only issued after further questions have been answered and so do expect further questions – this is quite normal. Personal import option information is available here.
A personal import application must include copies of proof of Australian residency / visa, driver's licence, passport ID page, the UK purchase invoice and registration (V5C) document and a statement of travel. Also various documents are required as proof of ‘intention to remain in australia’ e.g. UK residence sale, employment resignation, effects shipping, Australian property organised or utility bills, job offer, tax file number application, bank account, medicare registration etc. Each document has a points value and 2–4 documents should suffice for the minimum of 100 points required. The import approval certificate in 4 parts is mailed by DIT to your Australian address – 1 part is for Australian Customs, 1 is for the Registration Authority, 1 is to enable a personal import plate to be issued and 1 is to be kept by 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 all personal import applications is:
“TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN”
Mr. John Smith,
1, High Street,
RE: 2008 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 June, 2012 and registered it in my name on the 6th June, 2012.
I propose to hand over my car for shipment in October, 2013 and plan to leave the UK to travel to Australia permanently in November, 2013.
I have ‘owned and used’ my car in the UK for over 12 months and during this time I have been away from the UK and the car for the following periods:
June 2012 – weekend in Paris, October 2012 – day trip to Belgium, March/April 2013 – 3 weeks visit / holiday to Australia, and June 2013 – 2 week holiday to Spain.
During my 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).