Customs Guide for Personal Effects Shipping to Australia

Customs information and essential documentation for international removals to Australia

When you make your booking with 1st Move International, we will advise you of the documentation that you will need to complete to enable us to export your shipment from the UK, as well as import into Australia. However, here is a quick reference guide of the documentation that you may be required to provide to us.

Table of contents

Personal Effects – Legal Definition

According to the Australian Border Force website, if you arrive from a place outside of Australia and have owned and used your personal effects, furniture, and household goods for more that 12 months, then you are able to import these items free of duty and tax.

These can be shipped as Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPE) and can arrive separately to you arriving into the country (although there must be a connection between your travel and your goods arriving)

These items must be your personal property, and be suitable and intended for use by you in Australia.

What Paperwork Do I need to Import Personal Effects into Australia?

Customs Form B534 (Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement)

We will provide you with a blank copy of this document at the time of booking, and assist you in completing it correctly. This needs to be completed by anyone that is looking to import their household goods into Australia as unaccompanied personal effects free of duty and tax.

This gives the Australian Border Force all of the details of the importer, when they arrived in Australia and specific details of the goods, as well as confirmation that they are applicable for importing free of duty and tax.

The B534 form can be completed either in the UK before you ship, or on your arrival in Australia. We suggest you complete this and return to us, so that we can check the details for you before shipment.

For more information on customs restrictions see our guide on what you can bring to Australia.


Whether you have an Australia, UK or any other passport, a copy of the photo page will be required to clear your household goods into Australia. We ask for a copy of this to provide to the shipping line before they accept your booking, so that we can again check that you meet the criteria for importing your goods avoiding costly hold-ups on arrival.

The signature on the B534 form must be the same as the signature on your passport photo page.


If you do not hold an Australian passport, you will need to have a valid Visa to enable you to import your household goods into Australia. Not all Visas or Work Permits allow you to import household goods free of duty and tax however, so please check with our experts once you have made your booking with us.

Packing Inventory

This is a list and description of the goods you are shipping. We will prepare this list on your behalf for Australian Customs. As we do not know the contents of any goods you may have packed yourself, we will send you the appropriate packing inventory to complete.

You will be required to give us clear details of any goods you have packed and avoid using the term “Miscellaneous” when describing any goods, you have packed as this is not allowable by Australian Customs.

Bill of Lading

Once your goods have shipped from the UK, the shipping line will confirm the sailing date and estimated arrival date. They will also provide us with the Bill of Lading, which is the transport document specific to your shipment.

This document includes the name of the owner of the goods as well as the addresses in the UK and Australia. We will issue an “Express Bill of Lading” which means that an original document isn’t required, and you can claim your shipment with the shipping agent in Australia using a copy only, which we will provide to you.

DoWAE Examination – Important!

All personal effects entering Australian are subject to examination by the Department of Agriculture Water and Environment (DoAWE) They are interested in all items that may have come into contact with soil and vegetation, for example gardening equipment, sports equipment or cleaning equipment.

You MUST thoroughly clean any items that have come into contact with soil and vegetation before these are collected by 1st Move International. We will not arrange any cleaning on your behalf.

Although items are cleaned and/or fumigated before shipping, they will still require DoAWE examination. This can cause delivery delays of up to and over 14days from arrival into the country, and will incur additional costs that your shipping company are not able to pre-pay on your behalf.

More details can be found here or feel free to call us and we can help with any specific questions that you have.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSB)

Although they may sound funny, these little blighters are very serious for anyone shipping goods into Australia. They are native to China and other Asian regions and they can cause widespread damage to crops.

For importing into Australia, goods from some countries are subject to fumigation due to the risk of contamination from BMSB. Currently, goods from the UK are marked as having an emerging risk of contamination by BMSB and may be selected for inspection.

To keep up to date with the latest news regarding BMSB, we have a link to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website page on the Australian Seasonal Measures for Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB).

Is There Anything Else I should Know?

If someone who is importing UPEs into Australia has been in the country for more than 12 months, the Australian Border Force would require an explanation as to why the imported goods have not been shipped within that time.

Inherited Goods – These are imported duty free, as long as the person that is inheriting the goods have permanent residence in Australia and are not using them for business purposes. Customs require a copy of the will, or the relevant extract of the will, a copy of the death certificate, or a letter from the executor. A B534 form must also be completed, and a statement explaining that the imported items are from a deceased estate including the estimated value and confirmation that they are NOT FOR RESALE.

Antiques – Goods must be at least 100 years old to be considered as antiques and imported duty free. If antiques or works of art are considered as household goods owned by at least one year by the owner and not intended for resale, then these are Duty Free. If they are not over 100 years old or been owned for more than 12 months and imported as UPE then 10% GST would be applied.

Motorised Vehicles – Please note that all motorised vehicles require Vehicle Import Approval before they can be imported into Australia, and this must be in place BEFORE SHIPPING.

This not only includes cars and SUVs but also;

  • Children’s Motorised Scooters
  • E-Bikes
  • Quad Bikes
  • Ride on Mowers

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, for more details check out the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts website.

Shipping Furniture and Household Effects to Australia

When you make a booking with 1st Move International, we will immediately send you instructions on all of the information and documentation that we require to enable us to collect, pack, ship and clear your shipment through Customs in the UK and Australia.

Our team of international removals experts are on hand to help with any questions that you have, and to help make international removals to Australia stress-free as possible.

If you would like to get the ball rolling, you can ask us for a quotation by completing the form on this page, giving us as much information as possible. Alternatively, you can call us on +44 117 982 8123 / 0800 389 0784 during UK office hours or e-mail on

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