Frequently Asked Questions
Got a question? You've come to the right place!
From the time you leave your motorhome in the UK we can generally have it in New Zealand and on the road in eight to twelve weeks, dependent mainly on compliance requirements on arrival.
If this is done correctly, with depreciation allowances for the time you’ve used the vehicle before NZ taxation is calculated, you’re likely to make a substantial saving compared to the retail price of an equivalent model new in New Zealand – and you’ve had all your transport and accommodation taken care of whilst you tour Europe!
It’s true that you could organise all this yourself but there’s a surprising amount of time involved. Even for us, with our established connections and knowledge of the system there are many hours of paperwork, many phone calls and lots of emails to ensure it all goes smoothly.
For example, there’s the paperwork to avoid British VAT. Before shipping you may have to find a place to have the vehicle steam cleaned, source a reliable shipping agent, organise Bills of Lading, etc.
Is it FOB or CFR on the ship?
Where’s the best place to insure it whilst in transit?
What do you need for Customs and MAF clearance when it arrives in New Zealand?
Is it best to use a Customs agent? Where do I find one who's reasonable?
Then you have to modify the vehicle to New Zealand standards.
If you’ve decided to go to Europe to use the vehicle you’ll be doing all this whilst you’re 12,000 miles from home, travelling around and difficult to contact.
Plus, this is just the beginning because you haven’t even started with the complications of New Zealand certification.
Motorhomes are classified as modified vehicles and attract special attention from the New Zealand Transport Agency. Recent rule changes have made motorhome importation and certification much more complex than it was even quite recently. You’ll need specification sheets from both the base vehicle manufacturer and the motorhome builder. If the chassis was made by a third party, such the German company, AL-KO, you’ll need specifications from them too. Some of these documents may not be in English and will need authorised translations.
As you can probably image, all of this can become very stressfull!
Castle European will take care of everything for you. Just one error in this complex procedure could cost you many times our fee.
Compliance is becoming more and more complex. It doesn’t matter if the company that built your vehicle builds ten thousand a year to European standards – if it doesn’t display the correct standards plates and numbers the NZTA will consider it to be a 'Low Volume Vehicle' and may require it to be inspected by a specialist engineer. This procedure differs depending on the maximum gross weight.
Vehicle specifications are constantly changing and occasionally New Zealand requirements are out of line with European standards. Sometimes with minor modification this can be easily rectified, sometimes it can be extremely expensive and some things can't be fixed at all – like emission standards. Obviously it’s wise to avoid models requiring extensive alterations.
Apart from the cost in dollars, it can take many months to make the changes and gain certification. Compliance has become a minefield of complex requirements.
If you’re thinking of importing your vehicle yourslef, we strongly recommend you do your homework very carefully in this area. Make sure you choose a vehicle which requires only minor modifications for New Zealand compliance. There are some vehicles which don’t comply and cannot be made to do so at any cost and Importing one of these would be financially catastrophic for you.
This starts after 90 days of purchasing the vehicle in the UK and continues until exporting it out of the UK.
We can access used vehicles, but because of the tax concessions enjoyed only on a new motorhomes purchased in the UK and exported from the EC, buying ‘nearly new’ can be more expensive than buying a brand new motorhome.
Generally, only vehicles older than around three years are cheaper than new vehicles, but there are a lot of variables and there’s no hard and fast rule.
Talk to us if you wish to consider purchasing a used vehicles. We have access to a large range.
In mid-2010 the New Zealand regulations regarding emission standards were relaxed for new immigrants or returning residents who had been outside New Zealand for more than 21 months and who wished to import a vehicle which they had owned for more than twelve months.
Castle European does not currently import Japanese imported campervans, but there are many different makes and models we can import on your behalf.
We don’t only import motorhomes, Castle European are also the Berker stockists for New Zealand. Check out our adverts on Trade Me for all stock available or visit our For Sale page.
If you wish to collect your vehicle in the UK for a trip around UK or Europe before shipping, we can have it in a ready-to-go condition awaiting your collection. Check out the process of how it all works.
In some circumstances we can even have someone meet you at the airport or a nearby railway station on your arrival.
Castle European's aim is to make your purchase as hassle-free and as pleasant as possible.
There are restrictions on what you can legally drive in the UK/EU using an overseas driving licence and you should familiarise yourself with these rules, and other requirements, before deciding to go ahead on your trip.
A good starting point for information is the travel tips page, advising on the do's and don'ts of motorhome touring, along with lots of Europe travel information.
Please note that all information supplied is given in good faith but should be checked with the relevant authorities.
Once your trip is complete we’ll organise to ship your vehicle back to New Zealand using specialist shippers.
Your motorhome will be carried below deck, out of the weather, on a purpose built vehicle carrier.
On arrival in New Zealand we’ll take the vehicle through the NZ Transport Agency’s compliance procedure and we can register it and deliver it to you if you wish.
When it comes to transferring funds overseas to your family, friends or for another reason, Castle European recommends working with OFX, who are a reputable foreign exchange provider.
Thought of something else to ask..?
If there's something else you'd like to know, we're more than happy to talk to you and guide you through the process.
CASTLE EUROPEAN - YOUR NEW ZEALAND MOTORHOME IMPORTING SPECIALISTS
+64 (0) 21 157 0047
RMVT 381810 | NZMCA 86029