Customs in Australia are highly regulated, regardless of your destination city. If you do not declare a product that needs to be declared, even if it is not voluntary, customs may stop you during the inspection. You risk is to receive a very high fine, and have the products concerned confiscated. Not great for your arrival in Australia! To keep you as informed as possible, here is a short guide for authorised products.
Those products are totally banned
Certain products, as in most countries of the world, are completely prohibited: drugs, weapons, fireworks, firecrackers, counterfeits and natural products, especially protected species (animals and plants). These basic products are prohibited in checked baggage and hand luggage at all airports.
Customs in Australia: the products classified by categories
Cash and goods of value
You must declare on arrival if you have more than AUD 1,000 in cash on you when going through customs.
Any merchandise with a value of more than 1,000 AUD must also be declared. You may have customs fees of 5% of the total amount on these products. These declarations can be made via the internet, on the Integrated Cargo System (ICS) website or via a paper document, Form B650.
All camping items can be inspected. It can go as far as the walking shoes you used for a previous trip. The main goal is to prevent unknown bacteria from the land of other countries from entering Australia. So be sure to clean all the equipment that has already been used elsewhere if you plan to take it.
Any drug requiring a prescription should be reported to your arrival. The customs may inspect and request a prescription that allows you to have this treatment. Don’t forget to translate it into English before your departure! But the drugs that do not require a prescription, such as aspirin, do not need to be reported.
Certain medications need to be declared before the flight. These are the ones that can be used in dangerous, abusive, or addictive ways: steroids, pain relievers, cannabis for medical use only.
Animals and plants
It will obviously be necessary to make a request for your animal before your departure in Australia! You will need to apply for a permit from the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Your pet will be required to be quarantined when you arrive in Australia (duration may vary). Declare this very early before the start of the trip as the procedure can be quite long. In addition, you will have several steps to take at certain specific periods before the trip: make one or more health checks with your veterinarian, apply for an animal import permit, reserve the place in quarantine, etc.
In addition, you will have to declare all products related to the animal: dog basket, food, collars, bird cages …
Finally, certain species of animals are not authorized on the territory, so it will be the same for any object related to this animal.
For more information or if you want to see if your animal is authorised in Australia, visit the dedicated site.
There are also regulations on animal products and plants. You are not allowed to bring corals, hunting trophies and ivory products. You are therefore not allowed to take certain souvenirs made of animal bones for example. As far as plants and seeds are concerned, they are practically not authorised for import.
This can quickly become an issue during your trip. Here is a list of the main prohibited and authorized foods:
What is strictly prohibited: fresh food (and most fresh or raw products), prepackaged food, fruit, eggs, most plants / seeds, fresh culinary herbs, hazelnuts, nuts and almonds, meat, sausage and cold meats (and everything made from pork).
Products to be declared but which will not necessarily be authorized once on the territory: honey, cheese (vacuum only, so that it is as pasteurized as possible), tea bags.
What is allowed if declared: canned meats, but also all other canned foods.
Food authorised without any problems: cookies, chocolate and candy (in the hold as in hand luggage)
Tobacco and alcohol
These products should be reported at your arrival. You have the right to carry a certain amount (preferably, in the carry on luggage).
For the cigarettes industry, you can’t have more than 25 cigarettes on you, and per person. For rolling tobacco, 25 grams per person is allowed. Finally, chewing tobacco is limited to 1.5 kg per person. The electronic cigarette should not be an issue if it doesn’t contain nicotine.
Alcohol is allowed within the limit of 2.25 L per person.
This list is not totally exhaustive. We try however to be as precise as possible to facilitate your arrival in Australia. Some States are more vigilant on some products than others. This is the case of honey, which is more often refused by the customs of Western Australia as by that of the other States.
Remember though that the Australian government is quite strict on the regulations of the customs. Because of the risk of importing external bacteria to the environment in Australia, which is quite high. This is why there are so many rules and penalties (fines + confiscation and destruction of the object concerned).
Other important info: what you must declare on arrival will be requested on a small card that you will receive during the flight, on the Incoming Passenger Card.
For a list of specific conditions for most of the products, please refer to this site.