Moving a vehicle interstate

Submitted: Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 18:35
ThreadID: 104255 Views:5420 Replies:10 FollowUps:10
This Thread has been Archived
Not sure about anywhere else, but it's worth checking.

If I as a WA driver, with a WA license, buy a caravan or any vehicle in another state. That vehicle is *unregistered* as soon as it hits the WA border. From then on it can only be moved using a Temporary transfer Permit, or it is examined and licensed in WA, unless you can get it on a truck or other form of wheels off the road transport.

I have just arranged to have a boat and trailer moved across Oz. The trailer came from NSW. The driver was from Qld. AFAIK he broke the law and was driving an unregistered vehicle. In fact the boat went from NSW to Vic the SA and thence into WA. So it _may_ have been illegal as soon as it hit the Vic border.

I was going to do it myself. Woe betide anyone who has an accident involving such a vehicle.

FYI to anyone planning to buy interstate and bring it back, or for any reason has a vehicle registered in a state other than their driver's license state. Definitely check all state laws that the vehicle will pass through.

You have to assume that hired vehicles are the exception.

Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Rockape - Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 19:07

Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 19:07
I think you should show that rule to me from the WA transport website.

Besides the hire vehicles there would be a huge amount of trucks that fall into this category. Me thinks wires are a bit crossed here.
AnswerID: 517878

Follow Up By: OldNick - Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 19:14

Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 19:14
Thanks for the reply.

I was misinformed...By a DOPI phone rep, though. So I do not know where it is on the site. In fact I struggle to find anything on that site....however.

I rang back in the face of several replies like yours. I was then told that as long as it was in my name, I was OK. ALso if somebody drover it _on my behalf_ such as delivery, it was OK.

So now I had two stories. As I will, I tried again. THIS time I was told that as long as was on my name in NSW I was OK, but that NSW would not allow me to do that. So here I am, as confused as when I confused. Before I had no idea there was a problem with me just taking the vehicle and bringing it back, changing it into my name within the 14 days allowed.

FollowupID: 797647

Follow Up By: Neil & Pauline - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 09:57

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 09:57
The law was 5 years ago that if you lived in WA you had 3 mths to change the licence over. As I was travelling around with a qld plate it was all OK until licence expired. Don't believe it has changed. If it has how do interstae travellersd get on.

FollowupID: 797666

Reply By: OldNick - Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 19:23

Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 19:23
BTW. I think that the hire vehicle and truck thing probably does not apply. This may well all hang on the fact that the original owner has entered his side of the document. So of course a truck driver using somebody else's truck is not affected. There has been no transfer started.

AnswerID: 517880

Reply By: OldNick - Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 19:25

Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 19:25
BTW. I think that the hire vehicle and truck thing probably does not apply. This may well all hang on the fact that the original owner has entered his side of the document. So of course a truck driver using somebody else's truck is not affected. There has been no transfer started.

AnswerID: 517881

Reply By: Member - Murray M2 - Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 21:17

Monday, Sep 09, 2013 at 21:17
I was always on the understanding you had a period of time to reregister your vehicle,,,,, IE service personnel etc, if you were going to relocate permanently. otherwise the moment I drove my vehicles etc from one state to another would I be ILLEGALL>

dont think so
AnswerID: 517887

Reply By: Ron N - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 00:19

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 00:19
Nick - The relevant law in W.A. is under "Road Traffic (Vehicles) Act, 2012" - Part 4, Section 4, Sub-Section 5.$FILE/Road%20Traffic%20(Vehicles)%20Act%202012%20-%20[00-b0-02].pdf?OpenElement

This subsection states that a driver does not commit a vehicle registration offence if the vehicle is "authorised under the Law of another jurisdiction" (i.e. another State), and the driver is ordinarily resident in that State.

However, a vehicle registration offence is committed if a driver is ordinarily resident in W.A., and drives a vehicle that is "authorised under the Law of another jurisdiction".

What you do, is you get a Temporary Movement Permit (TMP) from the Eastern State you have purchased in, to move the vehicle to W.A.
Once at the W.A. border, this Eastern States permit becomes invalid, and you need to acquire a W.A. TMP for onward movement in W.A.
I think you'll find the W.A. Police will allow you to drive to Eucla from the border to acquire a W.A. TMP.

You cannot register a vehicle in any State except the one your MDL is issued in.
If you go to VIC, NSW, or QLD with a W.A. MDL, and buy a vehicle/trailer/caravan, the authorities will refuse to register it in the State that you have purchased it in - even if you do give them a local address.

