A customs officer inspecting the door of an international shipping container

Australia Customs & Quarantine Prohibited Items

Australian customs are well known for having strict import rules so what can you ship to Australia? We've created a summary of prohibited and restricted goods you should be aware of before travelling or shipping to Australia.

Banned or Prohibited

Items You Cannot Bring to Australia

These are items that are not allowed through customs or that require special permission to do so. You can usually expect any of these to be seized by AQIS.

  • Homemade Food and Fresh Fruit

    As a general rule any food items that are not clearly labelled are not allowed and at risk of being seized.

    That includes but is not limited to homemade meals, cakes, and preserved products like jams as well as fresh fruit.

  • Live Animals

    Importing live animals to Australia is only allowed under strict conditions. You may bring cats, dogs, horses, birds or rabbits provided they have undergone a number of checks and have been granted explicit permission to enter before arrival.

    Other live animals and pets are prohibited and cannot be imported into Australia. That includes fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, exotic species and more.

  • Live Plants

    The process for importing live plants is long, complex and usually reserved for agricultural or research importers. Your plants must be of an allowed species, free from soil or dirt, and packaged in new and clean bio-secure packaging.

    Don't try to bring your houseplants! That includes cuttings, roots and bulbs.

  • Soil, Mud or Clay

    This includes animal feces and plant material like leaves and bark. Your garden equipment, camping tools, shoes, and any other items likely to carry soil or mud should all be thoroughly cleaned.

  • Fake Designer Goods

    Fake or counterfeit brand name and designer goods like clothing, handbags, shoes, perfume, tech and more are strictly banned.

  • Pirated Media

    Pirated or copied CDs and DVDs of music or movies are not allowed.

  • Weapons

    Almost all weapons are prohibited. Both real and training or novelty versions of knives, daggers, machetes, swords, blowguns, batons, knuckle-dusters, nunchakus, throwing blades, pepper sprays, firearms and blowguns.

    That includes imitation firearms and even soft air (airsoft) weapons. Paintball guns are also banned and so are any electric shock devices.

  • Fireworks

    Bringing fireworks on to an aircraft is strictly illegal and importing fireworks by sea requires extremely strict explosives import permits. If you aren't an industrial or mining corporation then don't bother!

  • Rice

    Uncooked rice is not allowed in to Australia and will be seized destroyed by AQIS. Processed rice products may be allowed under certain import conditions. Refer to BICON for more info.

Restricted or Limited

Items You Can Bring to Australia and Must Declare

These are items that are generally allowed in to Australia with some limitations or restrictions providing they are clearly and correctly declared to customs.

  • Outdoor Equipment

    Fishing gear, camping or outdoor sporting gear, outdoor children's toys, outdoor furniture, and garden equipment can be brought in to Australia only if they are clean and completely dry.

    All outdoor gear should be completely free of soil, mud, clay, animal or fecal matter, plant matter, bark, and seeds.

  • Alcohol

    You are allowed to bring up to 2.25 litres of alcoholic drinks duty free. If you want to bring more than that you'll need to pay duty not just on the excess but on all of your alcohol including the first 2.25 litres.

    Don't try to bring in barrels of liquor or other commercial quantities of whisky, rum or brandy. You'll need an import permit for that!

  • Dairy Products

    You can bring dairy products for personal consumption as long as they are commercially prepared, packaged and labelled and produced in certain countries designated as free from foot and mouth disease.

  • Meat Products

    Restrictions on meat and meat products are frequently changing based on Australia's current disease outbreak statuses so while there are many meat items that you can safely bring in to the country we recommend that you find the latest information from BICON, the Biosecurity Import Conditions Database.

    Generally, pork products including jerky or biltong, and all un-canned items are restricted while labelled canned meat for personal consumption is allowed.

  • Seafood and Crustacean Products

    In general, we would advise regular travellers not to try and bring seafood to Australia but if you want the nitty-gritty details then here they are;

    Crustaceans and molluscs (excluding prawns, oysters and snails) are permitted but must be clean.

