Minimum documentary and import declaration requirements policy

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​Introduction

Purpose

This document defines the minimum documentary and declaration requirements that must be met when lodging a declaration to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to support risk assessment of imported goods, whether for biosecurity risk assessment or the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.

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Background

The department uses a range of measures to assess the biosecurity risk posed by imported goods and to administer the Imported Food Inspection Scheme. A key measure is the assessment of declarations, documentation and certification that accompanies imported goods. This documentation and certification comes from a range of government and commercial sources and in some instances is issued by the department.

Imported goods may be released or directed for subsequent action based on a biosecurity officer’s assessment of documentation and the information in an import declaration. Customs brokers, operating under an Approved arrangement with the department, also release goods or direct them for subsequent action based on the documentation available to them.
For the Imported Food Inspection Scheme, additional documents are required to identify the goods that require inspection, to determine the amount of samples that may be required for analytical testing and to nominate a laboratory to test the samples.

This policy ensures a consistent approach to assessing documentation and import declarations presented to the department.

This document refers to AQIS where AQIS remains current in IT systems and schemes.

Key outcomes

The key outcomes of this policy are to establish clear:

  • minimum requirements for determining whether documents presented for assessment are acceptable
  • parameters to determine whether documents presented for assessment are linked to a consignment
  • parameters to determine whether documents presented for assessment are linked to each other
  • parameters to determine the legitimacy of government certification presented for assessment
  • minimum requirements for import declarations lodged with the department.

Consultation

During development and review of this policy these key stakeholder groups were consulted:

  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

- National Compliance Division

  • Compliance Assessment and Management
  • Cargo and Mail
  • Performance Targeting and Effectiveness
  • Imported Food

- Assessment Services Group (ASG)
- National commodity owners

  • Plant Import Operations
  • Biological Imports
  • Live Animal Imports

- Operational cargo inspectors

  • Cargo and shipping industry

- Australian Federation of International Forwarders
- Conference of Asia Pacific Express Carriers
- Customs Broker and Forwarders Council of Australia
- Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Cargo Consultative Committee
- Fertilizer Australia
- Food and Beverage Importers Association
- Imported Food Consultative Committee
- Freight and Trade Alliance (FTA)
- Australian Industry Working Group on Biosecurity
- Shipping Australia Limited.

Definitions

Acceptable treatment provider

The department maintains lists of acceptable and unacceptable treatment providers by country on it's website.
Some offshore treatments can only be performed by treatment providers registered under recognised overseas government programmes. This is identified in the treatment options listed in the applicable BICON case.

Air waybill

A non-negotiable document issued by the carrier (airline or freight forwarder) that serves as a receipt to the consignor for the goods. Air waybills contain the conditions of transport and the details of the consignee.

Appointed analyst

A laboratory appointed as an analyst under section 34 of the Imported Food Control Act 1992 to conduct testing on samples of imported food under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.

AQIS document number field

The field in the Integrated Cargo System where the number of a government issued certificate is recorded.

AQIS document type

The field in the Integrated Cargo System where the type of government issued document is recorded.

AQIS Entity Identifier (AEI)

The AEI is the treatment provider number for offshore methyl bromide treatment providers.

AQIS Entity Identifier (AEI) field

The AEI field is used to record the treatment provider number.

AQIS Identification Number (AIN)

The AIN is the treatment provider number for companies approved by the department who are registered for the Gamma Irradiation Offshore Treatment Providers Scheme and the Ethylene Oxide Offshore Treatment Providers Scheme.

AQIS producer code field

The field in the Integrated Cargo System where details of the producer of an imported food are lodged in an import declaration.

Australian Fumigation Accreditation Scheme (AFAS)

AFAS is a scheme based on intergovernmental arrangements under which the department recognises treatment providers registered by an overseas government as being acceptable treatment providers.

Beneficiary certificate

A certificate issued by an exporter to certify that specific requirements have been complied with.

BICON

Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) is a system maintained the department to allow clients to source import conditions for specific commodities without having to contact the department.

Bill of lading

A bill of lading is issued by the shipping line or freight forwarder. It serves as a receipt to the consignor for the goods, as evidence of the contract of transport containing the conditions of transport and as a document of title by which possession of the goods can be transferred.

Biosecurity Officer

A person employed by the department who has been appointed under either the Biosecurity Act 2015 or the Imported Food Control Act 1992.

Certificate of origin

A certificate of origin states the country of origin of the goods. Certificates of origin may be issued by the seller, manufacturer or a chamber of commerce in the country of origin.

