We are currently redeveloping this website. Check out our Beta website and be sure to leave some feedback!

Glossary of Terms (MVSA)

Important: Please note that the glossary below relates to importing vehicles into Australia under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (MVSA).

The Roads Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation will replace the MVSA, with full implementation of the RVS legislation anticipated by July 2021.

For terms used under the RVS legislation please visit: Road Vehicle Standards (RVS) legislation - Glossary of terms.

Administrator The Administrator of Vehicle Standards determines whether vehicles qualify for an Australian Vehicle Import Approval.
Australian Design Rules (ADRs) National standards for vehicle safety, anti-theft and emissions. The ADRs are generally performance based and cover issues such as occupant protection, structures, lighting, noise, engine exhaust emissions, braking and a range of miscellaneous items.
Carnet A Carnet de Passage en Douane is an international agreement which allows the temporary importation of a vehicle for up to 12 months by visitors to Australia. It is obtained in the country of residence.
Certified vehicle A certified vehicle is one which is deemed to comply with Australian safety and environmental standards.
Compliance plate See identification plate.
Conditional approval Vehicle Import Approval granted with special conditions imposed.
Date of manufacture The date the vehicle was first driven or moved from the manufacturer's production line or production facility, after the vehicle's shell and powertrain assemblies were joined.
DITR DITR is an abbreviation of the ‘Department of Infrastructure and Transport’. This abbreviation will appear as the ‘payee’ on your bank statement after you have paid the $50 application fee to Vehicle Imports.
Identification plate An identification plate is fitted to the vehicle by the manufacturer to confirm that the vehicle complies with Australian safety and environmental standards.
Import option Approval avenues under which vehicles can be issued with a Vehicle Import Approval, most of which are defined import schemes.
Import scheme A specified approval path with defined criteria under the legislation.
Letter of compliance A statement that the vehicle complied with the applicable Australian Design Rules at the time of the vehicle's original build date.
Motor Vehicle Standards Regulations A set of regulations that cover safety and emission standards for Australian motor vehicles, including approval, surveillance and enforcement powers.
Off-road vehicles A vehicle originally manufactured to be used off-road only. It was not designed solely or principally for the transport on public roads of people, animals or goods and / or is not permitted to be used on public roads.
Picture ID Any official form of personal identification which includes a photograph (e.g. driver's licence, passport).
Special purpose vehicle A vehicle designed to perform a function other than the general transport of people or goods.
Vehicle identification number (VIN)

A unique serial number used by the automotive industry to identify individual motor vehicles. VINs can be found on plates riveted to the chassis or frame, stamped into the chassis or firewall and / or etched on the bottom corner of the front windscreen, and also on the vehicle's compliance plate.

More information on VINs

Vehicle import application An application form for a Vehicle Import Approval, together with any required supporting documents.
Vehicle Import Approval A legal document issued by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development that allows vehicles to be imported into Australia.


Last Updated: 3 December, 2020