The Personal Import Scheme Explained (for Overseas Clients)

If you’re an Aussie, scroll down!

First things first, are you coming to Australia on a tourist visa or a working holiday visa? If so, stop reading this RIGHT NOW. You can’t bring your vehicle to Australia with you via the Personal Import Scheme unless you’re importing it temporarily and taking it back to your home country when you leave (click the ‘Contact Us’ button for more information on how we can help you with this).

Are you Eligible for Personal Imports to Australia?

In order to bring in a vehicle through the Personal Import Scheme, you must first:

  • Have a permanent resident visa; or
  • Have applied for a permanent resident visa; or
  • Have a visa that allows you to apply for a permanent resident visa; or
  • Come from New Zealand (in which case we let you stay here as long as you like)

Because the Aussie Department of Immigration seems to love creating new visa categories, we won’t try to list them all here. If you’re not sure if your visa classifies as a permanent one, then contact us with the category number and we can let you know. As a general rule, if it’s not a student visa, tourist visa or working holiday visa, you should be eligible for a personal import to Australia.

How to Authorise a Personal Import to Australia

All good so far? Ok, now we can look at your vehicle and how you’ve used it.

The basic premise for importing your vehicle under the Personal Importation Scheme is that you must prove that you’ve owned and used your vehicle for a period of at least twelve months. Without delving too deeply into the paperwork required, you will need to show that you:

  • Had the right licence to drive/ride your vehicle
  • Owned and used the vehicle for at least 12 months immediately prior to moving to Australia
  • Didn’t buy the vehicle and just leave it in a shed somewhere
  • Didn’t buy the vehicle then nick off overseas on an extended holiday without it

Have you made it this far? Great! Now you must prove that you are moving to Australia with the intention of staying permanently. Common sense would suggest that showing your visa would be enough – after all, no-one is going to go through the rigmarole of getting a permanent visa just so they can import a car! But apparently not, so you’re expected to provide 100 points of documentation to support your application. This part may sound daunting, but if your application is legitimate, it’s not too hard to find the right paperwork.

If you’re emigrating from a non-English speaking country, any documents in other languages must also be accompanied by an English translation.

Still reading? Congratulations, you’ve made it! Chances are you can import your car to Australia under the personal import scheme. If you’ve hit a brick wall, don’t despair you may still be able to bring your vehicle with you – visit our Other Import Schemes page to see if you can.

The Personal Import Scheme Explained (for Aussies Returning Home)

First things first, are you coming back to Australia just to catch up with family and friends before heading back overseas? If so, chances are you’ll struggle to bring your car back with you – the rules for importing a car under the Personal Importation Scheme have changed since late 2009, making it far more difficult to import than it used to be.

Assuming that you are an Australian citizen (and therefore carry an Aussie passport), you must first prove that you’ve owned and used your personal import car for a period of at least twelve months. Without delving too deeply into the paperwork required, you will need to show that you:

  • Had the right licence to drive/ride your vehicle
  • Owned and used the vehicle for at least 12 months immediately prior to moving back to Australia
  • Didn’t buy the vehicle and just leave it in a shed somewhere
  • Didn’t buy the vehicle then nick off overseas on an extended holiday without it

Important Documentation for Personal Imports to Australia

Have you made it this far? Great! Now you must prove that you are moving to Australia with the intention of staying permanently, so you’re expected to provide 100 points of documentation to support your application. This part may sound daunting, but if your application is legitimate, it’s not too hard to find the right paperwork. The Department of Infrastructure and Transport can and often do request extra documentation if they don’t feel you’ve convinced them, so it’s best to save time and frustration by getting it right the first time.

If you’re emigrating from a non-English speaking country, bear in mind any documents in other languages must also be accompanied by an English translation.

Still reading? Congratulations, you’ve made it! Chances are you can import your car to Australia under the Personal Import Scheme. If you’ve hit a brick wall, don’t despair! You may still be able to bring your vehicle with you – visit our Other Import Schemes page to see if you can.

Give us a call on 0402 904 069 or enquire online to learn more about personal imports to Australia and the Personal Importation Scheme.