Australian Government - Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

To protect Australia's borders and foster lawful trade and travel.

Arriving travellers

Documents required for Customs clearance

All arriving passengers must complete an Incoming Passenger Card.

If you hold an Australian or New Zealand ePassport and are aged 16 years or over, you are eligible to use SmartGate when arriving at Australian airports.

SmartGate allows you to self-process through passport control using ePassport data and facial recognition technology.

All other travellers must present their passport and completed Incoming Passenger Card to one of our officers on arrival before collecting their baggage.

Sea travellers

When you reach your port of arrival into Australia, you need to present your passport and completed Incoming Passenger Card to one of our officers.

When you permanently leave the ship, you need to present your baggage and Incoming Passenger Card to us for clearance.

Sometimes our officers may check your passport and Incoming Passenger Card on board the vessel before you arrive in Australia.

Items you must declare on arrival

Prohibited and restricted items

It is illegal to carry drugs including marijuana, cannabis, heroin, cocaine and amphetamines in and out of Australia.

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 us 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.

Do not carry illicit drugs. Penalties for drug offences in Australia are severe and could result in a jail term.

Firearms, weapons and ammunition

You must declare all firearms, weapons and ammunition including:

  • real and replica firearms
  • air soft pistols (BB guns) that discharge a pellet by means of compressed gas, commonly purchased as "toy" guns
  • paintball markers
  • blowpipes
  • all knives
  • nunchukas
  • slingshots
  • crossbows
  • electric shock devices
  • laser pointers
  • body armour
  • batons
  • pepper sprays
  • knuckle dusters
  • parts and accessories for use with firearms and weapons

Some of these items may require permission to be imported, and may be subject to other import requirements such as unique serial numbers and safety testing.

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.

Illegal pornography

Highly offensive pornography is controlled on import and export. This includes publications and any media which depicts child pornography, bestiality, and explicit sexual violence.

Currency

There is no limit to the amount of currency you can bring in or out of Australia. However, you must declare amounts of AUD10,000 or more in Australian currency or foreign equivalent.

You must disclose any promissory notes, travellers’ cheques, personal cheques, money orders, postal orders or other bearer negotiable instruments, regardless of value, if requested by one of our officers or a police officer.

Medicines

You need to declare medicines and substances which may be subject to misuse, abuse or dependence, such as:

  • steroids
  • opioid analgesics
  • cannabis or narcotic based medications

These products may be restricted or require a permit in order to be imported.

Traditional medicines

Some traditional medicines may contain endangered plant or animal products and these should be declared.

Prescription medicines

  • If you are carrying prescription medication you do not need to declare these provided you import no more than three months supply.
  • You should carry a letter of prescription from your doctor in the English language describing your medical condition.
  • If you are residing or visiting Australia for three months or longer and require ongoing medications, you should visit an Australian doctor to obtain your prescriptions.
  • If you are intending to have your medications sent through the mail or via courier, import permits will be required prior to importing the medications.
  • You should enquire about the import procedures before you arrive in Australia.
  • The Department of Health has more advice for travellers bringing medications into Australia.

No need to declare

You do not need to declare medications such as aspirin, paracetamol or Australian over the counter medications.

If you are carrying prescription medication you do not need to declare these provided you import no more than three months supply.

You should carry a letter or prescription from your doctor in the English language describing your medication and medical condition.

Food, plants, animals and biological goods

You must declare certain food items, plant material, animal items, equipment used with animals, biological materials, soils and sand to Department of Agriculture officers on arrival.

If you don't, you could be given an on-the-spot fine or face prosecution.

Food, plant material and animal items from overseas could introduce serious pests and diseases into Australia, devastating our valuable agriculture and tourism industries and unique environment.

Protected wildlife

Australia's strict laws control the import and export of protected wildlife and associated products. This includes:

  • traditional medicinal products
  • coral
  • orchids
  • caviar
  • ivory products
  • many hunting trophies.

Heritage-listed goods

You need to apply for a permit to import or export heritage-listed goods including:

  • works of art
  • stamps
  • coins
  • archaeological objects
  • minerals
  • specimens

Veterinary products

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 Export controls for defence and strategic goods factsheet.

Declaring restricted items

 

Item

Declare on Arrival

Declare on Departure

For more details, contact

Firearms, weapons and ammunition

Yes

Yes

Customs and Border Protection
1300 363 263

Illegal pornography Yes Yes Customs and Border Protection
1300 363 263

Performance and image enhancing drugs

Yes

Yes

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority
1300 027 232

Therapeutic Goods Administration
1800 020 653

Currency AUD10,000 or over

Yes

Yes

Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
1800 021 037

Food, plants, animals and biological goods

Yes

No

Department of Agriculture
1800 020 504

Medicines and substances which may be subject to misuse, abuse or dependence

Yes

Yes

Medicare Australia
1800 552 152

Therapeutic Goods Administration
1800 020 653

Protected wildlife and wildlife products

Yes

Yes

Department of the Environment
+ 61 2 6274 1900

Heritage-listed goods

Yes

Yes

Department of the Environment
+ 61 2 6274 1900

Veterinary products

Yes

Yes

Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
+ 61 2 6210 4701

Defence and strategic goods

Yes

Yes

Customs and Border Protection
1300 363 263

If you are in doubt, declare your goods or ask one of our officers 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.

See information for departing travellers.

Other things you should know when arriving

  • Your baggage may be X-rayed when you arrive.
  • Fireworks, flammable liquids, corrosives, gas cylinders are not permitted on an aircraft or in your baggage.
  • If you're visiting Australia you can bring laptops and similar electronic equipment duty-free into Australia provided you take them with you when you leave.
  • Any person over one year of age must hold an individual international yellow fever vaccination certificate if they have stayed overnight or longer in a declared yellow fever infected country within six days prior to their arrival in Australia. See the Department of Health fact sheet for more information.
  • If you are importing a motor vehicle, caravan or trailer, yacht or other craft, copies of brochures on requirements are available from Customs and Border Protection offices or Australian missions overseas.
  • Counterfeit or pirated items may be seized and you may face penalties.
  • As a routine part of their work, our officers may question you at any time.
  • Trained dogs may also be used to detect illegal drugs or prohibited imports.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of your dealings with us, please ask to speak to a senior officer.