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Australian Customs and Quarantine (AQIS) requirements for Importing Vehicles
This page was last updated on Saturday, 02 November 2013 01:01:58 AM

NB: We are not the Australian Government we are private company that happens to be involved in international shipping, Australian customs clearance and marine insurance.

What do we do:
Well your job is to find your vehicle
You apply for import permit for the vehicle (this includes motor bike, camper, caravan, horse float, trailers, motor home).
You send us email supplying all your details, your sellers details and a heads up on the vehicle you are buying.
We will send an introduction email to our overseas representatives and copy you and your seller in so that everybody is formally introduced, then we step back and let the overseas seller and our overseas rep talk ling-ling, wing-wing in their own time zone.
Our rep will come back to you and advise methodology and price so you don't have to wait for us to get back into the office, very straight forward and you send money direct to the Buyer for purchase and money direct to our overseas rep for all the overseas logistics and ocean freight.
Our job is to provide you with Marine Insurance so if you have an issue you pick up the phone and get us and not some Indian call centre plus when your pride and joy arrives we do the Australian Customs and A.Q.I.S clearance and you pay us.

So easy, its not funny.

Firstly .... Import Permit for Vehicles
You are required to obtain an import permit from the Federal Department of Infrastructure for vehicles, motor bikes or trailers
If you are going to put motor bike into a wooden/timber cradle made make sure the timber is treated timber and is stamped accordingly with ISPM 15 and that you have treatment certificate.

Secondly .... Import Duty & G.S.T
If vehicle is NZ or USA made you will NOT pay Import Duty but you have to pay G.S.T
(NZ as per C.E.R agreement signed between former prime ministers Muldoon and Frasier)
Or America under Free Trade Agreement signed off by Bush and Howard

NZ doesn't make vehicles so that sorts that out.

All other countries You will have to pay Australian Import Duty and G.S.T.

Australian Import Duty ranges from 5 % to 10 %
More for luxury vehicles

The Australian Customs Department have set the Duty Rate at 5% to 10 % and G.S.T 10% on the landed price in Australia (landed price means purchase price, ocean freight and 1/4 of 1 % for Marine Insurance even though you may not have take out insurance) ... You have a product that can be sold in Australia that's why you pay Import Duty and G.S,T to Australian Customs via us when we do the Customs Clearance.

For the umpteen thousand time a vehicle is not classified as Personal Effects or for Personal Use unless you have owned and used said item for more than 12 months (the magic words are owned and used so that means you have been living overseas for more than 12 months and you can show you owned and used said vehicle for more than 12 months overseas. Now having said that you have owned and used said vehicle for more than 12 months you will still pay Import Duty and G.S.T.

Thirdly .... Air-conditioning and or Refrigeration
The Australian Federal Government are still looking at ways of making money over the climate change bullshit in Copenhagen so they are going to milk you for an import permit. So they set up www.ozone.gov.au this mob will want to charge you a) A$3,000.00 for multiply items to be imported within a set time or A$400.00 for one off item. Originally everybody had R12 Gas (CFC) and then came along R134A (HCFC) now they found something that else that should be used for air-conditioning and or refrigeration.

We recommend you get your boat dealer or a third party who is involved in air-conditioning and or refrigeration to inspect said boat and write an inspection report on their letterhead stating NO air- conditioning or refrigeration found on this boat or said boat was degassed and said unit was removed.

But just let me say you will need an import permit from Ozone before we present documents to Australian Customs. Get onto this Ozone mob and get clarity before you purchase your boat.

Fourthly .... Australian Quarantine (A.Q.I.S) Wood or Timber

This is where you get smacked pretty hard with Quarantine inspection charges per 1/2 hour

You need to make sure your said vehicle (your pride and joy) arrives in Australia schmick, clean, virginal, above reproach otherwise you have moved passed the first wife who has taken you for 50 % off your hard worked assets, you didn't see the second wife (can you remember her name) she got you for 25 % and the third who is lining up for the 12.5 % .... so just to make my point A.Q.I.S is every one of those wives rolled into one .... suffice to say you should put one vacuumed packed transparent condom over your boat.

