Australia has strict customs and quarantine laws and adhering to them will make your move a lot easier and help avoid any unnecessary fines or seizure of items.
To clear Australian customs you will be required to show your passport and incoming passenger card which will be given to you by airline staff prior to your arrival. The passenger card is for you to declare certain items, such as alcohol, food or large amounts of currency and is also used to keep track of visitors and residents arriving in Australia. It is important that you are honest on the declaration form as there are fines associated with misinformation. Declaring goods does not necessarily mean your bag will be opened and examined. Trained sniffer dogs are regularly used at the customs/baggage collection area and they are trained to sniff out everything from fruit to drugs!
Prohibited Items – What you must not bring to Australia.
- Illicit Drugs – it is illegal to carry drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines or heroin in or out of the country and there are severe penalties attached to this crime.
- Counterfeit goods.
- Offensive Pornography.
There are a variety of other items that are prohibited, restricted or require a permit. See below the main items/categories than must be declared when entering Australia.
What items do you need to declare?
- Firearms, weapons and ammunition: It is not allowed to import firearms into Australia without the required permission.
- Currency: Although there is no limit on the amount of currency you can import in to Australia amounts of over $10,000 in Australian dollars (or foreign equivalent) must be declared. This is to deter money laundering and other illegal activities.
- Performance enhancing drugs: Drugs such as steroids and human growth hormone must be declared and require a permit to bring in to the country.
- Foods, Plants, Animals and Biological Goods: You need to declare all foodstuffs (even the innocent fruit from the airplane trip), plants and animal goods including soil and sand.
- Medicines: Medicines that can be abused/cause dependence, such as steroids or narcotic based medications must be declared and may require a permit. Regular over the counter medications and prescription medications (provided you carry a prescription/doctors authorisation letter) do not need to be declared.
- Protected Wildlife: Protected wildlife items, such as Coral, Ivory Orchids or Caviar have strict importation rules and must be declared.
- Heritage Listed Goods: Heritage listed goods such as Art, coins and stamps may require a permit and must be declared.
- Veterinary Products: All Veterinary drugs and medicines must be declared.
- Defence and Strategic Goods: These goods must be declared and require a permit to enter the country.
Please note If in doubt declare it! The wooden guitar you bought in Bali for your daughter or the orchid you bought as a gift in Thailand may carry some nasty, restricted bug on it. The toy gun in your son’s carry on bag could get you in trouble if you don’t declare it. Fruit and snacks from the plane can be sniffed out by trained airport security dogs. If you aren’t sure, ask one of the customs staff.
Duty Free – What can I bring to Australia?
General Goods – If you are over 18 yrs old you can bring up to $900 AU of duty/tax free goods such as gifts, cameras, jewellery or electronic equipment. If you are under 18 yrs old there is a $450 limit on general goods.
Alcohol – If you are over 18 yrs old, you can bring up to 2.25 litres of alcohol duty free.
Tobacco – If you are over 18 yrs old you can bring 25 cigarettes or 25g of cigar/tobacco products duty free and one open pack are allowed.
For more information go to www.abf.gov.au