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The Cost of Shipping a Car to Australia and the Methods Available

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The Cost of Shipping a Car to Australia and the Methods Available
The Cost of Shipping a Car to Australia and the Methods Available

Australia is the smallest continent in the world. It is also categorized as one of the biggest countries in the world. The island continent is located between the Pacific and Indian oceans, surrounded by the Timor Sea, Arafura Sea, Coral Sea, and the Tasman Sea. 

Australia’s isolation from other continents and countries may explain the unique plant and wildlife that inhabit the island. The plants and animals associated with Australia are one of a kind including, kangaroos, koalas, dingoes, and plants like the golden wattle, which is the national flower.

Professional transport companies handle overseas moves to Australia for people every day. No matter what your reason for moving is, there is a way to get it accomplished without stress or worry. Some people have never had to move very far, so trying to execute a move that is halfway across the world might be a little more than they can handle. Professional transport companies like A-1 Auto Transport have facilitated shipping cars all over the world at affordable rates.

Moving to Australia

When relocating to a new home overseas, it is vital that you have all of your documentation together that you will need. You will also want to research and hire a dependable and knowledgeable transport company that can accommodate your move. You should hire the international auto transport company as soon as possible to make sure they have availability on the dates you need and offer the services you require.

One decision you will need to make early on is if you will be taking your car or motorcycle to Australia with you when you move. Some countries have strict procedures and policies when bringing a car into their country. The transport company will be able to help you by providing you a list of things you will be required to do before exporting your car from the United States. You will also have requirements for importing it into Australia.

What Documents Will I Need When Moving To Australia?

Like most international moves, you will be required to have documentation that shows you are a citizen of your country of origin. You will also need to get a visa and a work permit before leaving American soil. There is also no harm in procuring an International Driving Permit to be on the safe side.

If you are trying to move to Australia on a budget, you will need to make sure that you are factoring the costs of your visa and work permit. There are plenty of visas to choose from if you look at the Australian Government Department of Affairs website. You will be able to choose a visa that is best suited for your particular employment situation.

For some of the visa and work permits, Australia has prerequisites that must be fulfilled. These include English competency, meeting specific Australian health criteria, have an eligible job or profession, or if you are a business owner. Business owners or investors who have sufficient funds, assets, or minimum net value could qualify for a Business Talent visa. This visa is equal to a permanent residency visa. The cost for the permit is over 7,000 AUD ($4,879 in the United States).

Applications for Australian visas can be completed online on ImmiAccount through the Australian Government Department of Affairs website.


Other documents that you will want to have with you, including multiple copies, are:

  • Birth certificate
  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Work permit
  • Insurance
    • Car
    • Life
    • Health
  • Banking information
  • Health records
  • Dental records
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce decree
  • Custody agreements
  • School records

All of these documents should be in their original form. You can have copies made and ready to distribute when a party asks for them. You don’t want to give away the original copies because you may need them later on for legitimacy purposes.

How to Ship a Car to Australia

When deciding if transporting your car from the United States to Australia is worth the time and effort, you will want to do some in-depth research on the subject. You will want to start the process of importing your car as early as you possibly can because it can take longer to bring a car from the United States into Australia than any other country.

Conduct Research

You will be required to find out if your car is eligible for importation in Australia. Some vehicles may not be eligible for entry. In that case, you would want to sell your American vehicle and buy one once you are in Australia. The Australian Government’s website has the vehicle eligibility outlined on their site. 

You will need to find out what import option you can apply for when trying to bring your vehicle. Several different import options exist, so one should accommodate your car. These import options include:

  • Vehicles manufactured before 1989 option
  • Personal import option
  • Small road trailers option
  • Letter of compliance option
  • Exhibition vehicles option
  • Vehicles in transit option
  • Test and evaluation vehicles
  • Registered automotive workshop scheme
  • Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)
  • Interim measure: vehicles older than 25 years
  • Australian plated vehicles option
  • Race and rally and support vehicles option
  • Special purposes vehicles option
  • Non-road vehicles option
  • New vehicles (including large trailers) for use on the road option
  • Discretionary approvals
  • Specialist and enthusiast vehicle register
  • Carnet (Carnet de Passage en Douane-temporary up to 12 months)

You will have to factor in all of the associated costs by importing a vehicle into your moving expenses. You are looking at taxes, registrations, import fees, and any other fees associated with your car and the testing. Lucky for you, if you utilize a professional transport company for your vehicle, they will be able to help you with the majority of this information. They have handled the imports of vehicles to international locations before and know what you will be looking at in terms of costs.

