Most cars, goods and passenger vans, utes, four-wheel drives and people-movers must meet a range of standards before they can be registered for use on New Zealand roads.
Cycles and power-assisted cycles don't have to meet standards, though they must still be safe on the road.
Motorcycles don’t have to meet emissions standards. Cars over 20 years old don’t have to meet frontal impact standards.
If your vehicle was manufactured before 1990 it may be excluded from many of the standards requirements. However, your vehicle must still meet the general safety requirements in the Land Transport Rules, and it must have at least front seat passenger safety belts if manufactured after 1955.
A historic vehicle must meet the safety requirements applying at the time it was manufactured. Contact the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand(external link) to find out more.
In most cases, if you bring a left-hand drive vehicle to New Zealand, you'll need to have it converted. You may be able to get an exemption for a light vehicle that is for your own use.
But you may not need to meet these standards if you’re temporarily importing your vehicle, usually for less than 12 months.
Where your vehicle meets some but not all the standards, you may be able to apply for an exemption. Please be aware, there is no guarantee this will be granted. We judge exemption applications on a case-by-case basis against restrictive criteria set in legislation (section 166 of the Land Transport Act 1998(external link)).
Complete the application form(external link) to apply for the exemption.
Before bringing a vehicle to New Zealand it's best to ensure that any vehicle you're planning to import meets all our standards.
Your vehicle may not have to meet all the standards if:
you’re emigrating here or returning to New Zealand and you want to bring your vehicle with you (see the exception requirements)
the vehicle you’re importing is a ‘special interest vehicle’ – it has historic value or is a collector’s item (see the exception requirements)
the vehicle is a motorsport vehicle for which you're seeking exemption through a MotorSport New Zealand card. Find out how to arrange a card. (external link)
See the full requirements applying to your vehicle before you can use it on the road.