    Whole / in-shell oysters are prohibited but oyster meat that is commercially packaged is allowed with certification.

    Land snails or freshwater snails are allowed if commercially retorted while marine snails and conchs are permitted with species and cleanliness certificates.

    Anemones, corals, sea stars, urchins, tunicates, and sponges are allowed but must be dead and clean.

    Raw prawns and shrimp are prohibited. Cooked prawns are allowed but must be certified by the origin countries authorities.

  • Other Animal Products

    Horns, teeth, bones, feathers, fur, leather, skins, beeswax, and honey.

    These items are generally allowed in providing they are free of contaminants. In the case of animal parts such as horns and leathers there should be no soil or dirt, no remaining animal tissue, and free from decay. Beeswax and honey must be free from insects, seeds and other contamination.

  • Instant Beverage Sachets

    You can bring in to Australia powdered or liquid drinks sachets, such as instant latte, cappuccino, or milk teas.

    Sachets, which carry an allowance limit of 10 kilograms total, must be in sealed in commercially manufactured packaging and shelf stable.

  • Baby Formula

    Infant formula is allowed in to Australia providing it is commercially prepared and packaged in an approved FMD-free country.

    You can bring up to 10 kilograms if accompanied by an infant. However, for international shipping and removals customers you can only bring up to 1 kilogram as unaccompanied goods.

  • Dried Herbs & Teas

    This includes saffron and ginseng. Dried herbs and loose tea is allowed but must be finely chopped and there's a 1 kilogram allowance limit in place.

  • Fixed Blade / Single Edged Knives

    This includes kitchen knives, hunting knives, fishing knives or skinning knives are generally allowed as long as they are both fixed blade, and single edged.

    Multi-tool, swiss army or pocket knives are also allowed as long as the blades need to be operated manually.

Bring It

Items You Can Bring to Australia Without Declaring

These are items that you can bring to Australia without declaring as long as they are commercially prepared and packaged, and for personal use. There may still be some quantity or weight restrictions in place.

  • Cash

    You can bring cash to Australia with no limit but for amounts of 10,000 Australian Dollars or more (or any foreign currency equivalent) you must declare it to customs.

    You should know that you are obliged to disclose any negotiable instruments if asked by customs or police officers. That means promissory notes, traveler's cheques, personal cheques or money/postal orders.

  • Coffee

    Roasted coffee, ground or instant coffee is free to bring in to Australia with a limit of 10 kilograms.

    Watch out! If your coffee is Kopi Luwak or Civet coffee then you must declare it, it must be commercially packaged, and are allowed only up to 1 kilogram.

  • Chocolate and Sweets

    You can bring commercially prepared and packaged chocolate and confectionary such as boiled sweets, marshmallow, fudge and toffees in to Australia freely with a limit of 10 kilograms.

    Watch out! Be careful that your sweets or chocolate don't contain otherwise restricted ingredients like bacon, seeds or nuts! You may have to declare it or leave it at home if so.

  • Commercial Baked Goods

    Biscuits, cakes, bread and pastries are allowed into Australia if they are commercially prepared, fully cooked, shelf stable, and contain no meat. Fillings or toppings should be cooked with the product.

    Sorry cheesecake lovers but these are prohibited.

  • Cosmetics

    You can bring cosmetic products to Australia as long as they are commercially manufactured and packaged and with a limit of 10 kilogram or 10 litres.

    Careful, this includes products like soap and shampoo which can easily eat up your 10 kg allowance.

Declare or Beware

How do I Declare My Goods to Australian Customs?

Shipping to Australia

As an international removals service customer and the owner of the goods you are shipping, Australia Customs will require you to complete an Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement known as form B534. This must be completed before your goods leave the UK.

The Australian customs declaration process differs depending on whether you're a traveller arriving by plane with accompanying goods or someone shipping goods separately as unaccompanied personal effects.

Please visit our Australia Import Documents page for details.