Clearance letter

A document issued by the department to allow for an alternative intervention (or exemption) for a particular pathway or commodity.

Commercial consignments

A consignment that is imported by or for commercial entities.

Commercial invoice

A document issued by the seller, addressed to the buyer, giving details of the individual transaction, including complete description of the goods, prices, currency, delivery and payment terms.

Community protection question

Community protection questions are asked as part of the declaration lodgement process; these questions help the department to identify risks associated with imported goods.

Company address

Physical address or postal address unless stated otherwise.

Company name

The registered business name and/or trading name of an entity.

Customs broker

A person or corporation licensed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to handle the process of clearing goods through customs on behalf of importers.

Customs entry threshold

Where goods have a customs value equal to or greater than the entry threshold as defined in section 68 of the Customs Act 1901.

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources approved seed testing laboratory

An International Seed Testing Authority accredited laboratory in a country where the department recognises the government’s ISTA accreditation process. The department maintains a list of approved seed testing laboratories on its website.

Electronic signature

A method used in an electronic communication to identify an individual and to indicate their acknowledgement of the content in the document.
Examples of acceptable electronic signatures include but are not limited to:
• licensed signatures (e.g. Adobe Acrobat or DocuSign)
• electronic text as generated by a software programme
• electronic stamps
• typed names
• signature blocks, as used in email programmes.

Export

A consignment is considered to be exported either:
• when it is lodged with the freight forwarder, shipping company/airline, charter operator or an appointed agent in the country of origin, for ultimate destination in Australia
• when it is shipped on board the vessel
• when it is packed in a container and sealed in preparation for export.

Food control certificate (FCC)

An Imported Food Inspection Scheme document issued under section 12 of the Imported Food Control Act 1992 that specifies food in an import declaration that may be inspected, or inspected and sampled. A food control certificate may contain additional information about the inspection or instructions to the importer.

Freight forwarder

A person or corporation who arranges transport of goods on behalf of either the seller or buyer. A freight forwarder will often consolidate several small shipments into one larger shipment to take advantage of better freight rates. In most cases the freight forwarder will assume the legal liabilities of acting as a carrier.

Full Import Declaration (FID)

A type of import declaration that is lodged in the Integrated Cargo System.

Integrated Cargo System (ICS)

The ICS is the electronic system used to lodge import declarations with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Import conditions

The requirements which must be satisfied for biosecurity (as outlined in BICON or on an individual import permit) and for imported foods (as outlined under the Imported Food Control Act 1992 and its subordinate legislation).

Import declaration

All goods that are subject to quarantine must be referred to the department on an import declaration. An import declaration can be:
• manually entered by a biosecurity officer
• lodged directly into the ICS
• lodged into the ICS via third party software.

Import permit

Some products have been assessed as posing a significant risk to Australia and are only allowed to be imported if the department grants an import permit. The department grants import permits following application by an importer.

Imported Food Inspection Scheme (IFIS)

The Imported Food Control Act 1992 is the legal basis for the department to administer the Imported Food Inspection Scheme and inspect commercial consignments of imported food for food safety and compliance with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

International Seed Testing Authority (ISTA)

The International Seed Testing Authority produces internationally agreed rules for seed sampling and testing. It accredits laboratories, promotes research, provides international seed analysis certificates and training, and disseminates knowledge in seed science and technology.

ISPM 12

International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 12—Guidelines for phytosanitary certificates.

ISPM 15

International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15—Guidelines for regulating wood packaging material in international trade.

Landed

Goods that have been unloaded from a vessel/aircraft onto land in Australia.

Letter of credit

A conditional order, issued by a buyer’s bank, guaranteeing to pay the seller following presentation of stipulated documents. The correct term for a letter of credit is a documentary credit.

Lot

A quantity of food of a particular kind prepared under the same general conditions, from a particular packing or preparation unit, during a particular period (usually a 24-hour period of production). A lot may be identified by marks or codes devised by the manufacturer. Use-by or packing dates may satisfy this requirement when in day/month/year format.

Lot code list

A list of all lot codes within a consignment that identifies the number of cartons or quantity per lot for each type of food (batch).
For example, lot 2004/07 is 100 cartons x 24 x 375g cans of tomatoes.

Marks and numbers

Batch numbers, serial numbers or other codes (may include company names and addresses) on the goods or packaging of goods, which enable them to be identified.