You have 30 days to re-register a registered Eastern States vehicle in W.A. if you move to W.A. to live.
You have to convert your MDL to a W.A. one within 30 days of moving here to live.

If you're normally resident in the Eastern States, you can drive around W.A. on an Eastern States rego as long as you like.

Your driver broke no law if his MDL was issued in QLD and your boat trailer was issued with a TMP from the NSW authorities.
He broke the law if he moved it without a TMP - because if the ownership of the boat trailer had been officially transferred, the rego became invalid.
The ownership transfer, in effect, is officially "stalled" until you re-register in your home state - whereby you must present fully-documented proof of purchase

Hire cars are different - the driver of the hire car can drive around any State in Australia with no restrictions, because they're a hirer, not an owner.


A W.A. TMP is recognised in the N.T. and S.A. - but not in any other State.
A Victorian, QLD., or NSW TMP is recognised in S.A., but not in W.A.
AnswerID: 517897

Follow Up By: tonysmc - Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 at 14:28

Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 at 14:28
Not true Ron,
Over the last 30 years I have had several vehicles (cars, trailers, boats, caravan) registered in a different state to where I live and where my licence is held.
The criteria is, that your licence must be in the state that you reside and the registration must be where that vehicle is garaged. This does not have to be in the same state. Currently I have my licence in one state + cars, trailers etc and 1 vehicle and a boat licence in another. I have done this for years and the authorities have always happily sent all rego/licence forms to me at my home address which is interstate from them.
Cheers Tony.
FollowupID: 797718

Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 at 14:53

Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 at 14:53
Tony - Then you must be operating in different states, and utilising different state laws, to the ones I know about.

I have a W.A. MDL and W.A. home address, and bought a ute in VIC, and VicRoads refused to do the transfer, on the same VIC plates, to a mates address in VIC.

I bought a Mack truck in VIC, moved it to QLD to do the purchase transfer (saved several thousand dollars on stamp duty by doing so) - but I had to convert my W.A. MDL to a QLD MDL to do the truck transfer onto QLD plates.
I brought the truck back to W.A. to work, and converted my MDL back to W.A. again, and transferred the truck onto W.A. rego.
FollowupID: 797719

Reply By: Member - Broodie H3 - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 10:24

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 10:24
Hi All,
just to get my head around this issue, to say that I am travelling around Australia and I decide to up grade my caravan while in Victoria, do I only have a certain amount of time to come back to W.A and re register the van in my name in W.A even though it is registered in my name in Victoria, and that I can't keep going around Australia for the next twelve months. is this what you are all saying. If that is the case, there must be a lot of illegal vans being towed around Australia.
Broodie H3
Have car will travel

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 517913

Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 11:08

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 11:08
Broodie - Where is your regular "place of residence", and in what State is your MDL issued?

If you have a W.A. MDL and your regular place of residence is Victoria, you are obliged to have your MDL re-issued as a Victorian MDL within 30 days.

If you have a W.A. MDL and your normal place of residence is W.A., then you would not be able to register a new/replacement caravan in VIC under this scenario.
You would need to transport the caravan to W.A. on a TMP for inspection and registration in W.A.

If you have a Victorian MDL and are normally resident in Victoria, you can buy a new/replacement van, register it in VIC and travel anywhere in Australia for as long as you like - provided you keep the van registered.

The over-riding factor is this: Police are continually on the hunt for stolen, rebirthed and unregistered vehicles/trailers/caravans.
They are the major drivers in this scenario, interpreting the law as they see it.

All police have Australia-wide access to all the States registration database, at the press of a button in their vehicles on-board computer.

When you're pulled up, if your vehicle or trailer or caravan does not appear on any State database, as being registered or travelling on a TMP - you'd better have a good argument for them, and very comprehensive documentation to back up your argument.
FollowupID: 797670

Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 14:09

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 14:09
As a follow-up - here is the relevant W.A. DOT webpage for information relating to transferring an interstate licence.

I must apologise, I was in error above, in stating that you need to move any vehicle/trailer/caravan to W.A. for inspection and licence transfer.
This regualtion now applies only to trucks or commercial vehicles, or vehicles with more than 4500kg GVM.

