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Car Import to Australia: Classic Car Import Approval

With the excitement riding high of finding and buying a classic car from the USA , the attention quickly turns to what is required to import the vehicle to Australia safely and seamlessly.

For a first time buyer of a classic vehicle or motorcycle it is very important to understand that an import approval is required for the vehicle or motorcycle to be eligible for import to Australia.   Although a critical part of the process, the application of the import approval and the requirements to be able to have one granted is often unknown and can cause a problem on the vehicle’s arrival if the correct steps are not followed.

The Import approval process is governed by the Department of Infrastructure and as of the 1st July 2021 is now applied for through a new system called Rover.

For any one that is new to importing a car to Australia and hasn’t gone through this process before it can seem rather daunting as the information that is found on the Department of Infrastructure’s website is extremely lengthy and talks to many scenarios that do not affect the importation of a non-modified vehicle that is 25 years or older.

The following information may help to simplify the process and provide you some practical insight as to what is required when considering applying for your import approval.

The onus is on the importer to set up a profile in Rover and submit 100 points of ID.  In terms of the criteria set out by the Department, a picture copy of a passport and your license picture copy will get you above the 100 points.    If you do not have a passport then other forms of secondary ID are able to be used such as a Medicare card  or utilities bills. 

A link to this area to set up a profile is - https://rover.infrastructure.gov.au

Before being able to apply for an import approval the Rover team must verify your identification. This process may take 5 days.

It is important that the correct type of photos are uploaded of the vehicle .  For each vehicle you will need –

  1. Front external
  2. Rear external
  3. Side External
  4. Internal 
  5. Engine bay 
  6. ID plate/badge

The Department of Infrastructure will have questions if a vehicle has been modified –

If the vehicle has been significantly modified, the modifications were completed more than 25 years ago

For a car or light commercial vehicle, significant modifications include:

  • body modifications
  • chassis modifications
  • modifications to the drivetrain
  • braking modifications
  • steering conversion

If your vehicle falls into this category you will be required to provide documented evidence.

More information on Rover can be found here -https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/rvs/rover_resources

West Coast Shipping is in a position to assist you with the import approval.  If you would like to discuss the options available please do not hesitate to contact dan@wcshipping.com.