Japan Used Car Import Duty / Regulation in New Zealand

Year Restrictions

Not Earlier Than 2005

Destination Port

Auckland, Lyttelton, Nelson

Time of Shipment

RoRo (14-24 Days)

Vessel Schedule

RoRo (Monthly)

Shipping Line

COSCO Shipping Lines Ltd, Armacup Maritime Service



Shipping Ports:

Vehicle can be shipped from any port in Japan to all major Ports in New Zealand such as Auckland, Dunedin, Lyttleton, Welington.

Age Restriction:

As per new guidelines, vehicle must not be manufactured before 2006 which means that the vehicle should not be more than 8 years old from the date of manufacturing while it is imported in New Zealand. Exceptions in the rules are granted if the vehicle imported is a ‘special interest’ vehicle or the vehicle has been registered in buyers name in Japan.

Emission Standards:

Vehicles must meet up with the emission standards described by New Zealand government as per their class. Testing can be conducted by only approved testing stations.


JEVIC and Quarantine service (MAF Biosecurity) inspection are required to be done in Japan before importing the Car in New Zealand from Japan. Used vehicles from Japan, before being used should pass through Biosecurity clearance as they can carry a number of biosecurity contaminants, including high risk pest species like Lymantria dispar (Asian gypsy moth). This is done with the objective to determine the nature and quantity of slippage. The measures specified by the current Import Health Standard are adequate for 31% of used vehicles imported (6% that are uncontaminated and 25% that have only visible contamination). The remaining used vehicles imported either has contaminated air filters and/or may have contamination that cannot be seen with visual inspection.
Established in 2001, Japan Export Vehicle Inspection Center (JEVIC) Co Ltd is a Japan based company involved in pre-shipment inspection and certification of cargo. The Company is certified to ISO/IEC 17020: 1998 IBS Standard Type A and comprises a team of completely dedicated mechanics and inspectors, who perform quality inspection on Japanese used vehicles. The company is located in all major ports in Japan like in Kawasaki (Tokyo Bay) Nagoya, Yokohama, Osaka and Hakata. They are also having their branch offices in New Zealand & Singapore. JEVIC have such strict ways of inspecting used vehicles that some countries have made it mandatory to have the JEVIC certificate along with the used vehicle importing to their country. Criteria of JEVIC inspection: Exterior inspection:
  • No corrosion (if so this must be painted e.g. painting with chassis black (paint).
  • No repair that detracts from the general appearance of the car (such as taping).
  • No sharp or dangerous projections (including broken antenna, etc.)
  • No missing or loose parts.
  • Doors to be able to open and close smoothly, be able to lock.
  • No damage that exceeds an area greater than the 1/4 of a panel in size. Even if it is not mentioned above, the car is failed when it has a hole in the panel.
  • All components must be fixed firmly.
  • Sliding doors are able to be secured in the open position.
  • Power operated doors to be able to operate manually.
  • Draught excluders and weather rubbers are present and working.
  • All door and ceiling linings and any upholstery are free from damage (such as open tears and staining) in excess of 10 cm for passenger vehicles or 30 cm for commercial vehicles.
  • To be equipped with safety belts that function correctly with no corrosion (if so, must be painted with chassis black paint).
  • No corrosion (if so, must be painted with chassis black paint).
  • Not containing a large amount of rubbish.
Components are not to have any deterioration, looseness, and other excessive damage. Suspension:
  • No corrosion (if so this must be painted with chassis black paint) excluding areas predetermined to rust (only unprotected from manufacture. e.g. differential case).
  • No leakage of water, oil, fuel and tear’s of the boots or bushes, loose mounts.
  • Shock absorbers operate normally.
  • All functioning correctly.
  • All bulbs working.
  • Air condition, Power window, Horn must function correctly.
Engine Bay:
  • No fluid leakage including water, oil, or fuel
  • Not containing a large amount of rubbish
  • No excessive noise or vibration and mechanisms functioning correctly.
  • No corrosion (if so, must be painted e.g. painting with chassis black paint)
  • No excessive deterioration or damage to the belts
  • No fluid leakage from the battery, all wiring and cables to be properly fixed.
Exhaust System:
  • No leakage or excessive noise.
  • Correct size for the vehicle, without cracking, bulging or tear in the fabric which is more than 25 mm longer or 10% of tread width.
  • All treads need to be more than 1.6 mm, fixed to the vehicle firmly, and correctly inflated.
  • Rear reflectors need to be colored in red.
  • Front or middle reflectors be colored in orange.
  • Securely attached.
  • All bulbs working.
  • witches functioning correctly,
  • No damage to lenses such as cracks, etc.
  • To be able to retract backwards, able to be stowed, securely attached and operating correctly.
  • Function correctly in accordance with switch operation.
  • No corrosion or excessive lack of wiping.
After such detail checking of each and every part of the used vehicle a detail report is made and a certificate is issued. Independent pre-shipment inspections, examine, confirmations and certifications are provided by JEVIC. Regulatory authorities of the large number of importing countries contact JEVIC to conduct inspections on all vehicles prior to their import in the country.