The law requiring an owner or purchaser to physically move and present the vehicle for inspection in W.A., for interstate licence transfer, has now been revoked, for vehicles/trailers/caravans under 4500kg GVM - and you can transfer an interstate licence to a W.A. licence, WITHOUT MOVING the vehicle/trailer/caravan from the other State - PROVIDED;

1. That the vehicle is still currently registered in the other State;

2. Or; that it has been registered in your name in the other State for 12 mths or more;

3. That if it is powered, it is fitted with an APPROVED immobiliser;

4. That it has not been modified in any way; OR; if modified, it has approval from that other State - or approval is not required for the modification;

5. That the vehicle does not require an annual inspection (bus, taxi, hire car, driving school vehicle, 13 seats or more.)

All the necessary forms for interstate transfer are provided for printout on the above webpage.
Remember to fully document your purchase, particularly private purchases.
You may have to fill out a Statutory Declaration if the purchase documentation is inadequate.
An SD requires witnessing by a JP or other nominated important person, meaning extra run-around.

FollowupID: 797678

Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 at 10:58

Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 at 10:58
Hi Ron,
just to answer your query I live in W.A. and we are thinking of going to Vic, to buy our next van and we will be travelling around the block when we go, our idea is to do the three months in each state, and upgrade the van in either Vic, or Queensland. As we will be based in those states for three months or more how would we get on with the up grade then, surely other people have done this, with out to much Hassle.
Broodie H3
Have car will travel

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

FollowupID: 797713

Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 at 14:24

Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 at 14:24
Broodie - Well, the governing factor is where your "regular place of residence" is - and in what State your MDL is issued.

If you have a W.A. MDL, and your "regular place of residence" is W.A. - then if you buy a 'van in VIC or QLD - and it's already registered - then you can apply to have it re-registered in W.A., without moving it - provided it's under 4500kg GVM.

If you have a W.A. MDL, and a W.A. address, and you try to transfer the VIC or QLD registered 'van into your name, using the same VIC or QLD rego number - then the authorities will refuse to do the transfer.

I already have recent personal experience of this, after buying a ute in VIC and trying to transfer the VIC rego into my name, using a mates VIC address. VicRoads refused to carry out the transfer. I have a W.A. MDL and home address - and the MDL state of issue, governs the whole deal.

If you change your "regular place of residence" to VIC or QLD - you're obliged to transfer your W.A. MDL (within 30 days) to a VIC or QLD MDL, to match your "regular place of residence".
Once you do this, transferring ownership into your name, using the same VIC or QLD rego is a cinch.

Here's some tips and hints:

1. Watch out for the substantial difference in stamp duty and transfer costs, that vary quite a bit between States. This cost is often ignored by purchasers - but on a sizeable sum, it can be $1000 or more.

2. W.A. registration is preferred by most travellers, as W.A. licencing conditions are more owner-friendly than many other States. You have no requirements for annual inspections or "pink or blue slips". Annual inspection cost is an additional cost burden.

3. W.A. rego can be let lapse for 3 mths before needing renewal. However, you can't use the vehicle/trailer/van on the road after 15 days beyond the end of the rego period, as this is the limit of the insurance cover time.

4. W.A. rego is usually cheaper than other States.

5. The only downside to W.A. rego is our insurance policy is a "fault" insurance system - not a "no-fault" system. VIC, NSW, TAS and the N.T. all have "no-fault" insurance in their registrations.
This means if you have an accident with a W.A.-registered vehicle - and you are injured/killed as a 3rd party - then you, or your NOK have to go to court to prove fault and liability.
The Gillard Govt tried to get States to agree on a nation-wide NF system, but it hasn't happened yet.
FollowupID: 797717

Reply By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 10:47

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 at 10:47
Lets get this straight.

The vehicle must be legally registered OR on a temporay regestration permit ( legally registered).....that is the first thing to understand.

The is absolutely no problem whatsoever driving a vehicle registered in someone else's name in a state in which you are not a resident.

The complication is the transfer of regestration.

How this is handled is the contencious issue.

The following is not legal advice and you should check this yourself.

If you have purchased a vehicle interstate and have all the paperwork including any transfer have proof of ownership.....thus the vehicle is proven not stolen
BUT if the transfer papers have not been lodged, ( you get wot 7 or 14 days to lodge a transfer) the vehicle remains registered in the previous owner's name....the vehicle is legally registered and legally in your possession.

If the vehicle is purchased interstate and you have arranged for the regestration to be transfered and that is confirmed by the authority in your state.....the vehicle is yours and it is in your name......this may take time, but in some cases it can be done.
Plates and stickers can be obtained either in person or via the mail.