Non-commercial consignments

A consignment that is imported for private use (that is, not commercial, retail or sample purposes or specified differently by the relevant BICON case or import permit conditions).
For the Imported Food Inspection Scheme, consignments for private use are determined based on section 7 of the Imported Food Control Act 1992.
Import conditions for some goods stipulate maximum quantities that may be imported for personal use.

Prescribed information

Information required by import conditions or other departmental policies.

Producer

The producer of an imported food is the commercial or individual’s premises or area in the country of origin where the goods were grown, caught, manufactured or processed. The producer may also be referred to as the manufacturer, processer, packer or establishment.

Signature

A method used to identify an individual and to indicate their acknowledgement of the content in the document.

Stamp/seal (also known as chop stamps)

A method used to identify an individual or company and to indicate their acknowledgement of the content in the document.
Examples of acceptable stamps include but are not limited to company stamp/seal or an individual stamp.
A company stamp/seal must contain:
• the name of the company
• the address of the company (if being used in lieu of a letterhead).
An individual stamp must identify the individual who is applying the stamp/seal. An individual may identify themselves using a stamp that includes any or all of the following:
• signed name
• printed name
• mark or character that is significant to an individual
• unique identification number.
Individual stamps and printed names do not need to be in English.
Stamps that contain both individual and company details must meet both company and individual stamp requirements.

Transhipment

The transfer of consignments from one conveyance (means of transport) to another (for example, ship to ship at a seaport) during the transportation process. Usually transhipment takes place under customs control within an area specified by the relevant customs organisation.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection defines transhipment as the transfer of goods without payment of duty and taxes from the importing ship or aircraft to another ship or aircraft engaged in international travel for the purpose of shipment overseas.

Policy

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Overarching document requirements

All documentation must meet some general requirements when presented to the department as part of the import process.

Complete

All prescribed information required to be on a document must be present and complete.

Legible

All prescribed information required to be on a document must be legible.

Valid

Many documents, such as import permits, are subject to a validity period. Presented documents must comply with the validity requirements specified for that class of document.

In English

All prescribed information required to be on a document must be in English. Exceptions to this rule include:

  • company letterheads do not need to be translated into English but must be in English characters
  • commercial, transport and government certification that are required to comply with international standard formats
  • signatures and names of individuals.

Where a document cannot be provided in English, an affidavit will be accepted from either:

  • that country’s consulate in Australia
  • the Australian embassy in the country of origin
  • a translator accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd.

Free from erasures and non certified alterations

All prescribed information on a document must be free from erasures and alterations unless endorsed by the entity who issued the document. The only acceptable endorsement is a company stamp or seal signed by the company employee (including printed name) or a government stamp or seal signed by a government employee (including printed name) applied adjacent to the alteration.

Multiple paged documents

Multi paged documents must:

  • include a consignment-specific link on all pages of the document. For example, commercial invoices (or similar) must contain the document’s individual reference number or a numerical link on each page of the document
  • contain an endorsement on the final page of the document, following the information that is being endorsed.

Where a document has noted attachments, the attachments can follow the endorsement. Where an international standard does not require the certificate number to be listed on all pages of the certificate, the department will accept the document linkage on the first page of the certificate.

Endorsed

All documents must be endorsed by a representative of the organisation or corporation issuing the document. An endorsement must:

  • be an acceptable signature or stamp as defined in the Definitions section of this policy
  • appear after the information that the signatory is endorsing.

Where a document has noted attachments, the endorsement can be made before the attachments.

Date of issue

All documents must identify the date of issue and include the day, month and year. Packing declarations may contain vessel/voyage number, which can be used in lieu of a date of issue.

Consignment-specific link

All documents presented to the department for assessment must have a unique consignment-specific link. Examples of consignment identification include:

  • container numbers
  • bill numbers
  • commercial invoice numbers
  • lot codes
  • preferential tariff certificate numbers
  • health certificate numbers
  • packing list numbers
  • letter of credit numbers.

Where a document does not contain one of the accepted forms of consignment identification, a numerical link to another document that does contain appropriate consignment identification must be present.

Examples of acceptable numerical links include:

  • order numbers
  • reference numbers
  • any other internal reference numbers used by overseas companies
  • vessel/voyage references.

Numerical links alone cannot be used as consignment identification links.

Unacceptable numerical links are references that could be present in previous or subsequent consignments and relate to a model, type or standardised item number. Examples of unacceptable numerical links include:

  • number of packages
  • weights
  • dates
  • stockkeeping unit
  • item codes.

