Import of Car by Temporary Residents and Tourists in Australia

Import of Cars by Tourists and Temporary Residents

Section 162 – Import Declaration Required/VIA Required

As a tourist or temporary resident, you may bring a road vehicle to Australia for a period of up to 12 months without payment of duty and taxes, provided a VIA is obtained prior to your importation.  Your road vehicle must be subsequently exported from Australia within the approved time limit.  All fittings and accessories imported with the road vehicle must also be exported with the same road vehicle.

Approval for temporary imports is granted under Section 162 of the
Customs Act 1901 (the Act).  Goods that qualify as temporary imports can be imported under:

  • a security or undertaking, equal to the amount of duty and GST and if applicable, LCT that would be payable on importation.  The security may be in the form of cash or a bank guarantee.

Under provisions set out in the Act, on application, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Customs may extend the period of temporary importation.  Applications to extend this period must be made prior to the expiry of the temporary importation period.

If your road vehicle is not exported within the approved time limit, you will forfeit the security.  This also applies where the road vehicle is lost or stolen and therefore unable to be exported when required.

If you remain in Australia and you decide to keep your road vehicle with you, you may apply to have your import declaration amended.  This will create a duty and tax liability which you are required to pay to finalise your importation.  To organise a refund of the security you will need to advise Customs that you have amended your import declaration and paid the duty and GST.

Section 162A – Import Declaration Not Required/VIA Not Required

Under section 162A of the Act commercial samples, professional equipment, scientific equipment and goods for display or use at exhibitions, fairs, meetings or similar events can be imported under:

  • an ATA carnet (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) issued by Chambers of Commerce under the ATA Convention or the Convention on Temporary Admission (otherwise known as the Istanbul Convention).

Section 162A also provides for a private road vehicle to be imported under:

  • a CPD (Carnet de Passages En Douanes) carnet issued by an overseas organisation which has a reciprocal arrangement with the Australian Automobile Association (AAA); and for
  • the specified period.

A CPD carnet allows for the temporary admission of your road vehicle without the payment of duties or taxes and without the requirement for a VIA. For a CPD carnet, approval is required from:

  • the Australian guaranteeing body (AAA);
  • Customs; and
  • the carnet issuing body overseas.

You may extend the period of importation provided under a CPD carnet by submitting an application to the relevant Guarantee Association.  An extension must be approved by the CEO of Customs prior to the expiry of the original approval.

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