Travelling to Australia frequently asked questions

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Where do I go for more information on goods to declare?

For information about bringing or sending goods to Australia, visit Bringing and mailing goods to Australia.

If you need more information on goods that need to be declared or that require an import permit, visit the department’s Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON). BICON provides information about Australian import conditions for plant, animal, mineral and human commodities. It can be used to determine if a commodity intended for import to Australia needs an import permit and/or treatment or if there are any other biosecurity conditions. As of  9 April 2018, the department will no longer facilitate the clearance of conditionally non-prohibited goods that arrive without the required import permit. Therefore goods that require a permit, but arrive without one, including where an application is currently under consideration, will be directed for export from Australian territory or required to be destroyed in an approved manner.

The information on BICON is the same information that biosecurity officers use when inspecting goods arriving into Australia. Import conditions within BICON are regularly reviewed, so check the conditions each time you travel or send goods.

Can I take food or other goods from Australia through an airport to another country?

Each country has specific requirements as to goods that are allowed to be imported. The department does not keep a record of other countries’ requirements. For further information you should contact the relevant country’s consulate or embassy in your nearest capital city.

Once I’ve cleared biosecurity at an airport, can I take food or other goods to another state within Australia?

Some states prohibit the entry of a range of goods from other parts of Australia. For further information visit Travelling within Australia.

Why do I have to declare on my return to Australia goods that I took overseas with me?

It may be possible for pests and diseases to contaminate your goods while overseas. This is why biosecurity officers must inspect certain articles arriving into Australia, irrespective of where they originally came from.

Why can it take so long to get through the airport?

The department organises its resources at international airports to match scheduled flight arrival patterns. However, a range of factors including airport infrastructure and baggage transfer arrangements can influence the time it takes for passengers to move through the baggage reclaim area and the examination area.

For faster clearances through Australian airports, make sure you are not carrying any fresh fruit, vegetables, plants, seeds, and meat, animal or wood products. You should also ensure that your footwear, sporting and recreational equipment is dry and soil free – including golf clubs, bikes and prams.

Why are we sometimes sprayed on international aircraft flying to Australia?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), certain insects can act as transmitters or vectors of pathogens or parasites that are responsible for spreading a number of human diseases such as dengue fever, yellow fever, Ross River fever and malaria.

All aircraft arriving into Australia are required to undergo a process called disinsection. This process eliminates these vectors of concern (for example mosquitoes) from the cabin and holds of aircraft.

I want to buy something over the internet from overseas—what do I need to know?

The department assesses international mail items sent to Australia. Biosecurity requirements apply to goods ordered on the internet or through mail order.

You can read more about Buying goods online from outside Australia or for further information visit BICON.​