Note: Annual packing declarations are exempt from having consignment-specific links.

Document format requirements

International trade documentation

International trade documents include commercial and transport documents used in international trade and official government certification issued for animal or plant health.

These classes of document include, but are not limited to:

  • bills of lading
  • air waybills
  • commercial invoices
  • preferential tariff certificates
  • phytosanitary certificates
  • public health certificates
  • animal health certificates
  • veterinary certificates
  • bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) certificates
  • ISTA seed analysis certification.

Note: Any government-to-government certification received via the eCert system for imported goods are excluded from the documentation requirements outlined in this policy and the Non-commodity information requirements policy.

Letterhead/company stamp or seal

Documents required by the department that are not covered by international standards must be provided on the issuing company’s letterhead. The only acceptable substitute for a letterhead is the issuing company’s stamp or seal. The letterhead, company stamp or seal must include the company’s name and address.

Documents to be presented in line with this requirement include:

  • packing declarations (including annual packing declarations)
  • container cleanliness declarations
  • treatment certificates
  • manufacturers’ declarations
  • beneficiary certificates
  • exporter declarations
  • importer declarations
  • supplier declarations
  • vessel cleanliness certificates
  • vessel cleanliness inspection reports.

Only packing list/sheet/slips do not need to be on a letterhead; however, the company that issued the documentation must be identifiable on the document.

Original documents and certificates or certified copies

The department reserves the right to request original documentation and certificates to be presented. If the original document or certificate cannot be presented, certified copies are acceptable and must be signed by a representative of the issuing organisation or corporation.

If a copy cannot be certified by the issuing organisation, the department may accept a statutory declaration attesting to the copy’s validity. This statutory declaration will only be accepted if signed by the importer of the goods.

The original certificate, certified copy or statutory declaration must be presented to a regional office to be verified by a biosecurity officer who will complete the document assessment process.

Consignment-specific documentation

The department relies on consignment-specific documentation to support risk assessments for imported goods. Each line declared on an import declaration should link to the commercial documentation in section 4.2 of this policy. In addition to this any lines subject to biosecurity or the Imported Food Inspection Scheme may require commodity-specific information and supporting documentation. These commodity-specific requirements are outlined in BICON and individual import permits.

Each class of document has specified minimum requirements that must be met for the document to be accepted by the department. The requirements for each document are outlined in this section.

Transport documentation

General information for a bill of lading (including interim bill of lading)

A bill of lading (or interim bill of lading) must be in accordance with the standard international trade requirements as specified by the International Chamber of Shipping.

A bill of lading must include:

  • individual bill of lading number
  • shipping line’s details
  • consignor/shipper/export details (including name and address)
  • consignee details (may be ’to order’)
  • vessel and voyage details
  • load port and discharge port
  • weight, volume and description of the goods.

A bill of lading may also include:

  • container or seal numbers (if goods are containerised)
  • commercial reference numbers, such as invoice or order numbers
  • shipped on board date
  • marks and numbers to identify goods
  • serial numbers
  • batch or lot code numbers.
General information for an air waybill

In line with the standard international trade requirements as specified by the International Air Transport Association, an air waybill must contain:

  • individual air waybill number
  • consignor details (including name and address)
  • consignee details (may be ‘to order’)
  • flight carrier and flight number
  • airport of departure (address of first carrier) and requested routing
  • airport of destination
  • weight, volume and description of the goods.

An air waybill may also include:

  • commercial reference numbers, such as invoice or order numbers
  • marks and numbers to identify goods, such as serial numbers or batch numbers.

Air waybills are also acceptable in electronic format (e-AWB).

Commercial documentation

General information for a commercial invoice

In line with standard international trade requirements and practice, a commercial invoice may contain:

  • supplier and purchaser details (including name and physical exporting and importing addresses)
  • commercial reference numbers, such as invoice or order numbers
  • quantity and description of the goods
  • lot codes.
General information for a packing list/sheet/slip

A packing list may contain:

  • supplier and purchaser details
  • commercial reference numbers, such as invoice or order numbers
  • description and quantity of the goods
  • consignment-specific marks and numbers.

Government-to-government documentation

Further to the overarching international requirements, the department has additional requirements for government-to-government certification.

The certificate must:

  • have been issued and dated within the past six months unless otherwise specified
  • contain the correct statements as required by the department’s import conditions
  • be compliant with any international standards where required
  • have been endorsed with the stamp/seal/embossed mark of the issuing national competent authority.

