- Documents required for Customs clearance
- Sea travellers
- Items you must declare on arrival (including cash/currency)
- Did you know?
Documents required for Customs clearance
If you are arriving, have the following documents ready for clearance:
- incoming passenger card
Your documents will be returned to you after processing. You may then collect your luggage from the baggage hall and proceed to the baggage examination area.
For travellers arriving by sea, Immigration processing may be completed on board the vessel - a Customs officer will then direct you for further clearance.
Items you must declare on arrival (including cash/currency)
BE WARNED: DO NOT CARRY ILLICIT DRUGS
Penalties for drug offences in Australia are severe and could result in a jail term
Prohibited and restricted items
It is illegal to carry drugs including marijuana, cannabis, heroin, cocaine and amphetamines in and out of Australia.
Counterfeit goods and offensive types of pornography are also banned.
Other items may be restricted. You will need a permit to carry these items in and out of Australia.
See the following table for a summary on what you can and can't carry and what you need to declare on your Incoming and Outgoing Passenger Cards. There are penalties for not declaring illegal and restricted items and for making false declarations on your Incoming or Outgoing Passenger Card.
Contact Australian Customs or the consulate or embassy of the countries you're visiting before you travel, for more advice about importing or exporting illegal and restricted items.
What do I have to declare?
Firearms, weapons and ammunition
You must declare all firearms, weapons and ammunition including real and replica firearms and BB air guns that discharge a pellet by means of compressed gas, commonly purchased as "toy" guns. Other weapons such as paintball markers, blowpipes, all knives, nunchukas, slingshots, crossbows, electric shock devices and knuckle dusters must also be declared. Some of these items may require a permit, police authorisation and safety testing before importation.
Performance and image enhancing drugs
All performance and image enhancing drugs must be declared on arrival. These include human growth hormone, DHEA and all anabolic and androgenic steroids. These items cannot be imported into Australia without a permit.
There is no limit to the amount of currency you can bring in or out of Australia. However, you must declare amounts of A$10,000 or more in Australian currency or foreign equivalent. If asked by Customs you must also fill in a Bearer Negotiable Instruments (BNI) form if you're carrying promissory notes, travellers cheques, personal cheques, money orders or postal orders.
Food, plants, animals and biological goods
Declare all food, plant and animal goods, equipment used with animals, biological materials, soils and sand to Quarantine on arrival. If you don't, you could be given an on-the-spot fine or face prosecution.
You need to declare all drugs and medicines including prescription medications, alternative, herbal and traditional medicines, vitamin and mineral preparation formulas to Customs. Some products require a permit or quarantine clearance and/or a letter or prescription from your doctor describing your medication and medical condition.
Prescription medicines are financially subsidised by the Australian Government under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). You can only take out of Australia the amount of medication you need. Carry a medical or dental practitioner's letter or complete a PBS Medicine Export Declaration available from Medicare Australia.
Australia's strict laws control the import and export of protected wildlife and associated products. This includes traditional medicinal products and regulated products such as coral, orchids, caviar, ivory products and many hunting trophies.
You need to apply for a permit to import or export heritage-listed goods including works of art, stamps, coins, archaeological objects, minerals and specimens.
Declare all veterinary drugs and medicines. This includes products that contain substances prohibited without a permit.
Defence and strategic goods
Permits are required to import or export defence and strategic goods. For more information on which goods fit into this category, refer to Customs Export controls for defence and strategic goods factsheet.
Declaring restricted items
Did you know?
Your baggage may be X-rayed when you arrive. This should not affect normal camera film.
Fireworks, flammable liquids, corrosives, gas cylinders are not permitted on aircraft or in your baggage.
Visitors including business people and students can bring such items as desktop or laptop computers and similar electronic equipment duty free into Australia provided Customs is satisfied these items are intended to be taken with them on departure.
Yellow fever vaccination: Refer to the Australian Department of Health and Ageing site, http://www.health.gov.au/ before completing your Incoming Passenger Card given to you before arrival.
If you are importing a motor vehicle, caravan or trailer, yacht or other craft, copies of brochures on requirements are available from Customs offices or Australian missions overseas.
Copyright piracy and trade mark counterfeiting are illegal. By buying pirated or counterfeit items, not only could you end up with a flawed product, you are supporting an illegal trade that could involve serious criminal activity.
You can play an important role in combating copyright piracy and counterfeiting of trade marks by not bringing pirated or counterfeit goods into Australia. In some circumstances pirated and counterfeit goods imported into Australia are liable to seizure by Customs and people importing such goods may be subject to civil litigation or criminal prosecution.
A word of advice
As a routine part of their work, Customs officers may question travellers at any time. Trained dogs may also be used to detect illegal drugs or prohibited imports. If you are in doubt, declare your goods or ask a Customs officer for advice.
Declaring goods does not necessarily mean your baggage will be examined.
There are severe penalties for not declaring prohibited or restricted items and goods on which you must pay duty/tax. Presenting false receipts also carries heavy penalties.
If you are unhappy with any aspect of your dealings with Customs, please ask to speak to a senior officer.
Customs National Information Line
Phone:1300 363 263