Importing a used vehicle

If you’re importing a used vehicle into Aotearoa New Zealand, there are requirements you need to comply with.

This information covers used vehicles imported into Aotearoa from overseas, including:

  • vehicles newly purchased overseas
  • vehicles imported as an immigrant’s personal effects.

Information for importing non-routine vehicles such as left-hand drive, scratch built, modified or specialist interest vehicles, is also included.

If you’re looking to privately import a new vehicle from overseas, our Importing a new vehicle page has the definition of a new vehicle, basic information, and the relevant vehicle standards.

Importing a new vehicle

This information doesn’t cover new vehicles imported by a manufacturer or their representative to sell in Aotearoa.

Other New Zealand government agencies involved

When importing a used vehicle, there are requirements set by

  • NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA), and
  • the Ministry for Primary industries (MPI), and
  • the New Zealand Customs Service (Customs NZ).

As the importer, it’s your responsibility to make sure you comply with all import requirements. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you do your research around what’s required by each agency, and use a shipping agent or customs broker to assist with the process.

Government agency regulation for imported used vehicles
  • Administers the Clean Car Programme.
  • Requires that vehicles:
    • comply with vehicle manufacturing standards for safety and emissions and that evidence is provided,
    • receive a border inspection by an Approved Inspection Organisation either in New Zealand or Japan,
    • receive entry certification,
    • are registered and licensed if they are to be used on New Zealand roads.
  • Requires the importer to provide proof of entitlement to the vehicle.

See below for further information about these requirements

  • Issues biosecurity clearance in New Zealand and directs where vehicles are allowed to go prior to clearance.
  • Requires that vehicles:
    • arrive in New Zealand clean free of biosecurity contamination,
    • are managed through an MPI-approved biosecurity system (if exported from Japan),
    • are treated offshore (where required) to manage hitchhiking pest risk. Note, untreated vehicles may be denied landing in New Zealand.
  • Requires submission of information and evidence of compliance.

Steps to importing vehicles – MPI website(external link)

Customs NZ
  • Issues Customs clearance in New Zealand and directs where vehicles are allowed to go before clearance is provided.
  • Checks for criminal or counterfeit activity associated with the vehicle such as odometer tampering.
  • Collects taxes, duties and GST relating to the vehicle.
  • Requires a Customs entry process to be completed including submission of all necessary information and evidence.

Vehicles, boats and planes – Customs website(external link)

NZTA requirements for importing a used vehicle

There are 5 areas you need to know about and comply with when importing a used vehicle:

  1. The Clean Car Programme
  2. Relevant vehicle standards
  3. Border Inspection (offshore or on arrival in New Zealand)
  4. Entry Certification
  5. Registration and Licensing (if the vehicle is to be used on New Zealand roads).