The stamp may be printed on the certificate or added by the issuing official after the form is completed.

Electronic lodgement via the eCert system

Where the department has an agreed arrangement with a foreign government that allows for government certification to be received using a secure government-to-government system transfer such as eCert, the physical document is not required to be presented for processing.

Government certification received via the eCert system for imported goods are excluded from the documentation requirements outlined in this policy and the Non-commodity information requirements policy.

Authentication of government certificates

The department regularly receives information from government authorities about security features that have been added to a certificate that allow international governments to identify legitimate certification.

The department reserves the right to request original certification to be presented if there is reason to believe that the verification is not genuine based on security features.

The department accepts that in some instances shading security features with a pencil enhances the visibility of the features for photocopying/scanning purposes when lodging certificates electronically.

Information for veterinary/government certification

International standards for veterinary/government certification are outlined on the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) website, according to species of origin:

  • for veterinary certificates for terrestrial animals and their products, see the OIE Terrestrial Code Certification Procedures
  • for veterinary certificates for aquatic animals and their products, see the OIE Aquatic Code Certification Procedures.
Information for a phytosanitary certificate

International standards for phytosanitary certification are outlined on the International Plant Protection Convention website in the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 12: Guidelines for phytosanitary certificates.

When details of methyl bromide treatment are included on a phytosanitary certificate, the department does not require plastic wrapping declarations as outlined in section 4.7.6 of this policy.

Information for foreign government certification under the Imported Food Control Act 1992

Under section 18 of the Imported Food Control Act 1992, the department can enter into a government-to-government certification arrangement with the national competent authority of a country exporting food to Australia. Information about these arrangements is outlined on the department's website.

Information for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) food safety requirements for imported beef and beef products for human consumption

All consignments of beef and beef products for human consumption imported into Australia must comply with the biosecurity and BSE food safety requirements. Australia’s biosecurity requirements for beef and beef products can be obtained from BICON. Information about BSE food safety requirements are outlined on the department's website.

Documentation issued by the department

Import permits

An import permit may only be used by (or on behalf of) the person or entity named as the holder of the permit and must be valid at the time the goods are landed.

Conditions stated on an import permit take precedence over any conditions stated in BICON. These conditions may include the addition of specific statement/s on commercial documentation.

Import permits are not required to be presented for documentary assessment; the permit number is sufficient for the department to assess the documentation.

Clearance letter

A clearance letter may only be used by (or on behalf of) the person or entity named in the letter and must be valid at the time the goods are landed.

Clearance letters will only be accepted if issued by a national policy section or a service delivery assistant director (or higher).

Documentation endorsed by the department

Documentation requirement for a declaration/notice of intent to export

A declaration/notice of intent to export must contain:

  • the assigned departmental pre-clearance number
  • participant/exporter/packing house that requested pre-clearance
  • inspection location
  • pallet card numbers (in numerical order) and packing house
  • any declaration required by the import conditions
  • statement indicating pass/fail of pre-clearance inspection
  • a departmental stamp.

Non-commodity documentation

Information requirement for all non-commodity documentation

Required statements for non-commodity concerns are identified by cargo type in the non-commodity information requirements policy.

Non-commodity documents on which these statements may appear are:

  • packing declarations (annual or consignment-specific)
  • container cleanliness declarations.

Cleanliness declarations may be made on the packing declaration.

Information requirement for annual packing declarations

Annual packing declarations must:

  • contain all statements required by the non-commodity information requirements policy
  • be issued by the packer or supplier of the goods.
Validity requirements

Annual packing declarations are valid for 12 months from the date of issue by the packer and must be valid at the time the import declaration is assessed by the biosecurity officer or assessed and lodged by the customs broker.

Consignment link

All documents must be linked to the imported consignment by a unique identifiable link. Because annual packing declarations are intended to cover a number of consignments over the year, this link cannot be consignment-specific. The department allows the importer name and exporter name as the unique identifiable link.

