Journey of Imported Vehicle from Japan to Australia

Journey of Imported Vehicle from Japan to Australia

 Journey of Imported Vehicle from Japan to Australia


Importing your favorite vehicle from Japan to Australia? It is very obvious to get excited about your desired vehicle and importing at your home. Apart from your excitement, it is very important for you to be aware of the challenges, regulations, steps to follow, costs and other things that are involved in importing used vehicles from Japan. So, you can conveniently and confidently import your Japanese vehicle because it is true, importing in Australia is not a easy task you need to be more active and aware, importing in Australia involves complicated process and you may find yourself surrounded with questions like what to do first, how to get your all documentation done and what payments you need to made and all things

related to importing your vehicle. But don’t worry here is the answers of all your queries and solutions of all your confusion. One by one we will discuss from the initial step to ending one:



The very first thing you need to do is you have to research that is the vehicle you are importing is eligible for importation in Australia? As you can not import all the vehicles in Australia, vehicles with some certain circumstances are only allowed to import.


Have a look what kind of vehicles are allowed for importation in Australia:

1. Classic Cars:

You can import vehicles which are made previous to 1989 which do not have received any major modification, than it can be imported under the Pre-1989 scheme. If there is any modification than you should be informed to the department of infrastructure to determine if approval will be granted.

2. Migrating to Australia:

It is permitted if you are migrating to Australia, than in that scenario government will provide you an Import permit specific for your situation, but the condition is as long as you have lived Japan and owned your car for more than 12 months than only your vehicle is eligible under the Personal Import Scheme and you are allowed to import only one vehicle in every 5 years.

3. Enthusiast Cars:

Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles Scheme(SEVS) grants permission for Enthusiast cars, only for certain cars and which are approved on the SEVS list, you can check out about your vehicle is it already approved on the RAWS Australia website, and if in case the vehicle is not approved already, than you can apply to the RVCS  to have make & model of the vehicle you are wishing to import to Australia added to the list.

4. New cars and any vehicle manufactured post 1989:

Any vehicle manufactured after 1989 which is not eligible for one of the other import permits are available but they need to get compiled to Australian standard by a RAWS approved workshop. The RAWS Workshop must issue you the Import permit and handle the conversation to Australian Standards.

5. Race Cars:

One can import vehicles which are not designed for public road use and specifically for racing have there on permit. Vehicles entering in Australia for a racing must have to provide the details of the race and driver to obtain approval.

6. Off Road Vehicles:

Those Vehicles which are not designed to go on public roads but after a permit from Australian Customs, they can get gain clearance into Australia. The vehicle must be designed for off road use and can never be registered for use on public roads in Australia. 

7. Temporary Imports:

For Temporary Importation, you should have a Carnet de Passages (customs document that identifies a traveller's motor vehicle or other valuable equipment or baggage). The car must not be sold in Australia and must be re-exported back to the originating country within 12 months. For that, you will also have to pay a bond or should have a bank guarantee covering the import taxes for Customs.

8. Additional Import Permits:

There are also several other discretionary vehicles which can gain import permits such as, the vehicles for exhibitions, military forces, special purpose vehicles and repairs available. 

Note: This option is covered by Section 19 of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and Regulation 11 of the Motor Vehicle Standards Regulations 1989.

9. Air Conditioning:

All air conditioning units must also have to get a seperate CFC Permit or must have removed the gases from the unit prior to Shipping to Australia & then declared to customs.

10. Left Hand Drive Vehicles:

The same Import Permit schemes above mentioned applies to left-hand drive cars as for right-hand drive cars but only cars older than 30 years can generally be registered as a left-hand drive vehicle in most states of Australia.
Now, you can check the vehicle you are wishing to import, comes under which category. After deciding that, you have to choose an option to import your vehicle, under which you can apply for approval.


2. The second step you need to proceed for applying for Vehicle approval

Applying for vehicle approval includes the 3 steps:

(A). You need to register with department:

You need to submit the application form for vehicle import approvals through secure client portal, and before submitting your application request you have to register with department. This process includes photo providing photo identification having legal stamp on it like passport identity page or driving license for assuring the applicant or company presentor is a genuine person. 

Vehicle importers range from global automotive manufacturers to one-off, individual importers. You will need to select the approach that is best suited to your circumstances.

(B). Registration for an individual:

If you are an individual, acting without an agent, and you have register yourself through the Client Portal. Then the Department will send you an email confirming your registration, you may then use the portal to complete and submit your import application.

Note: In case you are using an agent, they can submit and correspond with department on behalf of yours.

Agents that are registered with the department are not verified, cleared or endorsed by the department. Importers will need to conduct their own checks as to whether the agent they select is suitable for them. 

