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The following is information regarding the requirements for importing vehicles belonging to certain immigrants and returning New Zealanders that do not meet one or more of the following:

  • Frontal impact standards (passenger vehicles – class MA, MB and MC vehicles only)
  • Emissions standards (passenger vehicles – class MA, MB and MC vehicles only)
  • Electronic stability control (ESC) requirements (passenger vehicles and light goods vehicles – class MA, MB, MC and NA vehicles only)
  • Advance brake system (ABS) requirements (motorcycles – class LC, LD, and LE vehicles only).

You should read this page in conjunction with the overall requirements for importing a vehicle into New Zealand.

Importing a motor vehicle

The process allowing certain people moving (or moving back) to New Zealand to bring in and register a vehicle that they owned prior to the move is subject to a number of specific conditions. Vehicles that meet these conditions can then be registered without complying with approved frontal impact, exhaust emissions standards, electronic stability control or advanced brake system requirements.

We call these vehicles immigrants’ vehicles.

How do I apply to have my non-compliant vehicle registered in New Zealand?

You will need to apply to an entry certifier to identify your vehicle as an immigrant’s vehicle. A fee of $184.00 (incl. GST) will be charged to process your application and is paid to the entry certifying organisation processing your application.

Entry certification

The entry certifier will ask you to fill in an Application for identification of an immigrants’ vehicle form, which includes making a declaration that you have met the current requirements and will also meet future requirements.

Application for identification of an immigrants’ vehicle form(external link)

Note: it is an offence to make a false or misleading declaration.

If your vehicle is not identified as an immigrant’s vehicle, it will not be entry-certified and will not be registered for use on New Zealand roads.

What requirements do I have to meet before my vehicle can be registered in New Zealand ?

You must make a declaration that you:

  • have lived outside New Zealand for a period of not less than 21 months before the date of your arrival in, or return to, New Zealand
  • have personally owned and registered the vehicle for personal use in a country outside New Zealand for a period of at least one year before your arrival in, or return to, New Zealand
  • do not or have not had any other vehicle identified as an immigrant’s vehicle
  • have not imported, or are not importing the vehicle on behalf of, or for a third party
  • will not sell the vehicle or lease the vehicle for at least a year after its registration in New Zealand, or
  • will not use it for hire or reward or in a transport service.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency cannot grant exemptions from any of these requirements if you want to apply for immigrant-vehicle status.

Requirements that the vehicle must meet

Your vehicle must still meet the general safety requirements of:

Your vehicle must also comply with the relevant requirements of all the other rules.

We recommend you talk to an entry certifier (external link)to discuss the general safety requirements of your vehicle.

Entry certification

Additional requirements attached to immigrants’ vehicles

In addition to the declaration on the application, you must:

  • be a New Zealand citizen or a New Zealand resident
  • apply within 18 months of your arrival in, or return to, New Zealand (for emissions exemption applications only)
  • personally own the vehicle.

Does the Land Transport Rule: Fuel Consumption Information 2008 apply to immigrants’ vehicles?

The Land Transport Rule: Fuel Consumption Information 2008 (the Fuel Consumption Information Rule) sets out requirements for the provision of fuel consumption information for light motor vehicles that enter the New Zealand fleet and are manufactured on or after 1 January 2000. The Fuel Consumption Information Rule does not apply to immigrants’ vehicles. This means fuel consumption information does not have to be provided when the vehicle is first registered for use in New Zealand.

Does the Land Transport Rule: Light Vehicle Brakes 2002 apply to immigrants’ vehicles?

Electronic stability control (ESC)

New Zealand requires vehicles to be right-hand drive. If you are considering importing a left-hand drive vehicle, see Factsheet 12 Importing a left-hand drive vehicle.

Advanced brake systems (ABS)

ABS requirements in the Land Transport Rule: Light Vehicle Brakes 2002 do not apply to immigrants’ vehicles if the vehicle is of class LC, LD or LE (note that there are currently no compulsory ABS requirements for other vehicle classes).

What about left-hand drive vehicles?

New Zealand requires vehicles to be right-hand drive. If you are considering importing a left-hand drive vehicle, see our information about importing a left-hand drive vehicle.

Importing a left-hand drive vehicle

Where can I find out more?

Factsheet

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