Importing Cars, Trucks & Vehicles Into Australia

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Moving a large number of vehicles from one continent to another is a major undertaking and requires the assistance of specialist logistics and transportation service providers. Here at Dolphin Shipping, our end-to-end approach to importing vehicles into Australia affords our customers a seamless and simple solution that is guaranteed to meet and exceed expectations.

With over 30 years experience importing and exporting, you can trust and rely on us to get vehicles and machinery from anywhere in the world to your hub in Australia. We have highly-trained, knowledgeable staff working in our locations in Japan, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, as well as in Australia, and with shipping from multiple ports in the aforementioned countries as well as the United States of America, you can take confidence in the fact that if we say we can get the job done, we will.

What It Takes To Start Importing Vehicles into Australia

If you are planning on importing vehicles to Australia then you will likely already appreciate just how tricky a proposition this is, and the amount of planning that is required to ensure that things run smoothly and in a timely manner that fits your schedule.

The smart move is to get in touch with us at Dolphin Shipping where you will be able to hand over the entire process to our team of specialists. We provide full shipping agent services, which includes customs and quarantine clearance as well as domestic and interstate cartage services. What’s more, we also look after packing and insurance.

How To Begin Importing Trucks & Cars To Australia

If you are in the process of negotiating the purchase of a large fleet of vehicles, or if your company is about to move a large number of their vehicles abroad, then RO/RO shipping, which stands for Roll-On, Roll-Off, is most likely the option that will best suit your needs.

At Dolphin Shipping, we believe that this is the most convenient way to move a large number of vehicles with the greatest efficiency. The time spent on container shipping a large fleet will slow things down considerably, whereas with RO/RO shipping you can keep things simple, secure and speedy.

Get Help Importing Vehicles To Australia

The process of importing cars to Australia has never been made easier and the team here at Dolphin Shipping work tirelessly on behalf of our clients to ensure that their property is handled with care, that communication is timely and clear and that your vehicles are picked-up and delivered when you expect.

So, for the best service in the business, get in touch with us today for a quote, which will include no hidden fees and won’t look a dollar or cent different once we send the invoice. We are the experts you need to ensure smooth sailing from port to port.

Dolphin Shipping specialises in multi-national shipping & logistics in Sydney. We help clients import vehicles into Australia, as well as helping customers ship their cars to Australia. Browse our website further or contact us for more details.

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All vehicles arriving into Australia to be driven on Australian roads require a vehicle import approval.

There are a number of options available when applying for a vehicle import approval:

  • Vehicles Manufactured before 1989
  • Personal Import Option
  • Australian Plated Vehicles
  • Small Road Trailers
  • Race, Rally and Support Vehicles
  • Letter of Compliance
  • Special Purpose-Built Vehicles
  • Exhibition Vehicles
  • Non-Road Vehicles
  • Vehicles in Transit
  • New Vehicles (including large trailers)
  • Test and Evaluation Vehicles
  • Discretionary Approval
  • RAWS / SEVS Scheme
  • Carnet de Passage


Vehicles Manufactured before 1989 Option

This option allows for the importation of road vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1989. This option is designed to cater for the importation of older enthusiast, classic or historic vehicles.

Personal Import Option

This option allows migrants settling in Australia or expatriate Australian citizens returning permanently to Australia after a long period overseas, to bring their personal vehicle with them as long as it has been owned for the qualifying 12-month period.

Australian Plated Vehicles Option

This option allows road vehicles originally sourced within Australia but subsequently exported to be re-imported.

Small Road Trailers Option

This option allows for the importation of road trailers that have an Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) not more than 4.5 tonnes.

Race and Rally and Support Vehicles Option

This option allows for the importation of vehicles intended to be used for road vehicle rallies, closed circuit road vehicle racing and vehicles designed to support road vehicle racing or rallying.

Letter of Compliance Option

This option allows for the importation of vehicles which complied with the applicable Australian Design Rules (ADRs) at the time the vehicle was originally supplied to the market overseas.

Special Purpose Vehicles Option

This option allows for the importation of special purpose vehicles including city utility vehicles (fire tenders, garbage trucks, street sweepers), mobile cranes, mobile drilling rigs, and mobile plant and equipment.

Exhibition Vehicles Option

This option allows for the importation of motor vehicles intended to be used primarily for exhibition purposes.

Non-Road Vehicles Option

A ‘non-road vehicle’ (often referred to as ‘non-transport equipment’ and/or ‘off-road vehicles’) refers to a vehicle not principally designed for use in transport and/or is not permitted to be driven on public roads.

Vehicles in Transit Option

This option allows the importation of vehicles for the purpose of having modifications, repair or other work performed on the vehicle. The vehicle is to be re-exported without being used as transport in Australia.

New Vehicles (including Large Trailers) for use on road Option

This option allows for the importation of road vehicles in either low or full volume including road trailers that weigh more than 4.5 tonnes Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM).

Test and Evaluation Vehicles

This scheme allows for the importation of vehicles for testing to meet certification standards and/or evaluation of performance in Australian conditions and transport systems. This includes trials of automated vehicles.

Discretionary Approvals

Vehicles not covered under other options may be approved with discretion in exceptional circumstances. The approval usually has conditions attached.

Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme

This scheme allows for the importation and supply to the market of used vehicles. Approved Registered Automotive Workshops (RAWs) import, modify and plate used vehicles in accordance with concessional standards.

Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Register

Listing on the Register of Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles means that vehicles can be imported into Australia under the Low Volume Vehicles Scheme and the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme.

Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)

This agreement allows for the importation of road vehicles by military personnel temporarily posted to Australia under the terms of an intergovernmental agreement.


This ‘Carnet de Passage en Douane’ is an international agreement which allows the temporary import of a vehicle for up to 12 months by visitors to Australia. The carnet is obtained in the country of residence. Carnet is managed by Immigration and Border Protection.



Call our team to discuss the best option for importing your vehicle.