If you are not already registered, you may provide your agent with a letter of authorization. The letter of authorization provides the Department with evidence of the agent's authority to act on behalf of you. Then agent can register your details, complete the application and submit the application on your behalf. The agent must need to attach the letter of authorization along with the application. Letters of authorization must contain certain types of information. Details to be included are outlined at the Letter of authorization page.

Alternatively, you may register yourself and nominate your agent through the Client Portal in the My Agents tab. Then after your agent will be able to complete and submit applications on your behalf.  If you nominate your agent in this way than your hired agent do not need a separate letter of authorization. You must make sure that you are hiring an agent who is already registered because only registered agents can be nominated. 


Registration for an organization:

This may be performed by an internal representative of the organization known as a corporate agent, through the Client Portal. Your representative needs to confirm that they have authority to act on behalf of the organization through the provision of a letter of authorization while registering. Letters of authorization you have provided to the representative must contain certain types of information as outlined in the Letter of authorization page.

Once you registered, the client portal may be used to submit applications on behalf of the organization. Additional representatives may also be added using the "My Agents" section and selecting add Corporate Agent.

You need to provide organization details such as the organization name and company number they are verified against the registers of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Agents should ensure that details provided to the Department are correct and matching with the details held by these registers.


Registration of Agents: 

A. Registering Yourself:

In order to submit applications on behalf of others, you need to enroll and register yourself on the client portal, after your registration your details will be available to be viewed by any registered portal user.

B. Registering your Clients:

You may also register your clients if they do not have any previous registration, this can be done at the time of submitting the first application. While registering an applicant in this way you will need to attach a letter of authorization, this provides the Department with evidence of your authority to act and which must added certain types of information. Details that to be included are outlined at the Letter of authorisation page.

C. Nomination by your Clients:

Alternatively, your clients may register themselves - and nominate you as their agent - through their own client portal. Agents nominated in this manner do not need a separate letter of authorisation.


2. Complete and submit your vehicle import approval application form:

Once you are registered with department, you can complete and submit an application by logging onto the Client Portal and going to the 'Enter New Application' tab. Note that loading times for the form may vary depending on your internet connection.

3. Payment:

Once you are done with the completion and submission of your application form you may have to pay the $50 application fee by credit card using your client portal.

Account Expiry: Portal accounts expire after 60 days of inactivity. You will receive an email notification reminding you to log into your account, to maintain its currency. To reactivate an expired account, you will need to contact the Department.


3. Receive your vehicle import approval:

After the registration and submission of your application, department will access your application, and you will be notified by department regarding whether your application has been approved or rejected. The Department will send its decision via the email address mentioned in your application.

When your application is approved, it may be possible that in your approval statement there may be some certain instructions need to be followed for using your vehicle on road. 


4. The fourth step you need to arrange for shipping for your vehicle:

Before of shipping you need to take care of certain things, and also along with them you must need know about the import regulation in Australia:

The things you need to take care:

  • Prior to shipping, you must ensure that car to be imported is steam cleaned properly inside and outside to remove any materials that may carry a quarantine risk (which may cause contagious disease) 
  • Before of shipping, check if it is necessary to remove any air-conditioning gas than it must get done.
  • Arrange for asbestos testing and removal, if necessary.


Time to update yourself with import rules and regulation in Australia:

As we earlier discussed about those certain vehicles and their conditions which are permitted for importation in Australia, apart of that there are some more regulations which you must need to follow during importing your wished vehicle.

  • If you are wanting to import, than vehicle to be imported must meet minimum safety standards that maintain the safest possible environment for all road users and our community. 
  • Vehicle to be imported must have an identification plate approval,for more information regarding this you can access from the Department’s Road Vehicle Certification Scheme website. 

If you want to import your vehicle through RAWs:

  • These are the approved companies known as Registered Automotive Workshops which have authority to import a limited range of used vehicles on behalf of individuals.
  • For the eligibility to process through RAWs your make and model of vehicle you have to search the Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme (SEVS) register. If your vehicle varies with the type which are on the SEVS register than it is possible for you to find a RAW that will import your vehicle by using the Search for a RAW facility on the RAWS website.  

Note: If your vehicle type not varies with the search for a RAW or the SEVS register you could contact a RAW that processes similar vehicles to yours or apply for having a vehicle added to the SEVS register. Instructions for applying for SEVS is available on the SEVS website. Eligibility for SEVS is only the first step in the process of having your vehicle imported to Australia. Kindly, be aware that vehicles imported by RAWs must undergo a range of modifications and maintenance procedures to ensure that they meet with minimum safety and environmental standards. You will be charged for this work and the costs of importation by the RAW.