If your boat is an open boat been shipped on a flat rack, do your self a favour and get industrial strength transparent glad wrap and cover the vehicle. Why! So that any potential thief can see you've got nothing worth stealing and will not cut a hole or tear the wrapping to have a look.
When it turns up in Australia, A.Q.I.S can see that the vehicle is clean free of debris and pass your vehicle.
If you have used a tarpaulin or boat cover quite often they have been tampered with which means debris has found its way inside the boat and you will be up for wharf storage, cleaning and A.Q.I.S re-inspections
For a ball park costing try the set up costs for first term semester at University.

If your boat can be packed inside 20ft or 40ft general purpose fully enclosed container then you don't need to wrap it however if you have used timber or wood for bracing / packing and the boat has timber trim. Do yourself a favour and get the container with the vehicle inside fumigated and get it done overseas before it goes to the overseas wharf.
This will speed up the Australian quarantine clearance.

Five.... Anti Terrorism Legislation (or what we call the Shappelle Corby 4.1 ounces of marijuana legislation)

You can not go on the Australian waterfront to a) deliver your vehicle or container or b) attend customs or A.Q.I.S inspection or pick up your vehicle or container unless you have your M.I.S.C (Maritime Identification Security Card) which gets issued by A.S.I.O (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation) and A.F.P Australian Federal Police) all this for 4.1 ounces of marijuana.

You can get escorted onto the wharf by someone who has their MISC card but this is a long and convoluted process so you will have to sit this one out and realise that their are forces in the universe that don't want mankind to be responsible, thoughtful and accountable for their own actions.

If A.Q.I.S knock back your vehicle for a steam clean, fumigation, waste disposal or whatever you can expect a 3 and 1/2 week wait on the East Coast of Australia and 8 weeks in Fremantle (West Coast of Australia) . If you stay on the wharf the storage costs will take the oxygen out of your lungs, you will feel nausea and light heading as if you are climbing in the rarified air of Mount Everest .... the bottom line is you will have to pay the wharf before they release your boat or vehicle and even then you can't get on the wharf because you don't have an MISC card, talk about getting hemorrhoids.

We suggest the following alternative .... that is to get a Customs under bond entry, book a transport company who is registered with the wharf and whose drivers have their MISC cards (you will have to pay for 2 days wharf storage) and get your boat, trailer & vehicle off to one of the local bond stores who have A.Q.I.S approved wash bay facilities. The bond stores live in the real world even though your boat, trailer & vehicle will have to wait 3 and 1/2 weeks (East Coast Australia) once it's been washed you can come down for the A.Q.I.S re-inspection (bond stores operated by Patricks and P&OTA will not let in until the unit is Customs and A.Q.I.S cleared) so you need to get the fair dickum Aussie bond store operators as they seem to grasp the fact that your kids have finally left home at 28 years old and this is your baby and you want to see it as soon as possible so you can get an understanding where all your new found wealth went to (hello, I suddenly have money after all these years).

Once A.Q.I.S have signed off you will have to wait an hour or two for it come through on the ICS electronic system so you are best to go off and get a cuppa tea, coffee or something and then come back with dealer plates or road permit or your own truck so you can drive out the bond stores gate.
If you have your wits about you and the A.Q.I.S officer has his/her manual stamp you can ask the A.Q.I.S officer to stamp and sign the A.Q.I.S Direction. This is considered a manual clearance you will be required to present this to the delivery clerk at the bond store. (Note: some depots will not play the game and will ask you to wait till the clearance comes through electronically)

Sixth .... Brand New vehicles and Carnets

I have put this section in just in case someone flukes it and gets an import permit for a brand new vehicle (you would get better odds of the sun rising in the west then getting a new car into Australia as a private import)

So if you want to bring a brand new vehicle into Australia take out a carnet in the overseas country this will require you to put up a bond equal to Australia's Import Duty and GST (and Luxury Car Tax if vehicle valued over A$57,183.00) with the overseas customs department or overseas motoring organisation.It's traditionally accepted that the carnet is issued for 12 months you can get an extension often an additional 6 months. The fact remains you have to ship the vehicle out of Australia before the carnet expires.

A brand new vehicle is one that was manufactured, built and shipped out of the overseas country within 60 days.

The Commercial Invoice and Packing List will have to show the manufacturing or production date and our ships bill of lading or waybill will have the date the ship left the overseas port. In other words its grade 1 mathematics you subtract one from the other to establish 60 day's.