Documentation information for consignment-specific packing declarations

Packing declarations must:

  • contain all statements required by the Non-commodity information requirements policy
  • be issued by either the packer or supplier of the goods.
Documentation information for container cleanliness declarations

Container cleanliness declarations must:

  • contain all statements required by the Non-commodity information requirements policy
  • be issued by the packer or supplier of the goods.
General information for a vessel cleanliness inspection report

A vessel inspection cleanliness report must contain:

  • a completed hold cleanliness checklist (as found in the Imported Bulk Cargo Fertiliser Protocols—Attachment 5)
  • vessel name and call sign
  • inspection time and date
  • the statement ‘we hereby certify that we have carried out the pre-load vessel cleanliness survey inspection as per the hold cleanliness checklist and guidelines and to the specifications of the charterer’
  • be issued by a qualified marine surveyor.
General information for a vessel cleanliness certificate

A vessel inspection cleanliness certificate must contain:

  • vessel name and call sign
  • inspection time and date
  • a statement indicating that ‘all vessel holds were inspected and found clean and dry with no previous goods residues and suitable to load the intended goods’
  • the certificate must be issued by a qualified marine surveyor.

Other documentation

General information for a manufacturer’s or exporter’s declaration

Manufacturer’s declarations will only be accepted from the company that manufactured/produced the goods and may be issued by the individual manufacturing site or head office within the country of export. Declarations made by suppliers, wholesalers or other parties may be accepted if the relevant BICON case permits.

Exporter’s declarations will only be accepted from the company that exported the goods.

A manufacturer’s or exporter’s declaration must:

  • unless otherwise specified have been issued no more than six months prior to assessment by the department
  • contain the correct statement/s as required by the import conditions
  • be specific to the product and consignment
  • include the individual name and company title and, where possible, be endorsed with a company stamp.

Where an ingredients list is provided to demonstrate compliance with import conditions, it must meet the requirements for a manufacturer’s or exporter’s declaration.

Note: Declarations accompanying non-commercial/personal consignments do not need to be specific to the consignment.

General information for importer’s declarations

An importer’s declaration will only be accepted from the company/individual that is importing the goods and will be ultimately in control of the goods.

An importer’s declaration must:

  • contain the correct statement/s as required by the import conditions
  • be specific to the product and consignment
  • include the individual name and company title and, where possible, be endorsed with a company stamp.
General information for a government-endorsed declaration

In addition to other requirements, where a declaration is required to be endorsed by the government of the exporting country, the declaration must also:

  • be signed and dated by a government officer within the past six months (unless otherwise specified)
  • include the government officer’s name and title
  • be sealed with the stamp/seal of the applicable government department.
General information for treatment certificates

Certificates attesting to the performance of offshore treatments are required to meet the overarching requirements outlined in section 4 of this policy.

All certificates must contain:

  • treatment provider’s letterhead including name and physical address
  • description of goods/packaging treated
  • quantity/volume of goods/packaging treated
  • date treatment was performed
  • any statement as required by the import conditions.

Where the department has arrangements (such as AFAS) with overseas governments, treatment certificates must include:

  • the government scheme under which the treatment provider has been registered
  • the treatment provider’s registration number.
Validity requirements

All treatments must be performed by an acceptable treatment provider within the mandated timeframe before export as outlined in the applicable import conditions.

Information requirements by treatment type

Below are the information requirements for each treatment type.

Fumigations:

  • name of fumigant
  • dosage expressed as mass per volume; for example, grams per cubic metre
  • minimum temperature and pressure (if applicable)
  • duration
  • additional requirements for methyl bromide fumigations:

- for treatment providers that are registered under AFAS, treatment certificates must include the information required by Appendix 5 of the AFAS Methyl Bromide Fumigation Standard

- for treatment providers that are not registered under AFAS, treatment certificates must include either the plastic wrapping information required by Appendix 5 of the AFAS Methyl Bromide Fumigation Standard or one of the following plastic wrapping declarations:

  • ‘plastic wrapping has not been used in this consignment’
  • ‘this consignment has been fumigated before application of plastic wrapping’
  • ‘plastic wrapping used in this consignment conforms to the AFAS wrapping and perforation standard as found in the AFAS Methyl Bromide Fumigation Standard’
  • additional requirements for sulfuryl fluoride fumigations:

- treatment certificates must include one of the following plastic wrapping declarations:

  • ‘plastic wrapping has not been used in this consignment’
  • ‘this consignment has been fumigated before application of plastic wrapping’
  • ‘plastic wrapping used in this consignment conforms to the AFAS wrapping and perforation standard as found in the AFAS Methyl Bromide Fumigation Standard’.

Permanent preservative treatments:

  • statement attesting to treatment in accordance with the department’s requirements as outlined in the applicable import conditions
  • name of preservative (where required)
  • chemical composition of preservative
  • loading of preservative expressed as: percentage mass/mass based on oven dried mass of treated wood, or mass per volume (net dry salt retention)
  • for plywoods and veneers only—veneer thickness.

