Mainfreight   A division of

Cars and Parts

After It Arrives In New Zealand

After Your Car Arrives in New Zealand

Once a vehicle has been imported into New Zealand, it must be border-checked, certified, registered and licensed for use on the road. This information from the NZTA explains the process.
All used light vehicles entering New Zealand for the first time must go through the following process before they can be used on the road.

This procedure is the same whether the vehicle is imported for sale or for the personal use of the owner.

Step 1: Vehicle arrives in New Zealand
The vehicle goes through a Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) quarantine inspection on the wharf. A border inspector also checks the vehicle (called the 'border check') and records the following details:

- the vehicle's identity (ie, VIN/chassis number, make, model)
- the identity of the importer of the vehicle
- the odometer reading at the time of the check
- any obvious significant damage or deterioration (damage that is merely cosmetic will not be recorded)
- whether the vehicle is right-hand drive or left-hand drive.
- MAF send the information to the Transport Registry Centre (part of Land Transport NZ) for recording on the LANDATA database. You should allow 48 hours for the information to be recorded. (This information is needed to register the vehicle.)

MAF invoice the importer for each vehicle, to cover the cost of the border check and quarantine inspection.

What happens if the vehicle is damaged or deteriorated?
If the vehicle is identified by MAF as being structurally damaged or deteriorated, this is recorded on LANDATA and a label is put on the vehicle to show it is structurally damaged. You might decide repairs are not justified and look for alternative uses for the vehicle — eg, for parts.

What happens after the border check?
After the border check, the vehicle must clear Customs. The New Zealand Customs Service holds the vehicle until all Customs requirements are met. Contact Customs for details and costs.

After clearing Customs, the vehicle is released to the importer.

Dealers and repairers who have the right to use a trade plate may drive an uncertified vehicle on a conditional permit (an 'Annex B') before taking it to an entry certifier.
If you're a private importer, however, you will need to have the vehicle transported to an entry certifier by other means (eg, on a trailer, transported or towed). This is because you cannot drive it on the road until it has passed the entry certification, registration and licensing process and been issued with a WoF.
Entry certifiers are not available in every part of New Zealand.

- Some vehicles may be classed by Customs as prohibited imports (eg, because of tampering with the odometer). As a condition of import approval, Customs may impose a requirement that the vehicle be sold for parts. If this happens, the vehicle cannot be registered for use on the road.

Step 2: Vehicle reaches an entry certifier
If the vehicle already has a VIN when it enters New Zealand, the VIN is decoded by the entry certifier. It is the vehicle owner's responsibility to provide the information (available from the vehicle manufacturer) that enables the VIN to be decoded.

If the vehicle doesn't have a VIN, it is verified through other vehicle identifiers (such as the chassis number) and the entry certifier issues it with a VIN.

The VIN is recorded on LANDATA so the vehicle can be tracked through the certification and registration process. The entry certifier then starts to certify the vehicle for registration.

Step 3: The certification process
The entry certifier checks the documents that prove the vehicle meets the necessary legal requirements (see Infosheet 1.67) and also thoroughly inspects the vehicle. The vehicle may need some work done on it to ensure it complies with New Zealand law.

If the vehicle complies with all the legal requirements, the entry certifier issues form MR 2A (Application to register a motor vehicle). The entry certifier invoices the importer for the cost of certification.

What is the certification process for structurally damaged or deteriorated vehicles?
Structural damage or deterioration to a vehicle may have been recorded at the border check or could be discovered later, by the entry certifier. The vehicle may need to be repaired before it can be certified for registration.

The entry certifier is responsible for deciding whether a specialist repair certifier needs to inspect any repairs that were carried out before the vehicle was imported, to ensure they have been done correctly. This could involve some disassembly and additional costs for you. You will need to pay the costs of repair and repair certification, as well as the cost of entry certification.

A vehicle that is so severely damaged that it is unsuitable for registration, or has been badly repaired, will not be given a repair certificate or form MR 2A. It will be released to you and may not, by law, be registered or driven on the road in New Zealand until it meets all legal requirements.

Modified vehicles
If a light vehicle is significantly modified, the entry certifier must send it to a low volume vehicle (LVV) certifier for specialist certification. There will be a charge to you for this, in addition to the cost of entry certification. The LVV certifier will inspect the vehicle and issue it with a modification plate before it is returned to the entry certifier.

Is a separate WoF or CoF inspection necessary?
No. A light vehicle that is certified for registration is automatically entitled to a warrant of fitness (WoF) or certificate of fitness (CoF). The WoF or CoF will run from the certification date.

Step 4: After certification
When the vehicle has been certified (ie, when the MR 2A has been issued), you may register and license it so it can be driven legally on New Zealand roads.

If the vehicle is not registered within two years, its entry certification will lapse and it will need to be reinspected and recertified before it can be registered and licensed.

All imported vehicles are inspected and tested to determine whether its structure, components and systems meet New Zealand safety requirements.
Here's the information your VIN agent uses to check your car meets New Zealand safety requirements.   Visit this site...

The importer/owner must be able to prove that they are legally entitled to the vehicle.
The importer/owner must provide all documents that prove ownership of the vehicle (eg, bills of sale, purchase receipts etc).The ownership trail must go back to the previous registered owner of the vehicle in the country where the vehicle was last registered before it was imported into New Zealand.   Visit this site...