Now having a brand new vehicle is a wise choice and will make it that much easier when it comes to Quarantine inspections. A.Q.I.S will suddenly go from been your ex-wife's lawyer ie.. they will take their foot off your throat so that you actually grasp the reality that you can finally breathe and will get your vehicles within days without any more money coming out of your pocket .. hooray for small mercies.

Actually probably spoke to soon .. you will need to pay for the transport company to go into the wharf to get your vehicle (remember the Shappelle Corby 4.1 ounces of marijuana anti-terrorism legislation that basically gave the whole shipping industry (importers, exporters, custom brokers, transport, shipping, fumigation companies and insurance assessors) a paranormal headache.

Seven .... Returning Australian Vehicles

This use to be relatively routine Australian takes car, ute, 4WD, boat on trailer or caravan or camper van or motor home and heads off to New Zealand for 6 months or more with wife, girlfriends or mates and they all have a great time and then on the trip back home to Australia all we had to do as the shipping company is write on the incoming vessels bill of lading or waybill that its a  "Returning Australian Vehicle and quote the Australian Customs Export Entry Number"

How easy is that .......... but no with the down turn in global trade our public servants in Canberra came up with a way to create work for themselves by saying all Returning Australian Vehicles need to have an import permit.

Whippy doo for noddy and big ears ... so now whilst the Australian is having the time of their lives in New Zealand drinking warm beer, pulling up fish and throwing themselves off some bungee jumping tree house or skiing on the best ski fields in Australasia and coping stick about an under arm delivery from Trevor Chappell ..... they have to pull up at internet cafe and download the application for importing a motor vehicle and wait for 28 days for the import permit to be sent to their Australia residence (Hello, I'm /we are on holiday in New Zealand, do you think the kids back home will check the mail box)

The fun police has arrived in Canberra .... everyday Australia is losing the plot

For the USA Market

If you get hooked on the internet seeing those so called magical cheap prices on vehicles in America
Do your self a favour the quickest way for a heads up price without annoying us and thereby saving your marriage is to get the Internet listed vehicle price and x (times) by 3 (three) that should cover the purchase price, internal transport within USA, packing 20ft container, USA Customs Clearance, cartage to USA wharf, USA stevedoring, ocean freight, Fuel levy, Australian stevedoring, cartage, unpacking, Australian Customs and Quarantine (AQIS) clearance and GST.

The Australian dollar is getting stronger against the US$ so when the Aussie dollar starts going over US$1.00 then the 3 (three) times rule will start to drop

If you purchase your vehicle in USA from a registered business, great ... because they can state said vehicle is American made and they can issue the Free Trade Certificate (FTA) certificate of origin (required as per Australian / USA free trade agreement) ......... No Import Duty, I shall repeat that: No Import Duty. The vehicle dealer will work in with our USA shipping rep who will give you the FTA certificate of origin or explain how you can secure one.

E Bay customers please don't bother talking to or emailing us .. the American E Bay sellers do not work or operate in the same business hours as our American Shipping representatives, (E Bay sellers work after hours or in weekends) American E Bay seller expect you or us to pick up your vehicle from their location, E Bay sellers are known to charge you storage while you wait the mandatory 28 days for your boat trailer import permit to come through from Australia's Dept of Infrastructure.

We will not ship your vehicle until you send us a copy of the Dept of Infrastructure Import Permit by email or fax ..  the bottom line is we don't need the agro and temper tantrums when it arrives in Australia because you don't have the Import Permit ... your choice is to pay the wharf storage which is equivalent to ongoing divorce and alimony costs or you will be told in no uncertain terms by Customs via the Dept of Infrastructure to ship it out of Australia say to PNG or NZ ... you can not take it to the dump, scrap yard or join the bottom of the harbour tax avoidance schemes, although having said that you could netherless make it a 50/50 deduction when you come to the divorce .. You and I mean You, can pay for costs to ship it out of the country and re-apply for another Import permit .. your choice is Papua New Guinea, New Zealand or since your goods are now untouchable, you might as well ship it to the French Nuclear testing site at Moruroa Atoll and join all the other unmentionable hot items ....... So you have been told, get the Import Permit so don't come whinging to us.