Travelling to Australia

Travellers arriving in Australia with accompanying goods (luggage or carry-on bags) will be issued an Incoming Passenger Card by the crew of their arriving plane or ship mid-journey. You should fill out the card with your details and mark “Yes” if you have any of the listed prohibited or restricted items with you. Here’s what it looks like:

You also have the option to dispose of food, plant material, or animal product items free of charge in the airport terminal before going through customs.

What Happens to Items I Declare?

For international removals customers your B534 will be reviewed and, if there are any points of concern, your goods may undergo inspection.

For travellers arriving in Australia a biosecurity officer will assess any declared goods. You may be asked questions, and your luggage could be inspected manually, by using an x-ray or with detector dogs.

In both cases, any unrestricted items will be freely allowed into Australia, but any prohibited items will be seized by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), even if declared. In the case of restricted items, the goods you declare will be returned to you after inspection, providing they pass. However, any item that presents a disease risk or is found to be contaminated (with, for example, soil, insect, or plant matter) contain insects or larvae will be held. If you do not want your items destroyed you will be given a range of options, which you will have to pay for, depending on the quarantine risk:

  • Treating the item to make it safe (for example fumigation, irradiation)
  • Holding the item until an import permit is presented
  • Storing the item at the airport for collection when you leave Australia
  • Re-exporting the item
  • Destroying the item.
Duties

Do I Pay Duty on Items I Bring to Australia?

Shipping to Australia

You do not pay any duty or taxes on any personal items provided you have owned and used them for more than 12 months. This applies when you are shipping unaccompanied personal effects, and you are a returning resident or a new immigrant with an appropriate visa.

When bringing items to Australia by international shipping there is no blanket duty-free allowance. Any new goods you ship are usually subject to duty and specific goods like alcohol, tobacco or some luxury items are subject to additional taxes.

Travelling to Australia

Travellers arriving in Australia with accompanying goods will not be charged duty on personal items you have owned and used for at least 12 months. For newer items, alcohol, tobacco, or perfume there is a $1000 AUD value duty free allowance. If you exceed the allowance value, you’ll have to pay duty on all the eligible items, not just the items that exceed the allowance. Clothes, footwear, and personal hygiene or grooming products are free from duty or tax, even if new.

How Much Are Australian Customs Duties?

The customs duty in Australia for general goods is 5% of the value of the items in Australian Dollars. While this rate applies to most items it can be different for others such as alcohol, which is charged duty by the strength and volume of the product.

Customers shipping to Australia are subject to an additional tax, called GST (goods and services tax) on top of regular duty. This is a 10% tax on the total combined value of your goods, any associated duties, the cost of transport, and the cost of insurance for the goods.

It will help customs agents evaluate your costs quicker and more accurately if you provide receipts or invoices for any goods you have purchased recently.

Resources

Useful Australia Customs Information Resources

Container Shipping Costs UK to Australia

Get the latest information on UK to Australia container shipping costs and container ports.

Shipping to Australia for Personal Belongings, Furniture & Household Goods

Everything you need to know about shipping personal belongings from the UK to Australia, our UK to Australia shipping services, costs and answers to common questions.

Australia Moving Guides

Whether you're looking for basic moving tips, city info, or full visa and immigration guides we've got you covered.

Car Shipping to Australia

We ship cars too. Get more information on our car shipping service.

Australia Container Shipping Schedules

We post up-to-date sailing schedule information and as part of our weekly shipping promise we'll tell you in advance what ship we can get your personal effects on.

Shipping Personal Effects to Australia Customs Guide

We cover all the legalities of shipping household goods from the UK to Australia.

Australian Border Force

The Australian Border Force (ABF) is a federal law enforcement agency responsible for protecting Australia's border. You'll find a plethora of information on their website include more information about duties, concession schemes, and more.

Australian Department of Agriculture

The DAFF handles biosecurity concerns related to the import of food, plants and animals and provides up-to-date details on import policy.

The BICON Database

This database provides detailed information on the current restriction status, import requirements, and duty requirements on thousands of individual types of goods.

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