New Vehicles (including Large Trailers) for use on road option

New Vehicles—Full Volume Option

A full volume manufacturer is one that holds approval to place identification plates on new vehicles supplied to the Australian market in unlimited numbers.

Compliance tests are done on a representative vehicle or batch of vehicles. The results of these tests are used to demonstrate that all vehicles of that type meet the Australian Design Rules (ADRs). As some of the tests require that a vehicle be crashed, it is only cost effective to obtain approval to fit plates to vehicle models that have sizeable markets.

The certification procedures for applying for Identification Plate Approval (IPA) can be downloaded from the Road Vehicle Certification System (RVCS) website.

If you have not already done so, you should first register the licensee, the production facility and design facility at the RVCS website before making a vehicle import application. The registration forms can be downloaded from the RVCS website.

Once you are granted your Licensee Identification (ID) number (five-digit number prefixed with the letter ‘L’) you should fill in the Licensee ID box on the vehicle import application form.

If you do not already have an IPA, the vehicle may be issued a Vehicle Import Approval for Test and Evaluation Vehicles. This import approval is issued on the condition that the vehicle will be modified and tested to demonstrate compliance with the applicable ADRs. If for any reason the vehicle is unable to meet the ADRs then it must be exported or destroyed.

For the purpose of the IPA, the importer is considered to be the manufacturer and should have a quality management system in place to ensure that each vehicle fitted with an identification plate is of the same specification as that of the vehicle approved in the IPA.

Once you have gained an IPA you can apply to import unlimited numbers of the vehicles covered by the IPA. You cannot use this IPA to import a different make or model of vehicle.

New Vehicles—Low Volume Option

The New Vehicles—Low Volume Option allows for the supply to the market of up to 25 or 100 vehicles per year (numbers may vary depending on the vehicle category). The Option provides a major concession in that it allows alternative forms of evidence to be submitted against some of the ADRs. This applies primarily to ADRs where destructive or expensive testing is required.

The New Vehicles Low Volume option is limited to vehicle makes/models that are on the Register of Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles (the Register). The eligibility requirements for entry on the Register are set out in Regulation 24 of the Motor Vehicle Standards Regulations 1989.

If you do not already have an IPA, the vehicle may be issued a Vehicle Import Approval for Test and Evaluation Vehicles. This import approval is issued on the condition that the vehicle will be modified and tested to demonstrate compliance with the applicable ADRs. If for any reason the vehicle is unable to meet the ADRs then it must be exported or destroyed.

For the purpose of the IPA, the importer is considered to be the manufacturer and should have a quality management system in place to ensure that each vehicle fitted with an identification plate is of the same specification as that of the vehicle approved in the IPA.

Under this option only a Low Volume IPA holder can apply to import a New Vehicle into Australia. The details of the IPA holders are available via the RVCS Certification Unit Search. Please follow the search instructions using the vehicle's make and model details.

Visit the Road Vehicle Certification System website for more information on the Register of Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles or contact Vehicle Safety Standards on 02 6274 7766.

Large Road Trailers Option

What is classed as a large road trailer?

A trailer which has an Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) more than 4.5 tonnes, and is designed for towing behind a road motor vehicle. This includes caravans and oversized trailers used for moving heavy machinery or loads. All large road trailers must receive import approval before they can enter Australia.

The purpose of the option

Vehicle safety, including trailer design features, reduces road trauma. Every large road trailer new to Australia is required to meet minimum standards that maintain this high level of safety.

What standard is required for large road trailers?

New road trailers that exceed 4.5 tonnes Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) may be approved for importation to Australia subject to the trailer being modified to comply with the ADRs applicable at the date they are first supplied to the market or first used in transport in Australia.

These modifications can be costly and may include:

  • Replacing or testing of braking systems.
  • Replacing the trailer couplings such as ball couplings or fifth wheels.
  • Strengthening the trailer's structure in particular, where the coupling is mounted.
  • Replacing the electrical wiring or connectors.
  • Replacing the LPG installations.
  • Replacing the lights.
  • Adjusting the axle group positions to reduce rear overhang.
  • Replacing the suspension system.
  • Replacing the safety chains.
  • Removing the awnings and other protruding components to reduce the overall width of the trailer to within 2.5 metres.
  • Re-locating the caravan/5th wheeler's door to the left hand side or to the rear of the vehicle.

New large road trailers should have an Identification Plate fitted in accordance with an approval issued by the Department.

The certification procedures for applying for IPA for trailers are published in Administrator's Circular 0–3–6 which can be downloaded from the Road Vehicle Certification System (RVCS) website.

If you have not already done so, you should first register the Licensee, the Production Facility and Design Facility in RVCS before making a vehicle import application. The Registration forms can be downloaded from the RVCS website above.

Once you are given your Licensee Identification (ID) number (five-digit number prefixed with the letter ‘L’) you should complete the Licensee ID box on the vehicle import application form.

If you do not already have an IPA, the trailer may be issued an import approval for a Test and Evaluation Vehicle. This import approval is issued on the condition that the trailer will be modified and tested to demonstrate compliance with the applicable ADRs. If for any reason the trailer is unable to meet the ADRs, then it must be exported or destroyed.

For the purpose of the IPA, the importer is considered the manufacturer and should have a quality management system in place to ensure that each trailer fitted with an identification plate is of the same specification as that of the trailer approved in the IPA.

Once you have gained an IPA you can apply to import unlimited numbers of the trailers covered by the IPA. You cannot use this IPA to import a different make or model of trailer.

How to apply

To apply for a Vehicle Import Approval under any of these options, you should provide to the Department:

  • Provide your Licensee number as registered with the Department
  • A purchase document (a purchase document can be a pro-forma invoice/receipt for deposit or full payment.)
  • A copy of the original manufacturer's specifications or the US Certificate of Origin stating the trailer's ATM at the time of manufacture. If the trailer was originally manufactured in the United States of America, the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is equivalent to the ATM.
  • A signed declaration that the trailer will be modified to comply with the ADRs that apply at the date the trailer is first supplied to the market or first used in transport in Australia.
  • If the trailer is over dimensioned (e.g., its overall width exceeds 2500mm etc.) a written statement from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) or relevant state or territory (WA and NT only) registering authority permitting road use of the vehicle.
  • Evidence required additional to above:
    • 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