  1. It is mandatory for a vehicle to have a certificate of Vehicle Import Approval to import a vehicle. The vehicle will not be released from the Department of Home Affairs unless it has a Vehicle Import Approval.
  2. All costs incurred in this process are paid by the importer.
  3. If the vehicle from overseas containing components that includes asbestos, are not allowed to import and it can not be imported in any condition. For more information, you may refer to the Department of Home Affairs.
  4. An application for a Vehicle Import Approval, with all necessary supporting documentation will generally be assessed by the Department within 20 working days of receipt (including payment of the lodgement fee). This process will take longer if the necessary supporting documentation is not initially provided, if the original application is incomplete or any further information or clarification is required. 
  5. Now, the turn is of getting custom clearance, this part includes:
  • Lodging an import declaration
  • Paying Customs duty
  • Paying Goods & Services Tax (GST)
  • Paying Luxury Car Tax, if required
  • Ensure there is no asbestos


Import declaration:

Declarations are used by importers, or licensed customs brokers acting on their behalf, to clear imported goods from customs control into the commerce of Australia (home consumption) or into a licensed warehouse.

Generally, all vehicles imported into Australia are liable for duties and taxes in some cases there are exemption or concession applies. There are exclusions and restrictions to the use of the concessions. More information can be obtain Schedule 4 of the Customs Tariff Act 1995.

  • You need to contact with Department of infrastructure and Regional Development before importing any motor vehicle.
  • Apply for a VIA through the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, take a valid Vehicle Import Approval, before of that do not make any arrangement to transport your road vehicle to Australia. Otherwise, it is an offence to ship a road vehicle before obtaining a VIA.
  • When you have started transport of your road vehicle to Australia, you must lodge an Import Declaration with Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

Your vehicle will not be cleared from customs control until you have provided a valid VIA for that road vehicle to Department of Infrastructure and you have paid customs duty, goods and services tax (GST), luxury car tax (LCT) and other charges, where applicable.

It is compulsory to ensure vehicle is clean and free of contamination of biosecurity concern, properly internally and externally, before it is imported in Australia.

If your road vehicle is shipped to Australia before you received a VIA, and/or it arrives before your VIA application is processed, you may imposed by storage costs and other charges until the vehicle is cleared. If you do not have a VIA, your vehicle will be exported or destroyed at your expense.


Duty Rates Taxes:

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has sole jurisdiction to clear imports. 

1. Indirect Taxes: Australia charges Goods and service Tax for imported vehicles. 

2. Exchange Rates: The importer have to pay the custom value for the imported Japanese used vehicle in Australian currency, Japanese currency must be converted into Australian currency at the rate of exchange prevailing on the day of export of the goods (for example, not on the day the goods arrive in Australia).

The Exchange Rate is calculated by the Comptroller-General of Customs, the Exchange Rates are incorporated weekly and published in the Government Gazette each Wednesday.

3. Refund of custom import duty: 

There are certain circumstances under which might be entitled to a refund of some, or all, of the custom duty that you have paid earlier on imported goods. The authority which is certified to manage the refunds of Customs import duty and indirect taxes is National Refunds Centre, and it is collected through the Integrated Cargo System (ICS) on a full import declaration (FID), self-assessed clearance (SAC), or periodic return (return).

4. Goods and Services Tax (GST):

There is liability to pay a 10 percent GST for imports rests with the importer. It is exempted for temporary importation of vehicles you are not required to made payment. Imported, second-hand vehicles are treated the same way as any taxable goods and are therefore subject to GST. Under the GST, the amount paid or payable for international transport and insurance is also added to the taxable importation value. You can have further information on GST the Australian Tax Office website.

5. GST on low value imported goods:

From 1 July 2018, Vehicles with a customs value of AUD 1000 or less than this value vehicle may attract the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at the point of sale if imported from Japan by consumers in Australia.

There will be no changes to:

  • The AUD1000 threshold for reporting and collection of duties and taxes at the border.
  • No changes are made on border clearance processes.

Further information about GST on low value goods is available on the ATO website.



The minimum amount of documentation required for customs clearance comprises of the following documents : 

  1. You should have a completed Customs Entry or Informal Clearance Document (ICD).
  2. You will be require an air waybill (AWB) or bill of lading (BLAD), 
  3. Along with that invoices and other documents related to the importation. 
  4. Customs does not require the completion of a special form of invoice. 
  5. The normal commercial invoices, bills of lading, and receipts are acceptable. 

These documents should contain the following information: invoice terms (e.g., FOB, CIF) name and address of the seller of the goods (Consignor) monetary unit referred to on invoice (e.g. AUD, USD), and country of origin.

This is the whole journey of an imported Japanese vehicle to Australia, lacking in any step or documentation may become hurdle in importing your vehicle from Japan, So it is recommended to have all and proper knowledge regarding this and experience your desired vehicle in Australia.




Related Links:


Share post