This is a list of our most frequently asked questions (FAQ).


Why buy a grey import?

Grey imports are becoming a more and more popular option. The reason is that car buyers often get better value for money. Car buyers not only benefit from a larger access to car models but also from the reasonable prices grey import cars offer.

How do I find a trustable UK car dealer?

When buying a car from overseas you need to make sure that what you pay is what you get. That’s why we are here to offer you a solution through our trading partner Universal Mercantile Services.

The way it works is that the purchase will be processed through UMS.

You pay UMS and they pay the dealer – this means you know who you pay and you get a proper legal contract in place to defend your rights.

How to be sure that the vehicle history or odometer reading is accurate?

You can prove the authenticity of the certificates by conducting a HPI Check. By doing so you can identify any factors relating to a UK vehicle, based on the number plate. A HPI check examines the vehicle’s identity, among other factors including:

  Outstanding finance

 Recorded as stolen

 Written off as a result of damage or theft

  Declared as a total loss, passed an independent structural examination via an inspection report

  Vehicles mileage has been altered

How do I know that my vehicle is not damaged and doesn’t require repairs?

The car is checked in on an Ipad, thus you can see online your car live together with the condition report.

ShipfromUK.com in collaboration with its partner Universal Mercantile Services Ltd (UMS) can appoint an approved mechanic to complete a full vehicle multipoint inspection before shipping your car.

This is an extremely thorough process. We take into account 28 factors when inspecting your car. These include the car’s electrical features, the bonnet, the tyres, the accessories contained within, the body of the car and the parts beneath its exterior.

Our approved mechanic will suggest any repair work needed for your car to ensure there are no pre existing faults with your car prior to shipment. Alongside any estimated cost.

This is a unique offer, which enables your car to arrive at its destination ready for sale or use, without having to wait for parts to bring it up to specification.

Can I benefit of free repairs if my car it still on warranty?

If your car is under manufacturer’s warranty, you can sit back and relax while ShipFromUK.com deals with the manufacturer directly. As a result there is a small transfer or admin charge to pay.

There is a possibility that some of the repairs can be carried out under the car’s manufacturer warranty. If not repairs will be undertaken in-house at the ShipFromUK.com Ipswich garage facility


Can I reclaim VAT on a vehicle?

Together with our partner UMS we are able to assist, the recovery of VAT element on qualifying vehicles. Additional terms need to be agreed to and also strict guidelines must be followed.


How do I ship my car?

Are you concerned about shipping your car into Australia? If you are looking for a reliable company to ship your car from the UK to Australia, we highly recommend our car shipping specialist ShipFromUK.com. With significant expertise in exporting cars for the last 10 years, you will be assisted by professionals, who will deliver you car in the same condition you purchased it and with the quickest transit.


How long it will take my car to arrive?

Between 36 and 45 days.

Would it have a negative impact on the safety and environmental standards?

Allowing used car imports will age the Australian fleet. This has been found to be related to negative safety and environmental outcomes. But the truth is that no negative impact should happen with environmental and safety controls on imported used vehicles.

Would it increase the risk of purchasing a badly damaged vehicle that has been repaired?

No. Imported cars would need to undergo the same testing and certification procedures that any Australian vehicle. You can also contract an additional HPI check which will identify if the car has been written off as a result of damage or declared as a total loss.


Is there a Compulsory Ownership Period After Importation?

No. Once the car has been registered and fitted with an import approval plate, you can re-sell the car at any time.

What costs are involved?

When applying online for a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA), you must pay a non refundable $50 fee (even if an application is cancelled or a VIA is not granted).

There might be other costs  during the importation process including:

  • freight and insurance (for the transport of the goods to Australia);
  • customs duties, GST and, if applicable, Luxury Car Tax;
  • storage and delivery charges;
  • logistic services providers’ charges;
  • customs brokers’ charges;
  • entry processing charges;
  • steam cleaning for quarantine purposes;
  • other wharf and transport charges;
  • any costs involved in having your road vehicle meet State or Territory registration; and
  • insurance requirements; and
  • any costs involved in having your vehicle’s air conditioner meet the requirements of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
What about the spare parts?

There is no difficulty in getting spare parts for your imported car. When a special part is needed you can get it from a specialist importer.

What is a Vehicle Import Approval?

A Vehicle Import Approval is a document that allows a road vehicle to be imported into Australia and is required to clear Australian Customs. It is issued by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

When do I need a Vehicle Import Approval?

You will need a Vehicle Import Approval if you want to import a vehicle and use it on Australian roads.

What should I do first?

You should conduct research about the processes and costs involved with importing a vehicle to Australia before you start.

  • Is the vehicle eligible to enter Australia?
  • Which import option can I apply under?
  • What costs are involved?
  • What are the timeframes involved for getting the permit and other necessary arrangements?
  • What documentation do I need?
  • What are the requirements for each government agency?
  • Do I need to use a broker?
  • Will I need to have modifications done to meet Australian standards?
  • What are the risks involved with importing a vehicle?

In order to decide which option best suits you, you can find some assistance in the Australian Government website by completing ‘Which import option is best for me?’ We also recommend to contact your State or Territory Registration Authority for advice on registration requirements.

Can I ship my vehicle without a Vehicle Import Approval?

We highly recommend to first obtain a Vehicle Import Approval. If you ship your car to Australia without it, the vehicle will be held in storage at the port of entry by Australian Customs until you obtain the approval. You will be responsible for all storage costs. This costs can be very high.

What happens if I have shipped my vehicle to Australia, and can’t get a Vehicle Import Approval?

You will need to pay for the vehicle to be exported or pay for it to be destroyed under the supervision of Australian Customs.

How long does it take to get a Vehicle Import Approval?

It generally takes about 20 working days of receipt. If the application is incomplete, or further information and documentation are required, the process will take longer.  .

Can I import motor vehicle parts?

No. A vehicle is not considered to be parts just because it is unassembled, dismantled or incomplete. A motor vehicle includes a vehicle that is partly completed, but does not include vehicle parts. The importation of a vehicle part does not require a vehicle import approval.

If I am not the legal owner of the vehicle, can I import it?

No. Only owners of the vehicle can apply for, and obtain, a Vehicle Import Approval.

What about Temporary Imports?

You will need a Carnet of Passages. You must not sell the car in Australia and need to re-export it back to the country of origin within 12 months.

What about Cars Built Prior to 1st January 1989?

When importing a vehicle built prior to 1st January 1989, you will only need to obtain an import approval. There is no need to meet other criteria.

Can I Import a Left-Hand Drive Vehicle?

The same rules apply to Left Hand Drive vehicles.

What if my Car has Air Conditioning?

If you want to ship to Australia a car with air conditioning,you will need to degas it before and provide a receipt as evidence. Cars with HFC (R134a) gas can be shipped without degassing, but a licence will be required.

How could I prove the authenticity of the certificates supplied with the used car?

You can prove the authenticity of the certificates by conducting a HPI check. By doing so you can identify any factors relating to a UK vehicle, based on the number plate. A HPI check examines the vehicle’s identity, among other factors including:

  • Outstanding finance
  • Recorded as stolen
  • Written off as a result of damage or theft
  • Declared as a total loss, passed an independent structural examination via an inspection report.
  • Vehicles mileage has been altered
Will I have to change my speedo?

No. Electronic speedos can be modified from mph to kms by pressing a button. Mechanical speedos (mph) have also on their dial kms since 1960’s.

What about the child restraint bold standards?

There is nothing to worry about that. European child restraint bold standards have been founded to be higher in terms of safety loads than the ADR.


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Would you prefer to speak to our team? Drop us a line or call us at +44 (0) 20 8988 7716