Need Help Moving to Australia?
What everyone needs to know?
Australian Customs Clearance Procedures
All personal effect and house hold good (unaccompanied effects) shipments that enter Australia must be customs and AQIS (Australian Quarantine Inspection Service) cleared. Australian Customs may inspect your goods but AQIS will certainly inspect your goods to check for any prohibited, restricted items that may harm Australia. These items include foodstuffs, timber/wood products and any fauna & flora. All shipping containers must be unpacked at a bonded warehouse prior to Customs and AQIS inspections.
Please note that any items purchased from overseas for yourself are not considered personal effects. These items must be customs cleared as commercial shipments but there won’t be any duty or taxes if the CIF value is under A$1,000.00. CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight). The value of the purchased item, the insurance and freight must all add up to less than A$1,000.00 to be excluded from duty and taxes.
Who’s Eligible for Concessions?
Australian Citizens – Australian citizens do not have to pay any duty or GST if they have resided outside of Australia for a minimum of 12 months and have owned their effects for a minimum period of 12 months prior to departing back to Australia. Duty, GST and/or Wine Equalization Tax (WET) is payable on any alcoholic beverages and any cigarettes, cigars and any other tobacco products.
Foreign Citizens – You must be a permanent resident (returning to Australia) or a first migrant from a place outside of Australia taking up permanent residency. You must have owned your effects for a minimum of 12 months to avoid any duty or taxes. Duty, GST and/or Wine Equalization Tax (WET) is payable on any alcoholic beverages and any cigarettes, cigars and any other tobacco products. If you are not a permanent resident of Australia or not arriving to take up permanent residency you can still import some types of goods as personal effects.
Bill of lading : Your name must be the consignee
Arrival Notice : From Shipping Line or Freight Forwarder
Passport : Photo Page
Visa : Visa Page / Visa email (for foreign citizens only)
Packing List : Must be in English and legible.
Completed B534 Customs Form : Must be completed by the importer. Cannot be the agent
Australian Customs are responsible for processing the customs clearance that we have lodged on your behalf. They will check your eligibility for duty and GST concessions and advise once they have completed the clearance. There won’t be any duty or GST if your goods are true personal effects. By true personal effects, we mean you really have owned and used them and you don’t have (as an example) 5 DVD players with three of them still in their original boxes. Bequeathed goods are subject to duty and GST.
Australian Quarantine & Inspection Service
The AQIS Guide. AQIS will thoroughly check your unaccompanied effects for any items that may harm Australian fauna or flora and they’re very strict on the importation of them. Items that are in contact or contain these items should be thoroughly cleaned or left behind. They will check such items as shoes, bikes, any outdoor / camping gear, gold clubs, empty flower pots, vacuum cleaners, garden tools and lawnmowers.
These items should be steam cleaned prior to departure or left behind. Vacuum cleaner bags must be removed prior to shipping and it’s highly recommended that you don’t ship garden tools, lawnmowers and used pot plants.
Cars, motorcycles, other vehicles and parts thereof will be subject to duty, GST and possibly luxury car tax (LCT). It doesn’t matter if vehicles accompany personal effects shipments as with importing all vehicles and or parts into Australia, duty and taxes are payable. The current duty on vehicles is 5% on the value of the vehicle (determined by customs) and then 10% GST on the value of the vehicle, the freight to get it here and the duty amount. There’s only one exemption and that importing vehicles that have been exported as used vehicles from Australia. They must have been owned by the same person for the export from Australian and import back into Australia.
The 4 Basic Steps
There are basically 4 steps that need to be followed to import vehicles into Australia but there are many variables to observe. All the relevant detailed information can be found at the bottom of this page. The following is a basic guide to the process and should be confirmed prior to shipping any vehicle. Please note that no personal effects can be placed in the vehicle. Only loose items that belong to the vehicle itself such as a spare tyre, jack, bull bar, tow bar etc.
- You must obtain a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA) prior to shipping the vehicle from the origin. An application fee of A$50.00 applies and can take up to 4 weeks to obtain.
- You must arrange the customs clearance yourself directly with customs or request World Relocations Group to arrange the clearance on your behalf.
- DAFF are interested in the cleanness of the vehicle. You must arrange the DAFF inspection of the vehicle or request World Relocations Group to arrange the inspection on your behalf.
- Pay the duty, GST and possibly LCT. Once the customs duty & GST have been paid, DAFF has cleared the vehicle from their hold, you have paid the shipping line and World Relocation Charges, you can then arrange to collect the vehicle from the import bond.
There are several steps to importing a road vehicle
- Obtain a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA) from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (Infrastructure) prior to shipping your vehicle/s.
- Pay customs duty, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and luxury car tax (LCT) where applicable and obtain clearance from Customs control the port of entry.
- Obtain quarantine clearance from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) Biosecurity after the road vehicle has arrived at the port of entry.
What to do
You may make arrangements to transport your road vehicle to Australia after you are issued with a valid VIA. Please note that it is an offence to ship your road vehicle prior to obtaining a VIA. Once you have initiated transport of your road vehicle to Australia you may lodge an import declaration with ACBPS either:
- electronically; or
- by document at a ACBPS office; or
- you may use the services of a licensed customs broker to deal with ACBPS’s requirements on your behalf.
Your road vehicle may be entered into:
- home consumption; or
- a licensed warehouse.
Duty/GST and other charges must be paid when your road vehicle is entered for home consumption. LCT must be paid or deferred if your road vehicle has a customs value above the LCT threshold or the fuel efficient LCT threshold, unless an exemption applies.
Prior to making a decision to import a road vehicle you should take into account the likely costs you may incur during the importation process such as:
- Freight and insurance (for the transport of the goods to Australia);
- Customs duties, GST and LCT, if applicable;
- Storage and delivery charges;
- Logistic services providers’ charges;
- Customs brokers’ charges;
- Entry processing charges;
- Steam cleaning for quarantine purposes;
- Other wharf and transport charges; and
- any costs involved in having your road vehicle meet State or Territory registration and insurance requirements.