Compliance When Importing A Car Into New Zealand

22 Feb 2023

 If you are importing a car into New Zealand from Australia, you will, of course, need to remain compliant with all customs regulations regarding your vehicle. Compliance with NTA safety requirements will be checked by an independent team of inspectors after importation documents are inspected and approved by customs officials. Documentation needed by customs includes: proof of previous registration, proof of ownership and a current photo ID of the owner. More documentation may be needed depending on the country the car is imported from. Documents must be originals and not photocopies or photographs.  

After your vehicle has passed through customs, a physical inspection of the car will be undertaken. Inspection involves partial disassembly and thorough inspection of the vehicle. The inspector will check for rust, structural repairs and damage. Brakes are disassembled, brake drums, rotors and friction material are tested. Exhaust emissions, seatbelts and lights are also tested to ensure they are within an appropriate margin of change compared with manufacturer specifications. 

If remedial work is required, you will be provided with a fail sheet and a quote to get the work done. Any damage to your car resulting from a previous accident, structural damage or rust must be inspected by an independent, certified NZTA certifier. 

Furthermore, If your vehicle has been modified beyond manufacturer specifications, you will require a low volume certificate. This is an inspection carried out by another independent certifier. This will only be passed if modifications meet compliance requirements.  

If all of the above go smoothly, you will receive a document which registers your vehicle and registration plates. If original documents have not been supplied, the process will not be completed.  

There are also GST requirements which must be paid when importing a car to New Zealand from Australia. The GST fee is typically 15% of the value of the car. The GST fee component of importation compliance, however, can be waived if: 

  • You have owned and used the vehicle privately in Australia for more than 12 months, 
  • You are returning or moving to New Zealand to live, 
  • You have NZ residency or a NZ work permit, 
  • Or you have lived outside of New Zealand for more than 21 months. 

It’s worth noting that to be eligible for importation to New Zealand, all cars must be manufactured after 2010. 

Why Ship Your Vehicle With Dolphin Shipping Australia? 

As well as understanding the approval process governing the importation of vehicles into New Zealand and elsewhere overseas, Dolphin Shipping offers premium logistics and supply chain management for motor vehicles, boats and other large machinery. Enjoy peace of mind by using Dolphin Shipping Australia: you’re in good hands.