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Can foreigners buy a car in Australia?

Discover the regulations and requirements for foreigners to buy a car in Australia. Get all the information you need to make an informed decision.
By · September 24, 2023
Can foreigners buy a car in Australia?

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Australia is a highly sought-after location for international visitors, but there may be some confusion surrounding the rules and regulations regarding vehicle purchases for those visiting. Individuals who plan to stay in Australia, for a short or long term, including students, immigrants, and workers with skilled visas, might may find the process of buying a car alien and intimidating. However, it is not. Rather than renting a vehicle, foreigners who wish to make the most of their trip to the Land of Oz and explore its breathtaking landscapes would be wise to buy a car. Take advantage of this opportunity!

How to buy a car in Australia as a foreigner

This blog post explores the legal requirements, financial considerations, and insurance options for foreigners looking to buy a car in Australia. Whether you are a tourist planning a road trip or a long-term visitor in need of transportation, this guide will provide you with the information you need. 

The process of buying a car in Australia as a foreigner

The process of buying a car in Australia as a foreigner can be relatively straightforward, but it is important to understand the necessary steps and requirements. Firstly, as a non-resident, it is crucial to have a valid visa allowing you to legally stay in the country. Having an Australian driver's license or an international driving permit to legally drive the vehicle and a permanent address in the state where the car will be registered is essential. Once these prerequisites have been met, the search for a suitable car can begin. 

Upmove Tip: While a driver's licence isn't required to purchase a vehicle in Australia, you will need one to drive a motor vehicle within the country. 

Where can a foreigner find a car to buy?

There are various online platforms and car dealerships that offer a wide range of vehicles to choose from. It is recommended to carefully inspect the chosen car and conduct a thorough test drive before deciding. 

Once the desired car has been found, the next step is negotiating the price and agreeing on a payment method. Generally, payments can be made through cash, bank transfer, or finance options provided by banks or car dealerships. 

Finally, the car needs to be registered, and this can be done at a state or territory vehicle registration office. It is important to provide all the required documents, such as proof of purchase, identity documents, and residency status. Following these steps ensures a smooth and legally compliant process of buying a car in Australia as a foreigner.

Understanding the legal requirements and paperwork

Understanding the legal requirements and paperwork to buy a car in Australia as a foreigner can be daunting for individuals not familiar with the country's regulations. In Australia, certain legal requirements need to be met to purchase a car, regardless of whether one is a resident or a foreigner. 

What documents do I need to buy a car in Australia?

  • Firstly, an international driver's license or an official license translation is necessary to legally drive in Australia. 
  • Australia doesn't require a driver's licence to buy a car, but you need one to drive, so bring it. You must also have a permanent address in the state or territory where you buy and register the car. Local friends and family who are prepared to let you use their addresses to post registration documents could help. The hostel you're staying at may also receive your mail; they're typically pleased to.
  • Once these legal requirements are met, the remaining paperwork required to purchase a car includes proof of identification, address, and a valid insurance policy. 

Furthermore, it is important to note that additional paperwork may be required by the seller, such as a roadworthy certificate or transfer of ownership documents. Careful investigation and inspection are necessary to guarantee the vehicle is in good working order and free of any outstanding financial obligations.

Finances and insurance for foreigners purchasing a car

Financing options are available for foreigners, including personal loans from banks or car dealerships. It is essential to compare interest rates and repayment terms to choose the most suitable option. Additionally, foreigners are required to have comprehensive car insurance to protect their investments. Insurance policies cover damages caused by accidents, theft, or natural disasters. Researching different insurance providers and comparing quotes is crucial to finding the best coverage at an affordable price.

Researching and choosing the right car for your needs

As a visitor to Australia, navigating the market and choosing the vehicle that best suits your needs might be difficult. With various factors to consider, such as budget, lifestyle, and personal preferences, it is crucial to thoroughly research and evaluate your options. 

  • Start by determining your requirements, whether it be a spacious family car, a fuel-efficient vehicle for commuting, or an adventure-ready off-roader. 
  • Consider the different brands, models, features available and their reliability and affordability. 
  • Additionally, familiarise yourself with Australian road rules and regulations and the process of purchasing a car as a foreigner. This may involve obtaining a valid driver's license, organising finance if needed, and understanding the necessary paperwork and insurance requirements.

Upmove tip: Drive on the left! One helpful piece of advice is to buy an automatic vehicle if you are not accustomed to driving on the left side of the road.

By conducting thorough research and seeking professional guidance, you can ensure that you make the right choice and find the perfect car to suit your needs while navigating the process of buying a car in Australia as a foreigner. 

You should consider the possibility of requiring car transport if you purchase your vehicle in one location and need to transport it interstate or to your final destination. Car transportation may be a more logical and sensible choice than driving yourself to a particular destination.

Navigating the car registration process

When you're a foreigner buying a car in Australia, the registration process can seem daunting. Before beginning the process, foreigners must ensure they have all the documentation in order. You'll need a passport, visa, and a permanent place of contact in Australia. 

After buying the car, foreigners are legally required to purchase CTP or compulsory third-party insurance. International drivers must register their vehicles under their own names and pay the appropriate registration fees. This can be done online or at your area's transportation department. By adhering to these guidelines, overseas drivers will have no trouble buying, registering an automobile and driving it around the country.

When is the best time to buy a car in Australia?

The end of the financial year is the best time to buy a car in Australia, if you’re looking for a good deal.

Between June and September is when manufacturers and dealerships typically reduce pricing, offering lower financing, or providing complimentary services for vehicles to optimise annual revenues and meet their EOFY targets. Buying a product when supply is abundant and demand is minimal to obtain the best deals is also a catch for car buying. 

If you are not coming to Australia during those months, try to find if you have an Aussie-based acquaintance who can negotiate things for you before prices spike sky-high. That's another way to take advantage of this window of opportunity.

Upmove tip: When driving in Australia, locals only use their car horns in extreme circumstances. If you let someone into a gap in traffic or move over on a tiny country road, most drivers will wave to say thanks to showing their appreciation. It is customary for you to return the favour by waving back and expressing your gratitude.


In summary, foreigners are permitted to buy a car in Australia, but there are certain requirements and regulations that must be followed. This includes understanding the process of purchasing a car, registration rules, obtaining insurance, and managing finances. It is important to select a car that suits your needs and preferences carefully. With these considerations in mind, you can confidently and legally purchase a car and enjoy exploring the beautiful sights of Australia.

Need car transport for a new or used vehicle?

We are experts at car transport anywhere across Australia. Trusted by thousands of vehicle owners, tourists and travellers. Door-to-Door Transport. Any Car Type. Fixed Prices.
9.8 · 979 reviews

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