Import a Car from Japan to Australia

Learn Exactly how to import a car from Japan. This Step-by-step process will get you in the drivers seat of your dream car in less then 2 months from now!


With regards to the first step you can buy from auctions, car yards or private sellers.

  1. Before you import the car consider the following:
  2. All vehicles need an approved Application for Approval to Import a Vehicle- VSB10 from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government
  3. If the car is manufactured after 1/1/1989, it must be included on the SEVS (Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme) register issued by the government. It needs to be complied by a RAW or Registered Automotive Workshop for that vehicle, and it must be imported in their name, not yours. They will arrange an import approval from the Vehicle Safety Standard board using the VSB 10 form. #The aircon must be be degassed before import and a certificate supplied. #Compliance costs vary according to what is needed to be done to the vehicle and how many are complied each year, usually the more complied, the less the cost.
  4. If it was built before 1/1/1989, it is a lot easier, depending on your state regulations it may not need to be complied, although there may be changes needed to pass local registration regulations. It will still need an approved VSB10.
  5. The aircon will need to be degassed and a certificate supplied (if the aircon is an older type of gas, R-12).
  6. Unless older than about 1970, LHD vehicles will need to be converted to RHD with an engineers approval. Be aware that a lot of american RV's will not pass registration due to excessive rear overhangs. In Western Australia there is no need to convert a car to LHD if the car is manufactured prior to 1/1/1989.
  7. Read up at
  8. Taking the above into account you need to find the car you want to import.
  9. Talk to the RAW of your choice if post 1989 to make sure they are able to comply the particular model variant you are interested in.
  10. Once you have found your car its time to pay your exporter their fee and the cost of the car FOB (freight on board).
  11. Your exporter will then give you all of the shipping information.
  12. Usually the car is shipped out within the next week/ month depending on the destination and booking availability.
  13. If pre 1989 find a Customs Agent and give them the VSB10 approval, Degassing Certificate (which may be a stamp on the invoice), the vehicle invoice and the freight invoice (which can be prepaid or COD).
  14. If post 1989 the RAW will usually have their own import agent
  15. Once the car arrives its time to make the next payment which is for: freight, import duty, GST, quarantine, customs clearance fees.
  16. Pre 1989, once the car has been through quarantine you can then pick it up with a release document from quarantine and your Customs Agent .
  17. Post 1989 your RAW will arrange pickup of the vehicle.
  18. Once complied by the RAW you will then need a temp. Rego to drive the car to your local Transport centre for rego. You can also hire a truck to take it there. Note is some states you are allowed to drive the vehicle straight to the rego office without a permit.
  19. An officer will then inspect the vehicle, the compliance plate and your docs.
  20. With luck your Japanese car is now registered and can be driven on Australian roads!


When a car is imported into Australia, if built after 1/1/1989 it needs a compliance certificate to prove that it meets Australian road safety standards. This must be issued by a RAW or Registered Automotive Workshop. Different RAWs comply different models, see The cost and amount of effort involved to ensure a vehicle meets Australian standards varies, but in general the following process is completed.

  1. New seat belts are fitted
  2. Child restraint anchorage points
  3. Anti intrusion bars fitted (if not factory installed)
  4. The filler neck for fuel changed
  5. New filters are installed
  6. All vehicle fluids are replaced
  7. New tires
  8. An Engineer's inspection is carried out
  9. Brakes Pads checked
  10. Once this process is completed and the car meets Australian standards a compliance plate is fitted and the vehicle can be registered.


  • Be sure to investigate how much work will be required to obtain a Compliance certificate for the particular vehicle, and budget for this.
  • Be prepared for slight delays in shipping and quarantine.


  • Learn as much as you can about the process before you purchase a car in japan.

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