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Bringing your car to Australia

The information contained herewith is for the temporary importation of motor vehicles and motorcycles.

There are two methods for temporarily importing your vehicle into Australia for touring purposes. These are undercover of a carnet or under section 162 of the Customs Act.

For information about the permanent importation of a motor vehicle contact:

  • The Australian Customs Service regarding Duty, Goods and Services Tax and quarantine issues; and
  • The Department of Transport and Regional Services regarding permit requirements.

The contact details for both departments are listed at the end of this brochure.

The simplest way to bring your vehicle to Australia on a temporary basis is by Carnet De Passages en Douane (CPD carnet).

Carnets can be obtained for motor vehicles, motorcycles, campervans, four wheel drive vehicles, caravans and trailers. Carnets are issued in accordance with the Customs Convention on the Temporary Importation of Private Motor Vehicles. Vehicles issued a carnet may not be lent, sold, mortgaged, hired, exchanged, given away or otherwise disposed of while in Australia.

Carnets are available from the motoring organisation in your country of residence. For USA residents, carnets are available from the Canadian Automobile Association in Ottawa.

If you are going to use a carnet to temporarily import your vehicle into Australia you must obtain the carnet before the vehicle arrives in Australia.

A carnet is similar to a personal passport and contains all the relevant information about the vehicle – make, model, colour, engine capacity, seating capacity, registration number, owner and value.

A carnet is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

There are a number of conditions attached to the use of carnets in Australia. Some of those conditions are:

  • The vehicle must be exported from Australia prior to or on the expiry date of the carnet;
  • It is a condition of use of a carnet in Australia that you, do not leave the vehicle that is covered by a carnet in Australia while you are not here. Should you do so, this is a breach of the provisions of the Customs Act 1901 and Customs Regulations 1926. Once a breach has occurred, the security amount equivalent to the duty and GST (and Luxury Car Tax (LCT), if applicable) will be called up by Customs.

Security Required

To obtain a carnet you have to provide the issuing motoring organisation with a security equivalent to approximately 100% of the market value of the vehicle (26% for motorcycles). Should a breach of the Customs regulations occur, the Customs duty rate for passenger motor vehicles is 15% and $12,000 per vehicle. GST is charged in addition to this and is charged at a rate of 10% of the VoTI. The VoTI is equal to the sum of the Customs value, plus the Customs duty, plus the cost of transporting the goods to Australia and for insuring the goods for that transport.

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