If you're immigrating to Australia from the UK or are a returning Australian citizen, the Government's Personal Imports Scheme allows new migrants and citizens who are returning permanently to Australia to import a car. The scheme has strict criteria relating to both the car and the applicant's visa status. Although it is not mandatory, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service recommends that you employ the services of a licensed customs broker if you plan to import a car to Australia. An experienced customs broker can ensure that you fulfil all the necessary requirements.
Tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in the UK that you are permanently exporting your car. Fill in the section entitled Notification of Permanent Export on the vehicle registration certificate and mail it to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BD.
Read brochure VSB10, "Importing Vehicles to Australia," which you can download from the Australian Government's Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, known as Infrastructure.
Download the application for a Vehicle Import Approval under the Personal Import Scheme from the Infrastructure website and complete.
Attach all the required documents securely to your application. The form contains details of all documents that you must submit with your application.
Make arrangements to ship your car but only on receipt of your Vehicle Import Approval, which must be mailed to an Australian address. You can now submit an import declaration with Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. An Australian licensed customs broker can do this on your behalf. A list of licensed customs brokerages is available on the Customs website and is updated in June and December.
Contact the relevant regional office of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, known as AQIS, once you know the arrival date and port of entry of your car. You must arrange an AQIS inspection of your car on arrival and the local office can give you detailed information about the inspection and associated costs.
Book an appointment to have your car professionally cleaned internally and externally as close to the export date as possible. For an AQIS inspection, all areas of your car must be cleaned to an extremely high standard. Your customs broker should inform AQIS of the inspection location, which must be on AQIS Quarantine Approved Premises.
Pay the required customs duty (5 per cent of customs value), Goods and Services Tax (10 per cent of the sum of customs value, duty payable and costs of shipping and insurance). As of 2010, Luxury Car Tax is payable if the customs value exceeds AUD$57180. The surplus attracts LCT at 33 per cent.
Apply for a Personal Import Plate, which proves that your car is an approved import and allows you to register the vehicle. You will need your Vehicle Import Approval, which contains four parts, one of which allows you to obtain a Personal Import Plate.
Register your vehicle. You will need another part of your Vehicle Import Approval to do this. Registration requirements vary depending on the state or territory of Australia, but vehicles must be roadworthy and meet minimum safety requirements.
The Personal Import Scheme allows applicants to import one car every year. After Nov.18, 2010, you may only import one car every five years. Do not arrange to import your car before you have obtained the Vehicle Import Approval. If your car arrives in Australia without this, it may be exported or destroyed at your expense. If your car is not cleaned to AQIS requirements, it will be steam-cleaned at your expense. Contact the regional AQIS office for details before you have it cleaned.