America do not have our container swing lift trucking system that drives out to your nominated premises and places said shipping container on the ground, leaves and comes back a couple of days later to pick up the full container. So you will have to make arrangements to work with our American Shipping agents to transport your pride and joy to one of our nominated container packing depots in America (and NO you can not come into our American depots and pack your vehicle or boat unless you are member of the Longshoreman's union) if you wish to use / pack our shipping container you will have to find another location that's got container forklifts or whatever it is you need.

It costs $130,000.00 to bring a ship into port and $20,000.00 a day so we are not going to do a milk run around all the ports of USA just for you. So listen up.

Container Ships that go direct to Australia East Coast ports (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) go in and out of:
West Coast Ports: Los Angeles (also known as Long Beach), San Francisco, Seattle or Tacoma (they alternate between these ports) and Vancouver BC.
East Coast Ports: New York, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Savannah

The USA have a major intermodal rail/road network so if you happen to find Steve Mc Queens 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 CID Fastback vehicle from the movie Bullitt hidden in Area 51, Nevada you can truck your pride and joy to the nearest intermodal hub, get it packed at the nearest container depot and rail it to one of the nominated ports for shipping to Australia.

Western Australian Buyers ... you are going to do it tough, there is no direct container shipping service from USA to Fremantle. You will have to work with our USA representative and they will use a trans-shipping service via Asia most often Singapore.

Right then, lets talk containers sizes as a rule of thumb the 6 m (20ft) container internal measurement at the container door is 5.85 m long x 2.25 m wide x 2.35 m high a 12 m (40ft) internals are 11.9 m long x 2.25 m wide x 2.35 m high

So if your boat can not go inside the container your next option is the Car Ships (so you will need a trailer or cradle)

Car Ships that go direct to Australian ports (Brisbane, Port Kembla, Melbourne and Fremantle) go in and out of
West Coast Ports: Los Angeles and Grays Harbour
East Coast Ports: Baltimore and Savannah

There is a trans-shipment Car Ship service to Australia
West Coast Ports: Los Angeles to Panama and then to Australia
East Coast Ports: New York, Baltimore and Jacksonville via Africa

 

For the New Zealand Market

The Car Ships only go from Auckland to Brisbane, Port Kembla, Melbourne and Fremantle

Container Ships call into Auckland, The Mount (Tauranga) Napier, Wellington, Lyttelton (Christchurch) Port Chalmers (Dunedin) Nelson and come to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle

 

For the UK / Europe Market

The Car Ships go from Southampton, Bremerhaven, Antwerp to Brisbane, Port Kembla, Melbourne and Fremantle

Container Ships call into the UK Ports of Felixstowe, Tilbury, Thamesport, Southampton:
European Ports Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp:
trans-shipment container services operate for Dublin, Oslo, Gothenburg, Turku Copenhagen, Lisbon, Barcelona, Marseilles, Le Harve, La Spezia, Genoa, Pireaus, Valletta, Koper via Asia either Singapore, Port Kelang

 

For Commercial Importers .... The Raw Scheme

If you wish to import vehicles as a commercial business operation .. that's fine .. you just pay all the costs and charges as they fall due in the logistical chain.

The raw scheme requires you to invest A$400,000.00 to A$500,000.00 into infrastructure. This is so that you can do the compliance to bring vehicles up to Australian standards .... Once you comply with the Department of Infrastructure they will grant you a license to bring 101 vehicles of the same make and model into the country.

The key words are same make and model.

The first vehicle gets destroyed, pummeled so to speak and then you can bring the next 100.

Often i /we have had the last of the big spenders ring us and say such and such company will charge them A$10,000.00 for compliance ... well hello, you a) pay them b) or invest A$500 k as they did and get a warehouse and put in all the compliance machinery or c) go and kick a tyre d) marry a rich woman

History of Import Permits

You have to put all this into perspective, Australia has a car manufacturing industry, New Zealand doesn't.

Senator Button in the Bob Hawke Government introduced the import permit to protect the auto workers jobs at Mitsubishi / Chrysler in Adelaide. What was originally a 3 month ownership rule has continued to blow out and is now 12 months ownership and use rule. Then they added the additional supplement rule where vehicles had to be made before 15 years, this rule was subsequently changed to be made before 1st January 1989.

The fun police has made it tough for the car enthusiast .. !!

So now that you have read everything and you are a full book on the subject Go ahead and click here for on-line quote