Documents Required while importing vehicle in New Zealand:

Entry Certification:

An entry certified process is carried out before the imported used vehicle from Japan can be used. The process of certification invloves:”
If you’re importing a used vehicle from Japan you must provide evidence that it meets a range of approved standards before it can be registered for use on the road.

Proof of ownership:

You need to provide evidence that you’re the legal owner of the vehicle. This includes the original documents that prove previous registration and provide an ownership trail that goes back to the last registered owner in the country where the vehicle was last registered.

Passenger vehicles:

Passenger vehicles excluding mini-vehicles: the original export certificate (with a type designation number (TDN) and a model code) issued by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) or completion inspection certificate.


Mini-vehicles (660cc or less, Kei-Jidosha): You need to provide the original export certificate issued by Light Motor Vehicle Inspection Organisation


All other vehicles: You can use an original export certificate issued by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) or a completion inspection certificate.

Alternatively, for heavy vehicles, you need to provide:

In some cases certified English translations of documents not in English may be required.

Evidence of compliance with emissions standards:

Used and parallel-imported new vehicles, for both you can present an original Japanese export or completion inspection certificate showing one of the applicable emissions code character sets at the beginning of the industry model code. See examples of the certificates below.
Regulation Fuel type
Petrol, CNG, or LPG Diesel
Japan 05 Those complying with the 2005 Regulations Those displaying a three-digit emissions code (eg ‘ABA’, ‘CBA’, ‘DBA’, ‘DAA’, ‘LDA’, ‘ZAA’)
Alternatively, a statement of compliance that includes an approved emission standard is acceptable proof that your vehicle meets New Zealand requirements.

Evidence of compliance with frontal impact standards:

If your vehicle is Class MA, MB, or MC, you must prove that it was manufactured to meet an approved frontal impact standard. Depending on the date of manufacture you can provide proof of its compliance using.

For cars (class MA):

Cars that are not mini-sized comply if they:

  • Were manufactured on or after 1 January 1996 in Japan, for the Japanese market or
  • Were manufactured outside Japan on or after 1 April 1999 and were accepted through Japan’s vehicle approval process.

You may not have to prove your vehicle complies with frontal impact standards if:

  • It is more than 20 years old
  • It is a ‘special interest’ vehicle
  • You’re emigrating or returning to New Zealand and bringing your vehicle with you.

For 4x4, SUV, and forward control vans (classes MB and MC)

If your class MB or class MC vehicle was manufactured after 1 October 2003 it must meet a frontal impact standard. The exception is if you are emigrating or returning to New Zealand and bringing your car with you. If the vehicle manufactured in Japan for the Japanese market on or after 1 October 2003, it will meet a frontal impact standard accepted in New Zealand.

Evidence of compliance with fuel consumption information requirements

  • You can use an online tool to provide fuel consumption compliance information, if:
  • You have an export certificate or completion inspection certificate.

You will then get a fuel consumption certificate, which you take to the entry certifier.


Some Japan used vehicles manufactured from the year 2018 onwards are unable to provide all the necessary fuel consumption information and will need a Rule exemption from the Transport Agency.

Evidence of compliance with heavy-vehicle brakes standards

Must check for compliance with one of the approved brake standards if you want to import heavy vehicles of class MD3, MD4, ME, NB, or NC, no matter what date the vehicle was manufactured. See the detailed information about how to prove compliance with an approved brake standard in the following sections of the Vehicle inspection requirements manual – entry certification:

  • Brakes: 8–1 Service brake and park brake
  • Technical bulletin 31 – Brakes standard compliance.

Evidence of overall standards compliance

You need to prove your car meets all applicable New Zealand standards, which depend on the date of manufacture. One way to do this is to get a statement of compliance.

Evidence you can present

As an alternative to a statement of compliance, you can use:

  • An export certificate issued by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT)
  • Completion inspection certificate.
Class MC vehicles entering New Zealand on or after 1 March 2016 must also be fitted with an electronic stability control (ESC) system.

Kai mark:

Check the certificate for a kai mark like this Kai mark. After the model code. This indicates that the vehicle has been modified and may no longer meet the required standards. We strongly suggest that you check with an entry certifier to make sure that the vehicle complies with required standards.


Your vehicle export certificate or completion inspection certificate must include a type designation number (TDN). If there’s no TDN on the certificate, you’ll need to get a statement of compliance or apply for a TDN exemption through the entry certifier.

Applying for an Exemption to Fuel Consumption Information Requirements:

The Transport Agency is aware that some imported used vehicles manufactured in Japan from 2018, that have been tested for fuel consumption using the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), may not be able to meet all the requirements of the Fuel Consumption Information Rule.


If you are importing a used Japanese vehicle that was tested using WLTP and when you use the online tool it does not show values but ‘no data recorded’ in any of the fields on the fuel consumption certificate, you should apply to the Transport Agency for an exemption, as this vehicle will not be able to be entry certified. The Transport Agency is not charging a fee for these exemption applications.

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