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The requirements for importing vehicles belonging to immigrants that do not meet frontal impact or emissions standards. 

Read the overall requirements for importing a vehicle into New Zealand

The process allowing people moving (or moving back) to New Zealand to bring in and register a vehicle that they owned prior to the move is subject to a number of specific conditions. Vehicles that meet these conditions can then be registered without complying with approved frontal impact or exhaust emissions standards.

Requirements for immigrant’s vehicles

Personal requirements that must be met 

To have a vehicle identified as belonging to an immigrant or returning New Zealander, the person must:

  • be a New Zealand citizen, a New Zealand resident or a person entitled under the Immigration Act 1987 to take up permanent residence
  • have lived outside New Zealand for a period of not less than 21 months before the date of his or her arrival in, or return to, New Zealand
  • apply within 18 months of the applicant’s arrival in or return to New Zealand and have personally owned the vehicle
  • have personally owned and registered the vehicle for personal use in a country outside New Zealand for a period of at least one year before the applicant’s arrival in, or return to, New Zealand
  • not have had any other vehicle identified as an immigrant’s vehicle
  • not have imported, or be importing, the vehicle on behalf of, or for, a third party.

The NZ Transport Agency cannot grant exemptions from any of these requirements if you want to apply for immigrant-vehicle status.

Requirements that the vehicle must meet

If your vehicle does not meet frontal impact or exhaust emissions standards, it must still comply with the general safety requirements of Land Transport Rule: Frontal Impact 2001 and Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Exhaust Emissions 2007.
The vehicle must also comply with the relevant requirements of all the other rules.

Additional requirements

  • An immigrant’s vehicle cannot be sold or leased within one year of its registration in New Zealand.
  • An immigrant’s vehicle cannot be used for hire or reward or in a transport service.

Fuel consumption

The Land Transport Rule: Fuel Consumption Information 2008  does not apply to immigrants’ vehicles. This means fuel consumption information does not have to be provided when the vehicle is first registered for use in New Zealand.

How to register your vehicle

You will need to apply to an entry certifier to identify your vehicle as an immigrant’s vehicle. A fee will be charged to process your application. 

If your vehicle is not identified as an immigrant’s vehicle, it will not be entry-certified and will not be registered for use on New Zealand roads, unless you can prove that it meets the approved frontal impact and emissions standards by other means.

What is the timeframe?

An immigrant or a returning New Zealand citizen or resident may apply for identification of his or her vehicle as an immigrant’s vehicle within 18 months of arriving in New Zealand. 

If more than 18 months has elapsed since the vehicle arrived in New Zealand, a New Zealand citizen or resident may apply for identification of the vehicle as an immigrant’s vehicle if the vehicle was border inspected before 8 May 2008.

What about left-hand drive vehicles?

More information about importing a left-hand drive vehicle

Download Factsheet 44A: Immigrant's vehicles