Tips on importing a car into New Zealand

New Zealand is home to many of the world’s favourite driving routes, and whether you’re a native or you’re looking to make the trip abroad, it’s essential to have your own car if you want the freedom to explore the incredible landscape at your leisure. If you’re importing a car from overseas, you need to make sure you follow the correct procedure and that your car meets all the legal requirements.

You can speed up and ease the importing process by finding an entry certifier in your area who will carry out the necessary assessments to make sure your vehicle is suitable for importing and can be registered as a vehicle in New Zealand. If you choose to import independently without assistance it’s still a good idea to consult with entry certifiers initially, in order to get tips and recommendations that could help you later in the process.

You can get your vehicle certified for use by finding a Transport Services Delivery Agent (TSDA) that has the backing of bodies like Land Transport New Zealand (LTNZ), covering everything from cars and vans to motorcycles. The type of vehicle you’re planning to import will determine the requirements it needs to meet, which can be notably different even for vehicles in similar classes, and you should also research precisely which documents you will need to present when requested.

If you’re importing a large vehicle or HGV, you’ll need to present documentation certifying that it complies with heavy vehicle brake standards, while many types of vehicle will need to be certified for factors such as frontal impact standards, fuel consumption and exhaust emission standards – the latter of which has become particularly important due to growing environmental concerns. Also be aware that you will need to present evidence of your legal ownership of the vehicle, and information on its service and repair history, such as windscreen chip repairs.

If your vehicle passes these stringent tests and is permitted into the country, it’s time to arrange transport with a shipping agent, which need not be expensive. However, you need to remember to deregister the vehicle in its country of origin before you start driving it on New Zealand roads, and you should check whether the vehicle suffered any damage during transport.

Like any import to New Zealand, the vehicle will need to pass bio-security and custom checks, and then you’ll be free to experience the country’s remarkable and extensive road network from the comfort of your imported car.


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