Emigrating to NZ: Sell or Ship Your Vehicle?

This is a guest post by Kristina Bijelic.

In recent years, many Americans have made the decision to pack up their memories and start a new life in New Zealand. Once that major decision has been made, it opens a can of worms about what to take and what to leave. Most people will, at some point, face the decision of whether they should ship their car to New Zealand, or sell it in America and buy a new car when they arrive in their new homeland.

New Zealand is a friendly country, only in part due to the Goods and Services Tax and compliance exemptions offered to immigrants. However, there are certain rules, and it the process can drag on a bit, especially when you’re not working with a professional importer. Before you even start the process of shipping your vehicle to New Zealand, ask yourself…

Is Your Vehicle Eligible for Use on New Zealand Roads?

To import a vehicle into New Zealand, you will need an entry certifier to certify that your vehicle meets the appropriate standards for use on New Zealand’s roads. If you want to handle the import on your own, you need to chat to an entry certifier at the start of the process to find out if your vehicle is suitable. The last thing you want is for the vehicle to arrive, and to be rejected after you have spent money on the import. This process is obviously only applicable to cars that will be used on the roads.

Sometimes, manufacturers recall vehicles that have design defects ranging from minor issues to major safety or performance issues. It’s important to check whether your vehicle is cleared for import into New Zealand. Some of the requirements include that your vehicle must have an accurately working odometer, and it must meet minimum frontal impact standards. You are responsible for obtaining the necessary proof of certification before you can register your vehicle.

Undergo an Entry Certification Inspection

Whether you’re shipping your car to New Zealand or selling it, a thorough inspection will go a long way to satisfying the New Zealand Transport Agency and providing you or a potential buyer (should you decide to sell) peace of mind. A qualified mechanic can test and certify your vehicle. Alternatively, entry testing can be done by any official testing station in New Zealand.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Vehicle to New Zealand?

Of course, you want to be sure that it costs less to ship your can to New Zealand than to sell it and buy a new one on arrival. Naturally, your car’s value and replacement cost will be the first consideration. In most cases, it’s worth looking into shipping your car if it is worth $5000 or more, or if you have a sentimental attachment to it. If it will cost too much to ensure your car meets New Zealand compliance standards, maybe it’s not worthwhile.

To ship your vehicle to New Zealand will require road freight auto transportation from your collection point to the nearest port, which could range from $200 to around $1,000. The ocean freight shipping will depend on the shipping distance between the U.S. port and the New Zealand port. This cost can vary from $3,400 to $4,300 and the shipping can take from as little as three weeks to approximately three months. Roll-on, roll-off shipments can be cheaper and faster.

The nice thing about shipping your vehicle to New Zealand is the fact that the country does not impose tariff duties on personal vehicles, except for motorhomes that are subject to a 10% customs duty. In fact, shipping your car to New Zealand is cheaper than it is to many other countries, provided you meet all the necessary requirements. However, it is usually a good idea to speak to a trusted, reliable auto transport company that can help facilitate the process on your behalf.


Further reading:

10 Things You Should Know About Driving in New Zealand

Healthcare in New Zealand

New Zealanders Keep Dialling 911 Instead of 111 and Here’s Why

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