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Shipping a Car to New Zealand

Car Shipping from the USA to New Zealand

Shipping Your Car to New Zealand? Car Shipping to New Zealand from the USA starts at a cost of $2,395 USD with an estimated turnaround time of 30 days, depending on the make and model of the car and whether the origin in the USA is on the east or west coast. Below, our 2024 guide will explore everything you need to know about car shipping to New Zealand.

Are you ready to get started shipping a car to New Zealand?

Request a free online quote – Quotes are available online with a guaranteed response within 24 hours for car shipping and moving services to New Zealand.

Please do not hesitate to call or email us anytime with any questions. Contact our shipping experts for more information. We are always just a phone call away!

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Want more information on car shipping services to New Zealand from USA?

Read on below for our US to New Zealand Vehicle Shipping Checklist, Vehicle Import Options, US to New Zealand Car Shipping Costs & Time Frame, US to New Zealand Vehicle Shipping Options, Ports Served in the US & New Zealand, and other details for Car Shipping from USA to New Zealand.

Shipping Car to New Zealand: Checklist

Here’s a rough breakdown of the shipping process you’ll need to go through for New Zealand car shipping.
  • Determine your vehicle’s eligibility for import under the New Zealand Transport Agency’s vehicle import standards
  • Once you’ve identified the standards your vehicle must meet, you’ll need the documentation to prove it, as well as evidence of compliance with emissions standards. Documentation includes:

    • Proof of Ownership

    • Emissions Standards

    • Frontal Impact Standards

    • Fuel Consumption Certificate

    • Evidence of Overall Standards Compliance

  • Understand the costs of shipping a vehicle, including:

    • Freight and insurance charges when shipping your vehicle

    • Wharf, transport, storage and delivery charges after your vehicle arrives

    • Duties, taxes and fees

    • Cleaning the undercarriage of foreign soil

    • Registration and insurance requirements in the relevant New Zealand State or Territory

    • Other charges such as import processing, customs brokers’, and logistics service provider charges

  • Select an international car shipping company and preferred shipping method to transport your vehicle from the United States to New Zealand
  • Determine your vehicle’s departure and destination ports
  • Confirm the vehicle is clean and free of biosecurity concerns – vehicles shipped to New Zealand must meet biosecurity requirements to prevent the introduction of pests and diseases.
  • If you wish to register your vehicle for road use in New Zealand, your vehicle must successfully complete entry certification before you can apply to register it.

More information on the process of shipping a vehicle to New Zealand can be found here.

Online Quotes - Guaranteed Response within 24 Hours!

Quotes are available online for domestic and international vehicle shipping services. Depend on us for reliable and expedited vehicle relocation services - Our dedicated team of shipping specialists are always a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

Vehicle Import Options

As you engage in the auto transport process, some of the most important questions to consider include:

  • Whether you plan to permanently keep the car in New Zealand or if it’s just a temporary move,
  • Whether you have been the owner of the car for over 12 months.
  • Whether the car is older than 20 years.

These questions and more will determine you are eligible to ship your car to New Zealand. New Zealand allows the import of new and used cars , provided the car meets applicable standards, safety compliance standards, and emissions requirements.

There must also be acceptable proof of entitlement to the car and standards compliance. You should never assume your scenario is the same as someone else’s. Some vehicles such as classic cars may have eligibility requirements that differ from those for newer cars.

Controls under New Zealand Land Transport Rules only apply to whether vehicles may be used on public roads or not. You may legally import any type of vehicle if it is for public display or for use on private roads or off road.

To obtain an estimate of the cost to ship your car to New Zealand, fill out our free quick quote form.

Vehicle Import Approval

All used vehicles entering New Zealand for the first time must go through a border check, Customs inspection and entry certification before they can be used on the road. The Transport Agency enforces New Zealand’s vehicle standards law as part of the entry certification process. NZ Customs Service (Customs) checks import requirements such as import tax or duty. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) checks for biosecurity, e.g. the presence of any insects or mud on or in the vehicle.

Entry Certification Process:

  • Verifies that the vehicle met the required safety and emissions standards when manufactured
  • inspects the vehicle to check it is in good condition
  • decides whether the vehicle needs any repairs and/or specialist certification
  • certifies the vehicle for compliance with the safety and emissions requirements
  • issues an Application to register a motor vehicle form (MR2A) and a warrant or certificate of fitness

The entry certification processes apply to mopeds, motorcycles, cars, off-road passenger vehicles, vans, utes, minibuses and heavy vehicles. They do not apply to low-powered vehicles, or to Classes TA and TB (light trailers). Older vehicles, pre-1990, only need to meet some of the standards. The vehicle classes fit into two groups: light vehicles and heavy vehicles, depending on the gross vehicle mass (GVM) which is the maximum allowable weight specified by the manufacturer.

Once the inspector has completed his/her structural inspection a pink Transport Agency sticker will be applied to the driver’s side windscreen wiper arm of the vehicle. The vehicle can be released when both the Transport Agency and the MPI biosecurity inspection stickers are affixed to the vehicle.

Things to Consider

  • You will need to ensure that your car meets all the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Standard Act of 1989, particularly the regulations pertaining to emission levels and safety standards.
  • Release of a vehicle by the Customs Service after arrival in New Zealand is not proof that you will be able to register the vehicle for use on public roads in New Zealand.

Shipping a Car to New Zealand: Costs & Time Frame

Using a baseline of a compact car being shipped and loaded into our weekly consolidated container from the Port of Los Angeles to the Port of Auckland, our estimate for shipping a car starts at a cost of $2,395 USD, with an estimated turnaround time of 30 days.

