If you wish to import your car to New Zealand, your first step is to go to the NZ Transport Agency Guide To Importing. All the forms and instructions you need to bring your vehicle over are included on this site.
There are several stages involved in importing a car into New Zealand.
Stages to import a vehicle
- 1. Vehicle requirement category selection
- 2. Prove requirements are met
- 3. Prepare to import
- 4. Import
1. Vehicle requirement category selection
Vehicle requirements are categorized into the following areas:
- Moped – http://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicle/importing/step-one/mopeds.html
- Motorcycle – http://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicle/importing/step-one/motorcycles.html
- Car – http://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicle/importing/step-one/cars.html
- 4×4, SUV or Minibus – http://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicle/importing/step-one/forward-offroad.html
- Light goods van or Utes (utility vehicle) – http://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicle/importing/step-one/vans-utes.html
- Light bus – http://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicle/importing/step-one/light-buses.html
- Heavy bus – http://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicle/importing/step-one/heavy-buses.html
- Heavy truck – http://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicle/importing/step-one/heavy-trucks.html
- Heavy trailer – http://www.nzta.govt.nz/vehicle/importing/step-one/heavy-trailers.html
Each category has its own specific set of requirements that your vehicle must meet in order to allow importation. Requirements are also broken down further into country of origin, so to import a car from Japan may have different requirements than importing a car from Europe. It is important that you use the right set of requirements for your situation.
Rules for importing a left-hand drive vehicle are different. Most left-hand drive vehicles will need to be converted to right-hand drive before they can be used in New Zealand. This is an extremely expensive process and is likely not worth the investment.
2. Prove requirements are met
If you want to bring you car to New Zealand, you must prove that the car is legally yours, and that it meets New Zealand safety and emissions requirements. You must have the documents to prove this in order to use your car in New Zealand. It is strongly advised to have your paperwork in order before you ship your car.
Different countries have different systems to register and de-register vehicles, so different forms must be filled out depending on where you and your vehicle are. The NZ Transport website will direct you to the proper information sheet and forms for your country.
To prove ownership, you will need to provide original documents, establishing an ownership trail to the last registered owner and any de-registration or change of ownership papers, invoices, bills of sale or receipts. It is necessary to have certified translations of any documents that are not in English.
You must provide proof that your car was built manufactured to meet approved safety and emissions standards. The exact requirements depend on the class of vehicle, when it was built and where it is from. The appropriate information sheets can be found on the website.
Note: make sure you check your paperwork and that the VIN, chassis and frame numbers are correct. Vehicles without correct paperwork, or with mismatching information, may not be able to be registered.
3. Prepare to import
Make sure your car meets all the New Zealand standards requirements, for example, all vehicles must meet NZ’s exhaust emission standards.
When you have all your documentation together and you’re sure that everything, including standards requirements are in order, you can then arrange shipping. Many shipping companies will also help with paperwork and will check to make sure everything is in order if you ask them to.
As a final step, you should de-register your vehicle in the country you are leaving.
Once your car arrives, you’ll need to have it checked by an entry certifier when it is first inspected before approval for registration in New Zealand. You’ll need to produce documented proof that you have a legal right to the car, and that the car was manufactured meeting the required safety and emissions standards.
The vehicle will then be inspected and tested to determine whether its structure, components and systems meet New Zealand safety requirements.
The certification process can take as little as four days but may take longer if there are problems.
It is currently estimated that the total cost to have a car inspected, clear Customs, receive an NZ VIN, be certified for registration, registered and licensed is between NZ $800 and NZ$1000. This does not take the actually shipping costs into consideration so be sure to get an estimate before deciding whether importing your car is a worthwhile option.