Preparing for Importation

Before you can begin importing, you will need to register with the Department. You will create a client portal where you can complete the application form to gain the vehicle import approval. You will also be required to pay a $50 fee when completing the application.


Once the application has been approved, you will receive an email with your Vehicle Import Approval attached. There may be additional information about conditions that you will be required to follow with the vehicle. This email will come from the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Communications.


Before you physically ship your vehicle, you and your auto transport company should do a few things to ensure the vehicle does not end up in quarantine. You will need to steam the inside and the outside of the vehicle to remove any materials or particles that may pose a quarantine threat. Asbestos testing is also required prior to shipping. You cannot import asbestos into Australia, including if it is found in your car.

Handling Australian Customs

You will be required to get customs clearance for your car. You will need to lodge an import declaration. You are required to pay the customs duty, pay the goods and services tax (GST), pay luxury car tax (if required), and verify that there is no asbestos present with the vehicle.


To meet the Australian quarantine requirements, you have to lodge a Quarantine Entry with the Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment. Next, the inspection appointment has to be arranged, and either you or your broker will need to be present for this. If the inspection uncovers that modifications need to be made before you can have your car imported, you will need to do so. You will present the proof of testing and compliance after doing the modifications to be able to apply for the identification plate approval for your car. 


After you have handled all of the customs requirements, you can apply to register your vehicle. This registration will take place in the State or Territory in which you will permanently reside in. If you have more questions, you can reach out to the State Road and Transport Authorities in your area.


How Much Does it Cost to Ship My Car To Australia?

Professional car transport costs can vary based on numerous factors. These factors include the type of car, the distance to the port, method of travel, and season of the shipment. Paperwork will also affect the time it will take for your shipment.


Shipping costs are going to vary greatly depending on the shipping method that you choose. You have the option of utilizing a 20-ft shipping container that is dedicated to your car. In most circumstances, customers choose this because it is the safest and most reliable way to transport a vehicle overseas. The other, cheaper option, is referred to as RO/RO. RO/RO is roll-on and roll-off, which is exactly how it sounds. Your vehicle is driven onto the boat and fastened down. When it reaches the port of destination, it is then driven off. In this method, your vehicle is exposed to the elements.


Here are some cost and time estimates that you may be facing for just your car transport alone:

  • New York Port to Brisbane
    • $2,800
    • 35 days
  • California Port to Sydney
    • $1,500
    • 22 days
  • New York Port to Fremantle
    • $2,800
    • 41 days
  • California Port to Melbourne
    • $1,500
    • 22 days


These prices are based on shipping one car in a dedicated 20-ft cargo container. This price also does not allow for ground shipping if you need your vehicle delivered to the port. Keep in mind that documents can take up to an additional ten days to be processed once they are received. You may be able to use the dedicated container to aid in your moving process. You will have to check with the shipping company to ensure they allow adding personal belongings to the shipment.

To prove that the vehicle is yours, you will need to present the bill of sale or document that shows the exact amount paid for the vehicle. This price will be used to help determine the taxing on the vehicle upon entry. An international driver’s license or permit will be needed to drive your car in Australia legally. Make sure that you also have a copy of the valid registration for the vehicle, as well as your passport and visa information.

How to Choose the Right Professional Car Transport Company

Moving overseas is a hefty task, one that you should not try to undertake on your own. When you plan on moving to Australia, you will want to find a professional transport company that has experience in moves of this type. You will want to make sure that you are researching the potential shipping companies that are available to you. Doing this can help you make an informed decision. 

You should always take into consideration what the Better Business Bureau says about the company as well as its accreditation and certifications. Moving to Australia is not just for any company to provide you services for, you need the best company for a move like this.

A-1 Auto Transport has over 30 years of experience in the auto transport industry. We have accreditation from the Better Business Bureau as well as several other organizations throughout the transport industry. Our experts can handle international moves of all kinds, especially those to Australia. 

Our international transport specialists can help you with all of the paperwork and list the preparations that you will need to do prior to your departure. We offer transparent pricing for your relocation and car shipment, making it possible for you to stay within budget because there are no hidden fees.

When you are ready to make the trip and move to the land down under, let A-1 Auto Transport be your first choice for shipping. Our transport experts are standing by to offer you a free quote on your move. You can request this quote online or by calling our toll free number.

Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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