If the vehicle is no longer registered, and you have a temporay regestration either in your name in your state of regestration or in the previous owners name in their state of residence...the vehicle is still legally registered and you are legally in possession of it.

If however, the vehicle is not registered, due to not having been registered for some time, or the regestration being canceled..and you have not a temporay regestration .its not registered.

If the transfer has been lodged interstate....that may be a little complex...if however they allow you to lodge a transfer in the state of purchase, in your name and to your state of residence.....surely it should be all good except the plates don't match.
AHH......but will they allow you to do that...will they want the plates back at time of transfer....will they (all of em) accept that although the vehicle carries no plate or sticker that it is infact legally registered....HMMM good question.

There are other issues such as roadworthy documents and the like.....your road authority may accept an interstate road worthy on that states forms...OR...there my be a road worthy inspector in one state registered in the neibouring state or another is done.

Because all of this is done on paper, you do not have to have or necessarily present the vehicle in your state to lodge the paperwork.

So if the purchase is a done deal, and you have all the necessary, it would be reasonable to go to the other state..paperwork lodged, plate and maybe sticker in hand...and slap em on the vehicle that is registered in your name.

The people who can be in trouble are those who have not thaught about this and just hutch the thing up and two it home without thaught about how the legal, matters are to be dealt with.


AnswerID: 517919

Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 at 13:08

Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 at 13:08
Crikey, this did my head in (not that is hard mind you!)...

Not sure what is right, or wrong, but the main take-away for me was, don’t buy a vehicle in another State; leave that to someone else!

Good luck out there...
AnswerID: 517958

Reply By: GrumpyOldFart - Friday, Sep 13, 2013 at 21:49

Friday, Sep 13, 2013 at 21:49
I have a WA drivers licence and have 2 vehicles registered in my name in SA.
My WA address is a PMB at Alice Springs but I also have an address in SA
I just spent a few weeks driving from SA to Brisbane with a WA registered ute towing a SA registered caravan and I had no interest from the police.

Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly,
Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 518094

Reply By: tonysmc - Saturday, Sep 14, 2013 at 16:36

Saturday, Sep 14, 2013 at 16:36
As Grumpy said above, it can be done. My last purchase was only 4 months ago, which I purchased a caravan in Victoria which is registered in Victoria yet my licence and residential address is interstate. It is not a problem and they send all the paperwork to my interstate address. The only condition is that any of the vehicles I have registered in Victoria are normally garaged in Victoria. I have had numerous vehicles registered interstate over the years, mainly Victoria.
Cheers Tony.
AnswerID: 518133

Follow Up By: OldNick - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 17:39

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 17:39
So if I purchased from the vendor, they placed a disposal notice and I then went and re-registered the vehicle, on my WA MDL, but said that that the vehicle was still to be garaged at the home of the vendor, I can then drive it wherever I want?

I can actually see that scenario. I buy from the vendor, but I base myself at their place while I holiday about. That would be tough to prove if I never left WA though. I was just lending the vehicle to a third party after buying it myself.

Also, you are describing this as a "residential" address. Again if I never leave WA....

But Ron N posted that if you drove a vehicle that was registered in a state other than your MDL state, you commit an offence. So even IF NSW will let me licence the vehicle in my (WA MDL) name, but "garaged" say, at the vendor's address, then according to the above I am illegal driving it in WA.

Again Ron N's statement puzzles me. That has hire and trucker implications. Does this mean that if and only if I drive a vehicle
- licenced in my name
- but licenced in a state other than that on my MDL

I am illegal?

This is all ridiculous. These laws are such that nobody knows.

FollowupID: 798564

Follow Up By: tonysmc - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 22:03

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 22:03
If it was illegal then they wouldn’t be sending my rego papers to my home address interstate, also as you said how could you drive hire cars. Another thing to think about is if someone loses their licence that does not mean their car is automatically unregistered. (maybe someone that has lost their driver's licence could confirm that?) So effectively you don’t even need to have a licence to have a vehicle registered in your name.
I believe you would not find someone selling a vehicle willing to state that the vehicle is garaged at their residence, unless you knew them.
The bottom line is, any vehicle should be registered in the state where it is normally garaged and your driver’s licence should be where you normally live and work. These do not have to be in the same state/territory.
While I love this site, this sort of information should be asked of the relevant authority. Always email them so that you have a reply in writing as you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll never speak to the same person again or get the same answer via the phone.
FollowupID: 798576

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (11)