Shipping a Car to Australia From USA
Shipping cars to Australia can be relatively easy, but certain steps have to be taken to insure your application will be accepted by the Australian Government. We have many customers who have built a business purchasing cars over the internet and importing them to Australia. All we do is handle the shipping.
This web page is specifically made for Aussies who are looking to import a car from the United States. We broke down the information into four parts: 1) Vehicle Importation Regulations 2) Shipping Methods and when to use them 3) Departure Ports in USA & Arrival Ports in AU 4) Applications to Import from the AU Department of Infrastructure.
Before going any further, click on the green button to get car shipping rates to AU. By doing this, we will work on the quote while you find what vehicle import regulation you fall into. Therefore, you can get your total cost quicker.
Part 1 - Vehicle Importation Regulations
To simplify the vast amount of information supplied by the Australian Government's Department of Infrastructure and Transport, the information is broken down into 3 sections: Permanent Vehicle Import, Special Vehicle Importation, and Temporary Vehicle Import. We marked them in orange so you can't miss the sections. The AU Department of Infrastructure and Transport is Australia's governing body who accepts or denies approval for car importation. For further details, open the Information Brochure "Importing Vehicles to Australia".
Permanent Vehicle Importation
The Australian Government's Department of Infrastructure and Transport has set 4 schemes which determine eligibility to "permanently" import a car to Australia. You must qualify for 1 of the 4 schemes to gain import approval. After eligibility is determined, a vehicle import approval must be given before importing the car.
The 4 Schemes:
- The pre-1989 Scheme - For cars manufactured before January 1st, 1989. This is the easiest type of vehicle import. For those who qualify under the pre-1989 Scheme, read the Information Brochure for pre-1989 Scheme.
- RAWS (Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme) - A RAW is a business that has been approved to import and plate up to 100 used vehicles (per vehicle category), per year. The vehicles imported must be on the Register of Specialist and Enthusiast vehicles (with the exception of unrestricted used motorcycles). Basically if the vehicle you are looking to import is on this page, you simply have to find a RAW business to import it for you. Find a RAW business here. We, Ship Overseas Inc, will handle the exportation process from the United States for you.
- Personal Import Scheme - Allows migrants settling in Australia, and expatriate (a person who lives outside their native country) Australian citizens returning permanently to Australia after a long period overseas, to bring their personal vehicles with them.
- Letter of Compliance Scheme - A Letter of Compliance states that a vehicle complies with the applicable ADRs at the time of the vehicle's original build date. Only the authorized Australian representative of the manufacturer, or the organization holding the Plate Approval for the particular vehicle model, can issue a Letter of Compliance for the vehicle you intend to import. It is therefore only in exceptional circumstances that a Letter of Compliance can be obtained.
Special Vehicle Importation
Off Road Vehicles & Non-Transport Equipment - Cranes, Pocket Bikes, Motorized Scooters and Pedal Bicycles, Mobility Wheelchairs, Motor Bikes (think of this as dirt bikes and not as "on-road" motorcycles)
Trailers (New and Used) - Any trailer designed for towing behind a road motor vehicle must have a Vehicle Import Approval issued so that it can enter Australia. The trailer may be as small as a motorcycle trailer, a caravan or as large as an over-sized trailer used for moving heavy machinery or loads.
Trucks & Buses - If the vehicle is built on a conventional truck chassis it will be classed as a truck. If the vehicle has more than 9 seating positions, including the driver's seat, it is classed as a bus.
Temporary Vehicle Importation
Overseas Visitors to Australia (The Carnet) - If you are visiting Australia on a vacation, you may temporarily import your vehicle to Australia by presenting a valid Carnet de Passage en Duane to the Australian Customs Service at the port where the vehicle arrives in Australia.
Racing Vehicles - Import applications for rally/race use will only be considered where the vehicle will be used in serious competition, generally at professional level.
