4 Technical bulletins
25 Immigrants' vehicles
- Under Land Transport Rule: Frontal Impact Amendment 2008 and Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Exhaust Emissions Amendment 2007, a vehicle is not required to comply with an approved frontal impact standard or exhaust emissions standard if it is recognised as an immigrant’s vehicle.
- Under Land Transport Rule: Light Vehicle Brakes 2002, class LC, LD and LE vehicles are not required to meet advanced brake systems requirements if it is recognised as an immigrant’s vehicle.
The following standards marking will be sufficient to determine that an immigrants’ vehicle may not comply with the necessary standards and can therefore be processed under immigrant’s vehicle criteria.
- A whole vehicle approval plate with the framework approval number 98/14 or earlier for both petrol and diesel powered vehicles
- An ADR plate with the approval date of 12/2005 or earlier for petrol, LPG or CNG powered vehicles
- An ADR plate with the approval date of 12/2006 or earlier for diesel powered vehicles
- An EPA label with the model year of 2000 or earlier for petrol, LPG or CNG powered vehicles
- An EPA label with the model year of 2003 or earlier for diesel powered vehicles.
- A whole vehicle approval plate with the approval number 98/14 or earlier
- An ADR plate with the approval date of 12/1995 or earlier.
Electronic stability control (ESC)
ESC provisions do not apply to immigrants' vehicles.
Advanced brake system (ABS) requirements
ABS requirements do not apply to immigrants’ vehicles of class LC, LD or LE.
This document applies to any used vehicle that is undergoing entry certification in New Zealand, which:
- has been identified in writing by a Transport Agency entry certification agent as an immigrant’s vehicle appropriate for certification to enter service in New Zealand, and
- is imported to New Zealand by an immigrant entitled to take up permanent residence in New Zealand, or
- is imported by a New Zealand citizen or resident returning to New Zealand after at least 21 months overseas.
Obtaining recognition of an immigrant’s vehicle
To be eligible to register an immigrant’s vehicle, an applicant must:
1. apply to an organisation appointed by the Transport Agency (such as a Transport Agency entry certification agent), before the vehicle is certified for entry into service in New Zealand (an application form is available in Reference material 50), and
2. pay the appropriate fees (if any) specified in accordance with regulations made under the Act.
Recognition of an immigrant’s vehicle may be granted if:
- the applicant is a New Zealand citizen, or a New Zealand resident, or entitled to take up permanent residence in New Zealand under the Immigration Act 1987 (Note 1), and
- the applicant has lived outside New Zealand for at least 21 months continuously before arriving in or returning to New Zealand (Note 3), and
- the application is made:
a) within 18 months of the applicant’s arrival in or return to New Zealand, or
b) for a vehicle border checked between 1 April 2002 and 8 May 2008, and
c) the applicant has signed a declaration in accordance with the immigrant’s vehicle criteria.
Document authorising residence in New Zealand means any of the following:
- a current New Zealand passport
- a current Australian passport
- a current New Zealand residence visa or permit, or a current New Zealand returning resident’s visa or permit
- a current permanent residence visa (including a resident return visa) issued by the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia
- a NZ Customs service ‘Deed of Undertaking’ (see Reference material 66).
Immigrant’s vehicle declaration criteria
An applicant for recognition of an immigrant’s vehicle must sign a declaration, declaring that:
a) the applicant has resided outside New Zealand for a period of not less than 21 months before the applicant’s arrival in or return to New Zealand and
b) the applicant has personally owned the vehicle, and has registered for personal use in a country outside New Zealand for a period of at least one year before their arrival in or return to New Zealand, and
c) the applicant has not had any other vehicle recognised as an immigrant’s vehicle, and
d) the applicant has not imported the vehicle on behalf of, or for, a third party, and
e) the applicant will not sell or lease the vehicle to a third party for at least one year after the date that the vehicle is first registered in New Zealand, and
f) the vehicle will not be operated in a transport service for at least one year after the date that the vehicle is first registered in New Zealand.
Conditions of use
A vehicle that is recognised as an immigrant’s vehicle must:
a) be registered in New Zealand in the applicant’s name for at least one year after the date on which the vehicle is first registered in New Zealand, although additional names may also appear on the registration documents, and
b) not operate as part of a transport service.
Those persons ‘entitled to take up permanent residence in New Zealand under the Immigration Act 1987’ includes those in New Zealand under the ‘Talent Visa’ scheme.
Customs document (Deed of Undertaking) can be accepted as proof of a person residing outside of New Zealand for a period of not less than 21 months, before their arrival in or return to New Zealand, and as proof that they hold a document authorising residence in New Zealand (see Reference material 66).
