To help protect Australia's agricultural industries, unique environment, and human health status, Department of Agriculture officers screen incoming air and sea passengers, baggage, mail and cargo using x-ray machines, detector dogs, physical inspection, questioning and profiling.
If you are entering Australia to holiday, study or live permanently, or if you are an Australian resident planning an overseas trip it is a good idea to know what to expect when you arrive in Australia.
The airline or cruise line will provide you with a Travel History Card and an Incoming Passenger Card and you must complete them truthfully – they are legal documents. Penalties apply for providing false information to Department of Agriculture officers.
- provide details of recent travel destinations on your Travel History Card
If you have indicated on the Travel History Card that you have spent time in an Ebola-affected country within 21 days of arriving in Australia you will be required to undergo health screening by a Department of Agriculture officer. The screening process involves answering questions about your trip and includes having your temperature checked.
For information regarding the Australian Government’s response to Ebola, please contact the Department of Health.
- declare certain food, plant material (including wooden articles) and animal products on your Incoming Passenger Card.
Items declared on your Incoming Passenger Card will be inspected to ensure they are not carrying any pests or diseases. If biosecurity concerns or pest and diseases are found, products may require treatment (at your cost) such as fumigation or gamma irradiation to make them safe. Items that cannot be treated will be seized and destroyed.
If you have items you don't wish to declare, you can dispose of them in bins in the terminal.
If you fail to declare or dispose of any biosecurity risk items, or make a false declaration:
- you could be fined $340 on-the-spot, or
- you could be prosecuted and fined more than $66,000 and risk 10 years jail.
You will not be penalised if all items are declared, even if they are not allowed into Australia. If you are not sure, ask a Department of Agriculture officer.