If there are any questions or confusion regarding a vehicle import, don't hesitate to call the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.
|Department of Infrastructure and Transport|
|If Calling From Within Australia||If Calling From Outside Australia|
|Tel 1800 815 272||Tel 61 2 6274 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Fax (02) 6274 6013||Fax 61 2 6274 6013|
Any matters regarding taxes/duties should be directed to the Australian Customs Service: 1300 363 263
Part 2 - Shipping Methods and when to use them
Shipping Car to AU via RoRo Ship
To your left is a RoRo ship. These types of ships have huge ramps where a car must be able to drive up and down without any mechanical assistance. Use this shipping method if only one car is being shipped. The only things permitted to be inside the car is the jack and spare tire. Nothing else is permitted to be inside the vehicle. This is a rule for all our shipping lines. Once the car is aboard the RoRo ship, it will be strapped and blocked to the ship's deck to minimize movement while the ship rocks at sea. While accidents are rare, we recommend purchasing marine insurance. Since nearly all vehicles going to Australia have high value, marine insurance will cover damage or total loss. Read more about Marine Insurance on our blog. The same rules apply if someone needs to ship a motorcycle to Australia from the US. The arrival ports are shown in the table below as well as the Google Map feature below.
Shipping Car to AU via Container Ship
To your left is one of our container shipping lines. Use this shipping method if transporting items in addition to a car. This is a great shipping method if one is moving from the US to AU and wants to put personal belongings inside the vehicle. An itemized list and values must be presented. This is also a great shipping method is a person ships multiple classic cars, or multiple motorcycles, at once. The vehicle will be blocked and braced in the container & will be lifted on and off the ship.
There are two types of container shipping:
1) Shared Container - This method allows a person to share the container with another person. If someone needs to ship a small amount of items inside the trunk or backseat, a shared container is the best solution.
2) Full Container (Exclusive Container) - Ship a car from USA to Australia in a full container when there are multiple cars or when moving household items like couches or tables.
Part 3 - Departure Ports in USA & Arrival Ports in AU
If you cannot personally take the vehicle to one of the departure ports below, we can easily arrange our transport truck to meet with the designated person or car dealership.
|Arrival Ports - Shipping Car to Australia by RoRo and Container
|Sydney (RoRo and Container)
||Brisbane (RoRo and Container)||Port Kembla (RoRo)
||Melbourne (RoRo and Container)|
|Adelaide (RoRo)||Fremantle near Perth (RoRo)||Darwin (RoRo)|
|Departure Ports CONTAINER - Shipping Car from USA to Australia|
|Newark, NJ||Miami, FL||Houston, TX||Long Beach, CA|
|Departure Ports RORO - Shipping Car from USA to Australia|
|Baltimore, MD||Jacksonville, FL||Galveston, TX|
Roll on Roll of shipments are more common from the United States' East Coast while shared container options are more popular from the United States' West Coast. Shipping car to Australia from USA is simple as long as you follow the steps below.
Part 4 - Applications to Import from the AU Department of Infrastructure
- It is an absolute requirement that a "Vehicle Import Approval" is received by a potential new owner BEFORE shipping takes place.
- Read the Eligibility Requirements for the Department of Infrastructure and Transport in Australia.
- Download the Application For Approval to Import a Vehicle to Australia. The Department of Infrastructure & Transportation in AU is where you handle the paperwork.
- Marine Insurance is available to protect you from loss or damage. We highly recommend it for a classic car or car of value.
If you live in AU and want to make business buying American Classic Cars and reselling them in AU, read our FREE eBook titled How to Buy a Car in USA and Ship It Overseas. You may also be interested in our Vehicle Purchase Assistance Program.
Why choose us over the competition?
We have a solid track record and are an Accredited Company registered with the Better Business Bureau. Click the BBB image to the left to validate our A+ Accreditation. When shipping a car, an owner should only work with a BBB Accredited business.
We are registered with the FMC (Federal Maritime Commission). Click the image to the left and Select "Organization Name" and type in "Ship Overseas". Here is proof of our FMC Certification (also known as a NVOCC License). Never use an international car shipping company who cannot prove they are certified with the Federal Government.
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