Gamma irradiation:

  • dosage in kGray or Mrad.

Heat treatments:

  • statement to reflect temperature was measured at the core of the product
  • temperature in °Celsius or °Fahrenheit
  • statement that the required temperature was maintained for no less than the minimum duration.

Kiln drying:

  • statement to reflect temperature was measured at the core of the product
  • temperature in °Celsius or °Fahrenheit
  • statement that the required temperature was maintained for no less than the minimum duration
  • timber thickness.

Further information about a particular treatment is available on the department's website.

General information for a seed analysis certificate

Seed analysis certificates must be in accordance with ISTA requirements. Seed analysis certificates must contain:

  • weight of the bulk sample
  • weight of the working sample examined
  • the botanical name of each identified species of seed found in the sample (any unidentified genera or species are to be recorded as such)
  • endorsed with any statements required by the import conditions for the species of seed
  • the percentage of any soil particles or ergot found in the sample.
Validity requirement for a seed analysis certificate

Seed analysis certificates will only be accepted if issued by a seed testing laboratory approved by the department.

General information for a preferential tariff certificate/certificate of origin

Preferential tariff certificates/certificates of origin may contain:

  • exporter details
  • consignee details
  • description of the goods.
General information for a letter of credit

Letters of credit may contain:

  • issuing bank details
  • buyer details
  • seller details
  • value of the credit
  • description of the goods.

Imported Food Inspection Scheme documents

Laboratory nomination form

Analytical testing of imported food samples can only be performed by a laboratory that is an appointed analyst under section 34 of the Imported Food Control Act 1992. The customs broker or importer must nominate an appointed analyst on a laboratory nomination form when submitting documentation using the process outlined in this section.

Confirm the laboratory:

  • can perform the tests required on the food sample (some laboratories are not accredited to perform certain tests on some classes of foods)
  • has courier arrangements in place to collect samples from the department's collection sites (some laboratories do not service all areas)
  • will accept the nomination.

Note: the importer/owner is responsible for paying the laboratory test costs and laboratories may require a deposit prior to testing.

Complete the IFIS laboratory nomination form and forward it to the laboratory. An inspection cannot be booked until the laboratory accepts the nomination and notifies the department on the form.

The department will issue a food control certificate when the appointed analyst has returned the laboratory nomination form to the department and confirmed that they will conduct the analytical testing of the imported food samples.

An importer may have an ‘ongoing nomination’ with an appointed analyst. Where this arrangement is in place, a laboratory nomination form does not need to be provided for future import declarations unless requested. Importers are encouraged to enter into an ongoing nomination arrangement to reduce delays in entry processing. An ongoing nomination must be accepted by the appointed analyst before it is accepted by the department. Separate ongoing nomination arrangements are to be made with each regional office that will conduct the inspection and sampling.

Information about testing of samples under the Imported Food Inspection Scheme, including the laboratory nomination form and contact details for appointed analysts, is outlined on the department's website.

Import declaration requirements

The department assesses the information lodged in an import declaration, the supporting commercial documentation and any government certification to assess the biosecurity risk and determine if the goods can be released, or directed for subsequent action. For the Imported Food Inspection Scheme, the information is also used to ensure the correct rates of inspection and analysis are applied to each consignment.

Accurate information

The information in an import declaration must accurately reflect the consignment. Failure to declare a consignment correctly may result in goods that pose a biosecurity concern or foods that pose a risk to public health and safety not being referred to the department for assessment. Additionally, incorrect information may result in delays in processing the import declaration or unnecessary intervention, inspection, treatment or sample testing. Customs brokers and importers are responsible for having sufficient documentary evidence to ensure that the import declaration is true and accurate.

Some fields in an import declaration are specific to biosecurity or the Imported Food Inspection Scheme only and are not used or required by other government agencies. When the department believes any of the information in these fields is incorrect or incomplete, the client will be requested to amend the import declaration.

Community protection (CP) profile questions

When a customs broker or importer is prompted to answer the department’s import profile questions about the risk of the consignment as part of the lodgement process, they are required to answer these questions accurately based on the evidence that is available to them.

The customs broker or importer is responsible for keeping evidence that supports the decision to downgrade the profile or make alterations to the original import declaration; this evidence may be required to be presented to the department.

Where the department identifies that a customs broker or importer is lodging incorrect information in an import declaration, this will be viewed as a non-compliance and the details will be recorded. The customs broker, importer and consignment details may also be referred to the department’s enforcement area for further action.