However, the cost to ship a car to New Zealand and your transit times can vary according to factors such as the model and make of your car, your current location, the nearest departure port in the USA, your shipping method of choice, availability of your chosen auto transport services and your final destination. Additionally, you’ll need to consider additional auto transport costs such as storage, cleaning, other vendor fees, and New Zealand taxes & duties.

Taxes & Duties for Car Shipping to New Zealand

Duties are levied by New Zealand Customs when your car is imported. Immigrants arriving for the first time in New Zealand may be able to import cars without paying GST (Goods and Services Tax) if they satisfy the New Zealand Customs Service that they’re taking up permanent residence, have owned and used the vehicle for at least one year and agree that they will continue to use the vehicle for at least two years. Otherwise, a Goods and Services Tax (GST) at 15% of the vehicle’s purchase price plus all the freight charges.

You may not have to pay duties and GST on cars/crafts if you have documents to prove you’re allowed to live in New Zealand – these are:

  • New Zealand Passport
  • Current NZ Residence Visa or Permit
  • Current permanent residence visa (including resident return visa) issued by the NZ Government
  • Current work visa valid for a year or more
  • Current work visa or permit issued under the Work to Residence (Skilled Migrant Category) policy or the Long-Term Business Visa/Permit category
  • Current visitors’ visa or permit valid for three years or more
  • Have been living outside for NZ for more than 21 months and a returning NZ Citizen
  • Owned and used all the goods before importing them here with you

Please Note: This concession doesn’t apply if you’re importing the vehicle as a gift, to exchange or sell or for commercial use.

To obtain an estimate of the cost to ship a car to New Zealand, fill out our free quick quote form.

Online Quotes - Guaranteed Response within 24 Hours!

Quotes are available online for domestic and international vehicle shipping services. Depend on us for reliable and expedited vehicle relocation services - Our dedicated team of shipping specialists are always a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

Options for Shipping Cars to New Zealand

Car Shipping from USA to New Zealand can be performed using a shared container, a sole container or a roll-on/roll-off service.


Roll-On/Roll-Off – This option to ship a car tends to be one of the more cost-effective ones, as the only added charges asides from shipping costs are port charges and customs clearance charges. Your vehicle will be loaded into the holding area of a large vessel, one which resembles a big parking garage. This method is suitable for shipping and handling bulkier vehicles like work trucks.


Shared Container Service – Several vehicles are shipped using one single shipping container. This is our most used service to ship cars. The shipping container must be processed, so more fees are involved than with the roll-on/roll-off method, however these shipping costs are shared between several clients. The additional car shipment fees include customs clearance, trucking charge, terminal handling charge, and unloading charges.

CFR Classic operates a weekly Shared Container service for shipping cars.


Full Container Load – This method is the same as the shared container load, except that one single vehicle occupies the entire container and the fees, which are like those for shared containers, are borne by you alone.

Container loading offers the benefit of added security. When the vehicle is received, photographs are taken of the car itself as well as the loading process, after which the container door is locked, and the car is kept safe. The car is only released when the container arrives at the destination, and an agent once again takes photographs of the unloading process. The car is kept secure, so clients may transport other items inside the car, although they are advised to pack with care as we are not liable for any loss or damage sustained.

We choose not to use wood ramps like other companies but instead employ a steel loading system, which is more effective in preventing loss and damage when shipping cars – ideal for shipping exotic, luxury, and classic cars.

Additional Services


Sourcing Vehicles – Thanks to nearly thirty years in the car industry, we’ve developed an extensive network of car buyers, allowing us to find and buy cars (such as classic cars) for purchasers located overseas for a commission or additional fee to be paid to the car buyer.


Other Services – Some of the auto transport services we offer in overseas territories include domestic pickup, vehicle import assistance, tracking of your shipment, customs clearance in the USA and a full vehicle inspection report.

Ports Served in the US and New Zealand

Departure Ports – United States

The location your vehicle will depart from depends on the method of car shipping to New Zealand, where your vehicle is located, your budget, and what the nearest port offers. We have multiple departure locations in the USA, including Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Miami, Savannah and more.

Destination Ports – New Zealand

Here are the New Zealand entry ports that we can ship cars to.

  • Auckland
  • Lyttelton
  • Napier
  • Otago
  • Tauranga
  • Wellington

Cleaning Your Vehicle’s Undercarriage

Before shipping your vehicle to New Zealand, the undercarriage must be cleaned and free of foreign soil to prevent the introduction of invasive plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms. This can be accomplished through steam cleaning or other thorough cleaning methods.

CFR Classic can assist with finding an appropriate cleaner to help ensure you comply with this requirement. We do not recommend washing the interior of the vehicle as it can cause mold during transport. Vacuuming the interior is usually more than sufficient.

Plating Your Vehicle in New Zealand

Before a vehicle can be registered for use on New Zealand roads, your vehicle must successfully complete Customs and  MPI entry certification before you can apply to register it – a process that provides you with a certificate of registration and number plates. The costs for registration and licensing vary according to vehicle type, engine size, the period of the license (i.e. six or 12 months) and what the vehicle will be used for.

For information on vehicle inspection requirements, vehicle registration and driver license requirements, contact the New Zealand Transport Agency.

To obtain an estimate of the cost for car shipping from USA to New Zealand and other services, fill out our free quick quote form.

Other New Zealand/US Shipping Options

Online Quotes - Guaranteed Response within 24 Hours!

Quotes are available online for domestic and international vehicle shipping services. Depend on us for reliable and expedited vehicle relocation services - Our dedicated team of shipping specialists are always a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

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