Customs and Quarantine Requirements when shipping to Australia

Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) have very strict regulations concerning the importation of food and plant and animal materials into Australia. This is to prevent pests and diseases from entering the country in order to protect the natural environment of Australia. Your shipment may be delayed if you include such items in your consignment and items may be seized and destroyed by AQIS. Items which have been in contact with soil are also subject to strict regulations. In order to remove all traces of dirt and soil, the following items must be cleaned and disinfected:

•Outdoor items including outdoor furniture, golf clubs, golf shoes, bicycles, outdoor children’s play equipment – in summary, any item which has had contact with the ground outside, must be cleaned to remove visible dirt and also disinfected.

Unaccompanied effects

Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPEs) include your household and personal items that you are importing into Australia.  UPEs may arrive in Australia by air, sea cargo or by international mail (post). If certain conditions are met, your UPEs may be cleared from Customs control without requiring you to lodge an import declaration or pay duty, Goods and Services Tax (GST) or other taxes and charges. A completed Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement (B534 form) is generally all that is required to clear UPEs from Customs control. See information below on How do I clear my personal effects?

To be eligible to import items as UPEs you must be arriving from a place outside Australia and the items must be your personal property that you owned and used whilst overseas for at least 12 months before departing for Australia. Imported goods that are owned for less than 12 months are subject to duty and GST assessment.

UPEs do not include bequeathed items or items that have been purchased over the internet.

UPEs do not include motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts and commercial goods.

Concessions

Customs law and Tax law provide a duty and GST free concession for certain items imported as unaccompanied personal effects provided certain requirements are met.

For more information on these requirements please see the fact sheet Sending Your Personal Belongings to Australia as Cargo or by International Mail

Duty free concessions that apply to alcohol and tobacco products that are carried with you when you arrive in Australia do not apply to unaccompanied goods.  Alcohol and tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars or other products containing tobacco) that arrive in Australia and are declared as UPEs, are assessed for duty, GST and/or Wine Equalisation Tax (WET).

Who is eligible?

To be eligible to import items as UPEs you must be a migrant who is coming to Australia to take up permanent residence for the first time, a person returning to resume permanent residence, a temporary resident, a returning Australian citizen or an Australian citizen who is residing overseas that has returned to Australia temporarily.

How do I clear my personal effects?

The owner of the UPEs must complete an Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement (B534 form) to have their goods cleared by Customs.  The form must be completed by the owner; however, the owner can nominate a representative such as a freight forwarder, customs broker, and friend or relative to act on their behalf. This form is also available at any Australian and Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) office in Australia, from your customs broker, or on the ACBPS website. The B534 form is available in a number of foreign languages, however must be completed in English.

The B534 form can be lodged in person at specified ACBPS counters by the owner of the goods or by the person acting on their behalf. Along with your B534 form the following documentation must be presented to ACBPS to clear your goods (either by you or your representative):

•100 points of Evidence of Identity (EOI) including at least one primary document (evidence of identity for documentary (paper) transactions)

•A detailed packing list

•An Arrival Notice or Delivery Notice (sea cargo) or Air Waybill (air cargo).

It is important to contact your shipping company, airline or freight forwarder before attempting to gain Customs clearance. These companies will advise you of their requirements, their operating hours and the location of the goods.

The ACPBS may ask for further information to assist in the UPEs clearance process.  As the B534 form is a joint declaration to both the ACBPS and the Department of Agriculture (DoA), relevant information will be directed to DoA for assessment.  Please refer to the DoA website at http://www.daff.gov.au for further details regarding their clearance process of UPEs.