If you ship items to Australia, you might wonder what you can and cannot send to Australia. Here we explore the restricted and prohibited items to ensure a hassle-free move.
When planning a move to Australia, it is crucial to be aware of items that are restricted or prohibited from being shipped to the country. Understanding these regulations and knowing what you can and cannot bring with you will not only help you avoid delays and complications during the shipping process but also prevent any additional charges or fines.
By following these guidelines, you will be well-prepared and equipped to move your belongings efficiently. Should you require assistance with shipping your possessions from the UK to Australia, our team at PSS is ready to offer their expertise and support.
For your convenience, we have sorted what you can and cannot bring to Australia into helpful categories to make it easier for you to check when packing your possessions.
NB: This guide is for information purposes only. Whilst we have done our best to ensure it is accurate and up to date, rules are subject to change, and you should do your due diligence and speak to an adviser to assess your circumstances.
- 1. Restricted Items you can bring to Australia from the UK:
- 2. Prohibited Items you cannot bring to Australia from the UK
- 3. Australian Biosecurity and Customs Clearance
- 4. Prohibited and restricted items for air freight shipping
- 5. Other considerations
- 6. Shipping items to Australia – get an online quote today
1. Restricted Items you can bring to Australia from the UK:
While certain items may be brought into the country duty-free, others necessitate a declaration and inspection process upon arrival. This meticulous approach ensures that any potentially harmful or prohibited items are intercepted, preventing potential threats to Australia’s ecosystem, agriculture, and public health.
Whilst you may technically be allowed to bring the restricted items below, we recommend that you avoid packing those in your unaccompanied luggage or shipment as they can cause delays and additional inspection fees during customs clearance.
Food, drink and other consumables
While some commercially packed food items may be acceptable, we recommend avoiding importing foodstuffs.
Medicines, cosmetics and toiletries
|Laptops and other electronic devices||Allowed|
|Laser pointer||Allowed, but you must declare them to customs|
It is often worthwhile shipping your electrical goods to Australia. For further information, visit our guide to shipping electrical goods and appliances.
We also have information on shipping batteries to help you understand restrictions, prohibitions and suitable packaging.
Household items, tools and possessions
Oddities and unusual items
|Animal horns, teeth and bones||They may be allowed, but you must declare them to customs|
|Beeswax||It may be allowed, but you must declare it to customs|
|Matches and lighters||Allowed|
2. Prohibited Items you cannot bring to Australia from the UK
There are certain items you won’t be allowed to bring with you to Australia from the UK. These include:
- Any item that is prohibited or restricted under Australian law, such as drugs, weapons, and endangered species
- Any item that is considered to be a biosecurity risk, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat (other than small quantities for personal consumption while travelling)
- Any item that is considered to be a quarantine risk, such as plants and animals
- Any item that is deemed to be a cultural or religious artefact
- Any item that is considered to be a counterfeit or pirated product
Suppose you are unsure about any particular items you want to take to Australia. In that case, you must check with the Australian Border Force (ABF) before bringing them to Australia to ensure they are allowed.
|Explosives and flammable liquids||Not allowed|
Other prohibited items
|Counterfeit goods||Not allowed|
|Cultural objects that are considered to be of national significance||Not allowed|
3. Australian Biosecurity and Customs Clearance
Why Australian Biosecurity Import Conditions is so strict
The Australian biosecurity regulations are strict because Australia is an island nation with a unique and fragile ecosystem. The Australian government is committed to protecting Australia’s biosecurity by preventing the introduction of pests and diseases that could harm Australia’s plants, animals, and people.
Pests and diseases can be introduced into Australia in various ways, including on imported goods, in the luggage of travellers, or the bodies of animals or plants. Once introduced, pests and diseases can spread rapidly can cause significant damage to Australia’s economy and environment. Full details of the import conditions for affected items can be found on BICON, the database of more than 20,000 plants, animals, minerals and biological products run by DAFF, the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
The Australian BICON helps to protect Australia’s biosecurity by:
- Identifying and listing all of the pests and diseases that are prohibited from entering Australia.
- Setting import conditions for goods that may contain pests or diseases.
- Inspecting goods at the border for pests and diseases.
- Seizing and destroying goods that contain pests or diseases.
- Prosecuting people who break the biosecurity laws.