The following flowchart explains the procedure for processing an immigrant’s vehicle for entry certification.
Step 1 – Documentation
Immigrants’ vehicles must still meet those standards applicable to the vehicle (according to age, etc).
The VIRM: Entry certification details the standards a vehicle and its components are required to meet. See Inspection & certification Table 1-1-1 for methods to demonstrate compliance with required standards.
Where compliance with an approved standard can not be proven by these methods, the following methods are acceptable alternatives:
- visual confirmation and recording of standards for items such as lighting, glazing, tyres and so on
- low volume vehicle (LVV) certification for modified components, such as brakes, steering and suspension
- a letter of exemption from the Transport Agency for specific items not covered above. Application forms for exemptions can be obtained from the the Transport Agency website.
Step 2 – Compliance inspection
Immigrants’ vehicles must be inspected according to the requirements outlined in the VIRM: Entry certification.
If a vehicle has been modified, it must have LVV certification.
If there is evidence of previous structural repairs or structural damage to a vehicle, it must be referred to a repair certifier for inspection and certification.
Ensure the vehicle meets all other required standards.
Step 3 – MR2A completion and vehicle registration
1. Any original letters must be sighted, copied and returned to the vehicle owner.
2. The following note must be recorded in the LANDATA notes screen:
‘Vehicle must remain registered in the name of >vehicle owner< for at least one year from the date
of registration in New Zealand’.
The applicant’s name must match the name shown on the letter of recognition as an immigrant’s vehicle.
If the vehicle does not meet an approved frontal impact standard, the FIS (frontal impact standard) field must be set to >N<.
3. Update LANDATA with special permit code IM.
4. The MR2A must be completed and printed in the name of the person registering the vehicle. This must be the same as the name shown on any exemption letter.
5. The vehicle must be registered in the name of the person registering the vehicle before a warrant of fitness can
6. The entry certifier must retain a copy of the immigrant's approval letter on the vehicle file.
If an entry certifier wishes to deviate from these instructions, written approval from the Transport Agency must be obtained.
Page amended 1 April 2020 (see amendment details).
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Pre-registration and VIN
- 3 Inspection and certification
- 4 Technical bulletins
- 1 Replacement parts
- 2 Water- or fire-damaged vehicles
- 3 Vehicles modified to change vehicle class
- 4 Identifying a Honda Gyro
- 5 Inspection requirements for temporary vehicle imports
- 6 Auxiliary bars
- 7 Frontal impact standard exemptions
- 8 Frontal impact compliance for Mitsubishi models
- 9 Frontal impact compliance for Toyota Cavaliers
- 10 Inspection for corrosion in Nissan Terrano & Mistral rear floorpan assemblies
- 11 Inspection of motorhomes
- 12 Inspection of daytime running lamps
- 13 Glazing on house-trucks
- 14 Seatbelt requirements for rotating seats
- 15 Toyota Hiace seat and seatbelt requirements
- 16 Replacement seatbelts
- 17 Seatbelt and seatbelt anchorage standards for heavy motor vehicles
- 18 Seatbelt markings
- 19 Seatbelt exemptions
- 20 OE rear upper seatbelt anchorages (with retrofitted seatbelts)
- 21 Rear seatbelts as aisle obstructions in passenger service vehicles
- 23 Used imported motorsport vehicles
- 24 Recording the number of seats for self-propelled motorhomes
- 25 Immigrants' vehicles
- 26 Special interest vehicles
- 27 Alternative proof of compliance – Singapore/Japan
- 28 Exhaust emissions standard compliance
- 29 Declaration for supplementary restraint system, anti-lock braking system and ESC system inspections
- 30 Dual brake systems in overseas driving school vehicles
- 31 Brakes standards compliance
- 32 Static tilt stability compliance
- 33 Category A left-hand drive vehicles
- 34 Bridgestone tyres manufactured in Thailand, Taiwan or Indonesia
- 35 Moped entry certification (class LA, LB)
- 36 Removing a border damage flag
- 37 Electronic stability control identification
- 38 Class MC vehicle definition
- 39 Identifying class MB, MD1 or MD2 based on seats on Japanese deregistration certificates
- 40 Passenger airbag inspection – used imported vehicles from Japan
- 41 Entry certification procedures for certain modified vehicles
- 42 Conversion vans (AKA day vans)
- 43 Takata airbag recall
- 44 Rust prevention or under-sealing on late model cars from the UK
- 45 Recording the number of seats in a vehicle with wheelchair positions
- 46 Parallel imports
- 47 Vehicles fitted with ITS Connect
- COVID-19 recovery
- 5 Reference materials