Quick guide to customs for travelers

Duty free allowance

Travellers are allowed to bring into Australia the following goods duty/tax free. Goods bought overseas or bought duty/tax free before leaving Australia are included when determining your duty free allowance.

  • $A400 worth of goods not including tobacco or alcohol ($A200 for travellers under 18 years of age). For example, cameras, electronic equipment, leather goods, perfume concentrate, jewellery, watches, sporting goods, etc.
  • 1125 ml alcoholic liquor (including wine, beer or spirits) for travellers aged 18 years and over.
  • Tobacco - 250 cigarettes, or 250 grams of cigars or tobacco products other than cigarettes, for travellers aged 18 years and over.
  • Most personal items such as new clothing, footwear, articles for personal hygiene/grooming.
  • Personal goods owned and used by you for at least 12 months can also be brought into Australia without payment of duty and tax (proof of date of purchase may be required).
  • Personal goods do not include motor vehicles and motor vehicles parts regardless of the length of time used and owned.

Members of the same family who are travelling together may combine their individual duty/tax free allowances.

Gifts (given to you or intended for others) are counted as part of the $A400 duty free allowance.

If you have anything in excess of your duty free allowance:

  • declare the goods and provide proof of purchase to Customs for calculation of any duty and tax to be paid.
  • Customs will not collect combined duty and taxes of less than $A50 provided that excess goods are declared.

As soon as the $A50 limit is reached, the passenger must pay the full amount of duty and/or taxes, not just the amount in excess of $A50.

It is important to note there are different rates of duty and tax. You should find out the duty and tax rates of goods before you buy that extra bottle or other items in excess of your duty/tax free concession. If in doubt, contact a Customs office or call 1300 363 263(Australia only) for information.

If overseas, contact your local Australian mission or consulate.

Payment of Customs Duty/Taxes

Payment of Customs duty and/or other taxes may be made in cash or by travellers cheque in Australian dollars or by personal cheque drawn on an Australian Bank or by Credit card (American Express, Diners Card, Mastercard, Visa or Bankcard) - only available at international airports or by electronic funds transfer (EFTPOS) from an Australian bank account only available at international airports.

Business Travellers

  • Business travellers carrying commercial goods or samples may need to obtain permits for their goods depending on the nature of the goods, regardless of value. Quarantine and wildlife regulations and other restrictions may also apply to certain goods.

A customs entry for Customs clearance may be required if the goods carried are valued over $A250.

Laptop computers and other similar electronic equipment for personal use may also be brought in duty/tax free provided Customs is satisfied you are taking these goods with you on departure.

Temporary importation of commercial goods

Carnetsmay be obtained for temporary duty/tax free entry of goods such as commercial samples, jewellery, goods for international exhibitions, equipment for sporting events, professional television and film equipment etc. Contact your International Chamber of Commerce for application details.

For more information on importing goods, contact a Customs office or an Australian mission overseas or refer to the Customs brochure Customs Information for Importers available at Customs offices in Australia or at Australian missions overseas.

Unaccompanied Goods

Unaccompanied baggage does not receive the same duty/tax concessions as goods you bring with you. These goods may be subject to duty/tax unless you have both owned and used them for 12 months or more. This also applies to articles posted to Australia. For more information refer to Unaccompanied Effects brochure and Unaccompanied Effects Statement ( at all Customs offices and Australian missions overseas.

Arriving Travellers: Documents required for Customs clearance

If you are arriving, have the following documents ready for clearance:

  • Passport
  • 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.

Sea travellers

For travellers arriving by sea, Immigration processing may be completed on board the vessel - a Customs officer will then direct you for further clearance.


(See item below on Protected Wildlife and quarantine (Agriculture) reference guide)

Declare all animal and plant materials or items made from their parts

Quarantine Enquiry Line
Call: 1800 020 504(Australia only)
+61 2 9364 7222(Outside Australia)
Fax: +61 2 9364 7340(Outside Australia)


(See quarantine (Agriculture) reference guide)

Declare all food products.

Quarantine Enquiry Line
Call: 1800 020 504(Australia only)
+61 2 9364 7222(Outside Australia)
Fax: +61 2 9364 7340(Outside Australia)


Firearms (including soft air pistols) and ammunition and weapons including: blowpipes, daggers, nunchukas, slingshots, flick- knives, pistol crossbows, knuckle dusters and replicas.

May be prohibited or require a permit and safety testing to import them.Contact Customs before you travel for information. Check with your airline for advice on packaging before you travel with dangerous goods.

Customs Information Line
Call: 1300 363 263(Australia only)
+61 2 6275 6666(Outside Australia)


Australia has strict laws controlling the import and export of products made from protected wildlife (see also item on Medicines).

Products or souvenirs made from protected wildlife which are prohibited and restricted include: sturgeon caviar, hard corals (incl black coral), giant clam shells, orchids (incl live orchids), turtles, alligators, crocodiles (incl gavials and caiman), big cats (leopards, tigers, jaguars), elephants (especially ivory and hide products), snakes, lizards and monitors (goannas), rhinoceros, zebras, whales.

Contact Environment Australia for information on import and export restrictions and permit requirements.

Only permits granted by Environment Australia will be accepted.

If in doubt, declare goods you think may fall under this category.

Environment Australia
Call: 02 6274 1900(Australia only)
+61 2 6274 1900(Outside Australia )
Fax: 02 6274 1921(Australia only)
+61 2 6274 1921(Outside Australia)


All drugs and medicines, especially products:

  • containing substances which are prohibited without a permit (these include narcotics, amphetamines, hallucinogens, barbiturates , vaccines, anabolic and androgenic steroids, growth hormones, and erythropoietin [EPO])
  • regarded as performance enhancers in sport. Medicines include prescribed medications, non- prescription, complementary, alternative, herbal and traditional medicines; vitamins and mineral preparations; and nutritional and dietary supplements.

Traditional medicines sometimes contain endangered species or their extracts such as American ginseng, tiger plasters or pills, aloe preparations, rhino horn, bear or snake parts, which are prohibited or restricted without a permit. (See also items on Protected Wildlife.)

Declare all medicinal products. It is advisable to have a letter or a prescription from your doctor or practitioner describing the medication and your medical condition.Some medicinal products may require an import permit or quarantine (Agriculture) clearance.

Ensure that you have obtained an import permit for products containing prohibited substances.

Importation of many drugs described as performance enhancing drugs in sport is prohibited without a permit.Check quarantine (Agriculture) and protected wildlife restrictions and requirements.(See contacts above).

Department of Health and Aged Care, Therapeutic Goods Administration
Call: 1800 020 653(Australia only)
+61 2 6232 8610(Outside Australia)
+61 2 6232 8605(Fax)

(Biologicals Unit)
Call: +61 2 6272 4758
Fax: +61 2 6273 2097
Australian Sports Drug Agency


Amounts of $A10000 or more, or equivalent in foreign currency (meaning notes and coins of legal tender), must be reported on arrival or departure.

Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
Call: 1800 021 037(Australia only)
+61 2 9950 0055(Outside Australia)
Fax: 02 9950 0071(Australia only)
+61 2 9950 0071(Outside Australia)

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, 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.

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

Source: Australian Customs Service

We keep these regulations updated but because such regulations are subject to change without notice, we strongly recommend you to consult your local embassy or consulate before you make your move.
# 1 Directory of International Movers is not responsible for any loss resulting from the use of these customs information.



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