The Australian government’s biosecurity measures are effective in protecting Australia’s biosecurity. However, everyone needs to do their part to protect Australia’s biosecurity by:
- Be aware of the prohibited and restricted items listed in the Australian BICON.
- Declaring all of your goods to Customs when you arrive in Australia.
- Not bringing any prohibited or restricted items into Australia.
- Reporting any suspected pests or diseases to the DAFF.
Australian customs must also clear your personal effects before being allowed into the country. You can check out the FIDI guide for more detailed information on prohibited and restricted items.
Preparing Your Personal Effects for Shipment to Australia: Contaminated Items
Some personal effects can carry pests or diseases that could harm Australia’s plants, animals, and people. These items must be declared to Customs and will require cleaning or treatment before release to remove organic matter, dander, soil, dirt or other contaminants that threaten biosecurity. If this is not possible, the items may need to be destroyed or exported at your expense.
Here is a breakdown of what personal effects could be of biosecurity concern and will need to be cleaned before shipping to Australia.
Items of biosecurity concern
The following items may attract the attention of Customs inspectors, so you’ll need to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned, meet import requirements or consider not importing to avoid complications at customs.
Essentially any items that may contain organic material or carry dirt may be subject to inspection and cleaning fees or may be refused entry.
|Animal equipment including, but not limited to
|Artefacts/Furnishings/Ornaments/Souvenirs including, but not limited to||
|Camping equipment including, but not limited to||
|Clothing including, but not limited to||
|Farm goods, vehicles and motorised equipment, including but not limited to||
|Festive decorations including, but not limited to||
|Garden equipment, garden furniture and tools including, but not limited to||
|General items including, but are not limited to||
|Kitchen – all food and pantry items including, but not limited to||
|Kitchenware including, but not limited to||
|Miscellaneous goods including||
|Sporting goods and playground equipment including, but not limited to||
|Toys including, but not limited to||
|Wooden items including, but not limited to||
If you are still determining whether an item is of biosecurity concern, you can contact the Australian Border Force for more information.
Australia has strict biosecurity laws to protect its native plants and animals from invasive species. This means you must thoroughly clean your personal effects before shipping them to Australia to ensure they do not carry any pests or diseases that could harm Australia’s environment.
You can clean your personal effects using a variety of methods, such as:
- Washing them with soap and water
- Disinfecting them with a bleach solution
- Vacuuming them
- Steam cleaning them
Ensuring your personal effects are immaculate before shipping them to Australia is crucial. If you are not sure whether an item is clean enough, it is best to err on the side of caution and clean it again.
Here are some additional tips for cleaning your personal effects before shipping them to Australia:
- Remove any food or organic matter from the items.
- Pay special attention to seams, crevices, and other areas where dirt and debris can collect.
- Allow the items to dry completely before packing them.
- Mark the boxes containing cleaned items so customs officials can quickly identify them.
Even unintentional or accidental contamination can result in customs seizing and destroying items. By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your personal effects are safe to ship to Australia and that you do not violate the country’s biosecurity laws.
4. Prohibited and restricted items for air freight shipping
In addition, to Australian import restrictions, if you are intending to send items by air freight, you also need to consider items restricted or prohibited under the IATA Dangerous Good Regulations. These guidelines are to ensure the safety of aircraft and passengers.
Our Air Freight consolidation partners have issued the following list of prohibited or restricted items as a sample only – they do not warrant that it is full, accurate or compliant to any statutory regulations:
- Fireworks, ammunition, sporting ammunition, firearms or explosives
- Cylinders of compressed air, oxygen or liquid petroleum gas (LPG), any type of Aerosol can (eg deodorant, shaving cream, hair spray, paint etc)
- Cigarette/pipe lighters or cigarette lighter refills
- Cosmetics (e.g. nail polish, colognes, perfumes, nail polish remover)
- Paint, fuel or paint thinners
- Dry Ice, specimens or samples
- Detergents, bleaches, drain or oven cleaners
- Fibreglass repair kits, adhesives and puncture repair kits
- Medicines of any type
- Any type of chemical, pesticides, herbicides etc
- Camping equipment (eg gas stoves, gas cylinders)
- Diving equipment (eg air tanks)
- Batteries of any type
- Machinery with internal combustion engines, such as chainsaws, lawnmowers or garden trimmers
- Printer ink cartridges of any type
- Food of any type
Failure to comply with the above may cause delay, additional cost and/or the cases being opened and the offending items disposed of.
