How to Import a Car From Dubai To Australia

Roberto Efflandrin

It’s no secret that Dubai is famous for promoting high-end lifestyles to tourists and locals alike. One element of this high-end lifestyle on show in excess in Dubai is the availability and usage of high-end luxury vehicles.

For those looking to buy a new or used luxury car — or even just a regular car — in Dubai and then import it to Australia, there are a few things you need to consider before making such a purchase.

This article will guide you through what you need to know when it comes to importing a car from Dubai to Australia and introduce you to Wise, a cheaper way to make international payments and spend abroad.

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Is it worth shipping a car to Australia from Dubai?

What isn’t worth it to one person may be undeniably worth it for another. This logic extends to importing cars into Australia. In terms of if it is worth shipping a regular car from Dubai, then it may not be worth it as costs could exceed the prices already available in Australia.

If you are wanting to import a regular or a luxury car, it really depends on if you are willing to go that extra mile to get it to Australian vehicle safety standards. On top of this, bearing the costs that come with importing a vehicle.

Let’s check out some of the Australian car import laws to understand more.

What are the Australian car import laws?

Australian car import laws are unfaltering and anyone looking to import a vehicle from anywhere in the world must adhere to them or be penalised for breaching the Road Vehicles Standard Act 2018 (RVSA).¹

The most pertinent law that must be adhered to is that it is mandatory for anyone importing a car to Australia to attain one of four available import approval permits. Each approval permit corresponds with different vehicle types and purposes permitted for import and are as follows¹:

More than one of the same vehicle type

There is one type of permit common for individuals or companies looking to import many of the same type of vehicle, generally for commercial purposes. Each vehicle, even of the same type will require to have:

  • A vehicle type approval (VTI)

Single vehicle types

There are three different permits that correspond with importing a single type of vehicle, either for personal use or other special purposes. These permits are:

  • A concessional Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV) entry approval
  • A non RAV entry import approval
  • A reimportation import approval​​

All applications must be sent through the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (Department of ITRDC) ROVER system to be able to attain a permit.¹

Is there an approved list of vehicles that can be imported?

There are several lists for specifications and criteria that vehicles must adhere to in order to be legally imported into Australia. There is also the possibility to get certain vehicles added to the RAV list or approved even if they aren’t currently listed.

Criteria for vehicles that are not on the ROVER list, but still may be eligible to be granted a Concessional RAV entry approval import approval include¹:

  • Vehicles modified by a ROVER registered automotive workshop
  • Be older than 25 years
  • Will be imported by and with an individual moving to Australia
  • Be classified as a special purpose vehicle

Some special purposes that could entitle a vehicle to be granted a non RAV entry import approval import permit include:

  • Being a racing or rally car
  • A vehicle to be used for public exhibitions
  • Used in TV, film or for marketing purposes
  • To be tested for the australian market in the future
  • Vehicles that have been heavily modified

To see the list of approved vehicles or other information related to specifications for modifications, specialised vehicles or approved testing workshops, you can find it here.

What are the types of fees and costs to import a car from Dubai to Australia?

There are varying costs associated with importing a car to Australia. Costs are disseminated between government, case based costs and third party costs depending on how you choose to import the car. Some costs associated with car imports include:²

  • Application fees associated with import approvals and custom declarations
  • Pre-shipment costs for getting the car up to standard of Australian road safety laws and biosecurity laws (Modifications, cleaning, asbestos removal etc.)
  • Government taxes and custom duties
  • Freight and shipping costs including insurances to cover shipping damages and delays
  • Customs storage fees
  • Delivery and port charges
  • Logistical supplier costs pre shipment and post shipment
  • Custom inspection charges
  • Vehicle registration and insurance (State or territory dependent)

For luxury or supercar imports specifically, you are required to pay a 33% luxury car tax (LCT) if the value exceeds the LCT threshold, which is $79,659 AUD for fuel efficient cars and $69,152 AUD for all other cars for 2021-2022 models.³ You will also be required to pay 10% GST based on the customs valuation.⁴

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What are the steps to take to import a car into Australia?

There are 8 steps to import a car into Australia. They are⁵:

  1. Research The types of vehicles eligible, costs and risks involved
  2. Applying for the import approval at Department of ITRDC
  3. Receiving the approval via email
  4. Organising shipping and freight services for the vehicle
  5. Apply and lodge a Customs Declaration with the Department of Home Affairs
  6. Apply and lodge a quarantine entry application with an inspection with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
  7. If applicable, arrange for any modifications, testing for compliance or apply for the vehicle to be added to RAV platform
  8. Register and insure your new vehicle to meet your state or territories requirements

Buying a car abroad? What are the steps

There are a few things to keep in mind when buying a car abroad. The first is to ensure you are buying from a credible source. Some popular online sources to buy new and used luxury or super cars in Dubai include:

Once you buy the car, you’ll need to get into contact with some logistics companies to organise shipping and all other associated procedures. Some companies that offer car import services from Dubai to Australia include:

These should not be considered as the only options available and you should still perform your own due diligence when researching, buying and shipping a car to Australia from Dubai.

The ports that can be used to import car from Dubai to Australia

You can get your car shipped to five major ports in Australia including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Adelaide.⁶

How long does it take to ship a car from Dubai to Australia?

To get an import approval from the Department of ITRDC can take up to 60 days.¹ Shipping time from Dubai can take three to four weeks.⁶ A customs clearance on arrival can take up to 30 days.²

Country specific information to watch out for

As vehicles in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) come with left hand steering, standard and car imports will need to undergo modification to change the transmission to right hand drive to be able to be registered and driven on public roads in Australia.⁷

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If you are looking for a way to send money to Dubai, Wise could be an option. For those that are serious about purchasing a new or used car from abroad, then you also need a cheap and easy way to make international purchases. Wise offers its customers low international transaction fees, while using the mid-market exchange rate for all conversions, meaning you will get the best rate everytime on currency conversions.

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Sources:

  1. Department of ITRDC importing a road vehicle
  2. Australian Border Force types of permits and costs
  3. Australian Taxation officeLuxury car
  4. Australian Border Force GST on imported goods
  5. Department of ITRDC 8 steps of importing a car
  6. Aeon Shipping shipping timeframes and ports
  7. Queensland Governmentleft hand drive
    Sources checked on: 21 March 2022

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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