Discretionary Approvals

This option is covered by Section 19 of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 and Regulation 11 of the Motor Vehicle Standards Regulations 1989.

The purpose of the option

The Minister (or delegate) may decide to approve an application for the import of a vehicle notwithstanding that:

  • The vehicle is not certified as meeting Australian safety or emission standards; and
  • The vehicle does not qualify under one of the defined import options (the defined options). The defined options are established by various provisions of the Act and the Regulations. Each option covers a specific class of vehicle or applicant. These options exist to cover circumstances where vehicle certification is not a viable or practical option.
  • In deciding whether to exercise a general discretion, the Minister (or delegate) may make a decision based on reasons submitted by the applicant as well as other relevant reasons.

You may raise with the Department reasons why you consider your application for importation should be approved and why a general discretion should be exercised. Each application is considered on its merits having regard to the objects of the legislation, relevant policy and any relevant matters raised by the applicant.

How to apply

To apply for the exercise of general discretion, you should lodge an application using the import option that best suits your circumstances (see vehicle import options). If none of the options listed suit please complete the Personal Imports option. You will need to provide to the Department:

  • All documents that you can provide that are listed under the import option you have selected.
  • A letter requesting the consideration of Discretion that outlines and explains the circumstances you wish to be taken into consideration in your particular situation.
  • Documents evidencing your interest in the vehicle (such as purchase or other documents identifying the vehicle and outlining the interest you hold in the vehicle).
  • If the vehicle has been or is to be modified—a statement from the person who carried out (will carry out) the modification certifying the modifications to the vehicle fully comply with the requirements of the Australian Design Rules.

These documents are in addition to the documents required when you register on the portal. Refer to the How to apply page for further information.


The information provided on this page should be used as guidance material only for importing a vehicle into Australia. Please familiarise yourself with the relevant legislation prior to lodging an application.

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Last Updated: 17 June, 2016