5. Other considerations
Items that require a permit
Some items, such as firearms you require for work and certain types of plants, need an import permit. You can find more information about import permits on the Australian Border Force website.
Items that may be subject to inspection
Any item that is not on the prohibited or restricted list may still be subject to inspection by Australian Customs. This includes things such as clothing, electronics, and personal belongings.
What to do if you are unsure about an item
It is important to note that the Australian Border Force has the right to seize any prohibited or restricted item. You may also be fined or prosecuted for bringing prohibited or restricted items into Australia.
If you are still determining whether an item is prohibited or restricted, contact the Australian Border Force for more information. You can also find more information on the Australian Border Force website.
Bringing cats and dogs to Australia
Under normal circumstances, you won’t be allowed to bring family pets such as cats and dogs to Australia due to risks from diseases and pests that imported animals may carry.
However, if you plan to relocate to Australia with your pet cat or dog, you must apply for an import permit. The permit process can be complex and time-consuming, so starting the process well before your move is essential.
Here is some more essential information that pet owners need to know before moving to Australia with their pets:
- Pets must be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. The microchip must be implanted before the rabies vaccination is administered.
- Pets must have a valid import permit. The import permit must be obtained from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) before the pet arrives in Australia.
- Pets must be quarantined for ten days upon arrival in Australia. The quarantine period can be extended if the pet is found to be infected with any diseases.
- Pets must be accompanied by a health certificate issued by a veterinarian. The health certificate must certify that the pet is free of any diseases harmful to Australia’s native plants and animals.
- Pets must be transported in a secure container that meets the requirements of DAFF. The container must be large enough for the pet to stand up, turn around, and lie comfortably.
- Pet owners must be prepared to pay for transporting their pets to Australia. The cost of transportation can be expensive, so it is essential to factor this into the cost of moving.
It is important to note that these are just some vital information pet owners need before moving to Australia with their pets. For more information, please visit the website of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).
New changes affecting the importation of cats and dogs (1st March 2023)
The Australian government has changed the requirements for importing cats and dogs from approved countries. These changes are designed to strengthen animal identification, residency, and post-entry quarantine measures and to recognise the validity of a rabies neutralising titre test (RNATT) laboratory report for no longer than 12 months.
The following are the fundamental changes:
- All dogs and cats must be implanted with an International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) compatible microchip before commencing pre-export preparation.
- Dogs and cats must not have resided in unapproved countries during the 180 days before export to Australia.
- For dogs and cats from Group 3-approved countries, the following conditions apply:
- Rabies vaccination must remain current at the time of export to Australia.
- An adequate rabies neutralising titre test (RNATT) laboratory report will only be valid for 12 months.
- Dogs and cats from New Zealand must be continuously resident in New Zealand for 180 days immediately before export, or since direct importation from Australia or since birth, and must not have been in quarantine or under quarantine restrictions in the 180 days immediately before export.
- For dogs and cats from Group 2-approved countries, identity verification, including microchip scanning, must be completed by the exporting country’s competent authority as part of the import permit application process.
- Dogs and cats must undergo at least ten days post-entry quarantine in an Australian government facility.
These changes came into effect on 1st March 2023. For more information, please visit the website of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).
The cost of importing your pet to Australia will vary depending on the size and species of your pet and the length of quarantine. You can find more information about importing pets to Australia on the Government website. Please note that there may be restrictions on the items you are allowed to import to your destination and we strongly recommend that you research before shipping.
PSS work closely with companies specialising in importing pets, so if you are looking for someone to help you speak to your account manager.
6. Shipping items to Australia – get an online quote today
Hopefully, you found this information helpful for shipping items to Australia. If you are looking for a reliable shipping company, look no further than PSS Removals.
By working with PSS International Removals, you will have direct access to a dedicated move manager with experience handling international shipping. We can help you with all aspects of the customs clearance process, from gathering the necessary documentation to filing the appropriate paperwork.
We will be on hand to help you with any questions or concerns about the moving process, such as whether or not you will be allowed to bring certain items to Australia with you.
To get started, contact us today for a free quote. We will happily answer any questions and advise you of the first steps to ship your items to Australia.