Test and Evaluation Option

This option is covered by Regulation 18 of the Motor Vehicle Standards Regulations 1989.

To import a road vehicle for market/engineering evaluation you should be a section 10A approval holder. Please refer to Administrator's Circular 0-4-8.

What are test and evaluation vehicles?

Test and evaluation vehicles are new vehicles imported for the purposes of testing and evaluating them against Australian Design Rule (ADR) requirements.

If they meet the requirements, identification plates can be placed on new vehicles of that type by the applicant.

The applicant must be able to demonstrate capacity to exercise control over the process known as conformity of production, which usually involves control over the vehicle design and manufacturing processes, including control over the vehicle design change processes.

For this reason it is normally only the vehicle manufacturer that is in a position to meet all the requirements for an approval to be granted under the test and evaluation option.

The conformity of production process means that the approval holder must have a quality management system in place that provides assurance that every vehicle to which an identification plate is placed is the same as the vehicle that was tested and shown to meet the Australian Design Rule (ADR) requirements. Officers from the Department regularly conduct audits of approval holders to ensure these processes are working satisfactorily.

There are some situations where a party other than the vehicle manufacturer may hold an approval but in those cases there is usually a very strong relationship between the approval holder and the manufacturer that is sufficient to satisfy the conformity of production requirements.

In order to process your application to import the vehicle(s) for test and evaluation, it is necessary for you to demonstrate that you understand the processes involved in gaining approval to place identification plates on new vehicles, and that you have systems in place to meet the requirements.

How to apply

To apply for a Vehicle Import Approval under this option, you should provide to the Department:

  • A purchase document (a purchase document can be a pro-forma invoice/receipt for deposit or full payment.)
  • If more than one test and evaluation vehicle is to be imported, such as when a number of different model vehicles are involved, then this should be noted in a covering letter.
  • Provide your Licensee number as registered in RVCS.
  • Provide your Design Facility number as registered in RVCS.
  • Provide your Production Facility number as registered in RVCS.
  • If the Licensee is NOT the actual manufacturer of the vehicle (as per the Production and Design Facilities) then they should also attach a brief Certification Plan overview with the application, which should briefly advise the proposed methodology to obtain Identification Plate Approval and specifically how they expect to ensure Design Control and Conformity of Production with the Design Facility and the Production Facility. The Certification Plan must provide full details of the test program setting out which ADRs are applicable for the vehicle, and providing details of registered test facilities for conducting those tests. The test program will clarify the number of vehicles that are required to demonstrate compliance.
  • Approvals issued may be for a specified time for conducting the test program. At the conclusion of the test program, the vehicle would need to be exported, or if made to comply with the ADRs and fitted with an identification plate, the vehicle can be supplied to the market, provided it has not been used on public roads.
  • If the Licensee is established, and already holds an Identification Plate Approval for other models of vehicles, then there is no requirement to provide the certification plan information.

Note: To apply for a Vehicle Import Approval under the Test and Evaluation Option, you should allow an additional 28 days for your application to be assessed.

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