Line identification

A document such as an invoice, packing list or lot code list must be provided that references each line in the import declaration to each type of goods on the commercial documentation.

Processing the import declaration will be delayed if no document is provided or the document provided is not sufficient to link each line in the import declaration to each type of goods on the commercial documentation.

Line/container association—for consignments with multiple lines and/or containers

In some instances lines or containers may be held for intervention by the department and others may be deemed impediment free.

To facilitate partial release of these types of consignments, the department is able to process entries in the most appropriate mode if the client has associated each active line with at least one container and all containers with at least one line.

If a client chooses not to associate lines with containers, the department may request that an entry is amended and ask that all tariff lines and containers are accurately associated.

If the entry is not lodged in the correct mode it may cause the entire consignment to be held.

Biosecurity officers are not permitted to associate lines with containers for these types of consignments. The customs broker is responsible for ensuring declarations are accurately lodged for entry processing. Entries cannot be amended once directions are applied to the entry.

Declaring the AQIS entity identifier (AEI)

The AQIS entity identifier must be declared for all FIDs that have an accompanying AFAS treatment certificate. This can be declared using the AEI field in the ICS or in the customs broker’s third party software by selecting the appropriate AEI or AEIs from the list provided, ensuring that the company name in the second column matches the company name on the certificate.

Declaring eCert information

The foreign government certificate number must be declared in the FID for eCert. Ensuring that the correct certificate number and document type are entered in the AQIS document number and AQIS document type fields in the ICS or relevant customs broker’s third party software assists the department in linking the electronic certificate to the consignment.

Imported Food Inspection Scheme import declaration requirements

When incorrect information is identified in an import declaration that has been referred to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme, the department will issue a food control certificate to advise the customs broker or importer that an amendment must be made to one or more fields. The goods must remain on hold and the import declaration will not be processed or an inspection booked until the amended import declaration is received in the department’s system.

The department may request an amendment to:

  • AQIS producer code
  • AQIS document type
  • AQIS document number
  • IFIS community protection questions.

Lot code list

A lot code list must be provided for each type of food (batch) in the import declaration. The lot code list is used to estimate the time required for an inspection and to determine the number of samples that will required for analytical testing.

Declaring the producer of imported food

The producer must be declared for all imported food consignments that are lodged in a Full Import Declaration FID.
The producer is used to determine the appropriate rate of inspection for an imported food, based on the compliance of previous consignments referred to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.

More information about declaring the producer of imported food is available on the department's website.

Other considerations

Declaring the date of export

BICON stipulates that goods treated offshore are exported from the country of origin/manufacture within 21 days of treatment. In some instances BICON will state an alternate period (such as 90 days).

The department requires documentary evidence confirming that the consignment has met these requirements.

To demonstrate the date of export, in accordance with the definition of export:

  • when a consignment is lodged with the freight forwarder, shipping company/airline, charter operator or an appointed agent in the country of origin, for ultimate destination in Australia either:

- provide a declaration on the bill of lading stating the date the container was lodged with/received by the freight forwarder
- a bill of lading stating the date the container was received
- a gate in gate out certificate

  • when a consignment is shipped on board the vessel

- provide a shipped on board date on the bill of lading

  • when a consignment is packed in a container and sealed in preparation for export

- provide a declaration from the freight forwarder stating:

  • the container/s numbers
  • the date the container/s was packed
  • the date the container/s was sealed noting the seal number/s.

This freight forwarder declaration must accompany a bill of lading linked with the container number/s.

Previously accepted documents

Where application of this policy would prevent a previously acceptable document from being accepted, the biosecurity officer is to consult their supervisor/manager before contacting the Compliance Assessment and Management Section for clarification.

New document class

When a new document class or type is created, the department will review it against and incorporate it into this policy to ensure the requirements of the policy can continue to be met.

Periodic review

The department will review this policy every 3 years or as required.

The department welcomes feedback at any time and may conduct a review earlier if required to ensure the requirements outlined in this document reflect current business practices.

Related documents/information

Non-commodity information requirements

Applicable statements for non-commodity concerns must be as per the non-commodity information requirements policy. Example templates of acceptable documentation are provided on the Acceptable documentation templates page of the department’s website.

Approved Arrangements documentation

This policy document should be read in conjunction with these co-regulation schemes:

  • Non-Commodity for Containerised Cargo Clearance (NCCC) Scheme
  • Automatic Entry Processing for Commodities (AEPCOMM) Scheme.
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