Imports and COVID-19

News and alerts

See the latest updates from the Australian Government (australia.gov.au)

See the latest media release about a new temporary arrangement for cat and dog arrivals to the Post Entry Quarantine Facility. 

 

We are doing all we can to minimise the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). We are ensuring goods can still enter Australia while also protecting our staff. We may need to reassess our processes as we receive new information about the risks.

You still need to follow all existing Australian laws and importing requirements. We will not be amending or relaxing the conditions for imported goods.

Can I still import goods into Australia?

We have not put any extra restrictions on importing goods into Australia.

Current travel restrictions may cause delays. This may impact when your goods will arrive in Australia.

Check BICON for current import conditions.

Subscribe to Import Industry Advice Notices to keep up to date on any changes.

Import services and payments

We continue to provide our regular import services. This includes:

  • processing permits
  • inspecting imported goods
  • identifying intercepted pests
  • monitoring treatment activities.

Current travel restrictions may cause delays. This may impact when your goods will arrive in Australia.

See our advice on the impact of COVID-19 on food and agriculture.

Financial hardship

Some of our customers may be facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

See how you can request a payment arrangement for overdue debt.

Lodging import documents and front counter services

We have temporarily stopped accepting import documents in person. In particular, documents for importing personal effects.

This applies to:

  • all our regional offices
  • these services where provided at Australian Border Force offices.

You must now submit these documents for assessment via email.

If you need to submit originals, send them via courier to the relevant departmental office. Include a return courier envelope so we can return them to you.

Plant and animal imports

Site inspections and audits

We are still conducting site inspections and audits of Australian-based import facilities. If you don’t allow us entry, we will not be able to certify you are meeting import requirements.

Our staff adhere to all current workplace health and safety requirements.

Our ability to undertake site audits of overseas facilities is being impacted by travel bans and restrictions here in Australia and abroad. 

See advice on the impacts to processing import permits for processed plant-based stockfeed.

Import certification

Some overseas governments haven’t been able to send original paper-based certificates due to air travel delays.

We are temporarily accepting certain electronic certificates for:

You can submit these through our standard lodgement processes.

Cat and dog imports

We are aware that air travel is being disrupted worldwide. This means you may have trouble transporting an animal to Australia.

During this time, we need to keep ensuring animal welfare and manage the significant biosecurity risks of cat and dog imports.

See our advice on domestic animals and COVID-19.

Import conditions

Our cat and dog import conditions have not changed. We are still processing import permit applications.

Arrivals

Pre-border waiting periods are still the same. You cannot bring your animal into Australia early and spend more time in quarantine here.

We may export any cat or dog that arrives in Australia unannounced or without a valid import permit and veterinary health certification. If you cannot arrange export, we may have no other option but to euthanise the animal.

Post Entry Quarantine (PEQ) stays

Most animals coming into Australia must arrive directly into Melbourne Airport. In most cases, they cannot arrive in another Australian port and then travel to our quarantine facility at Mickleham. The only exception is that cats and dogs may temporarily be transhipped via Sydney to the quarantine facility in Melbourne, under limited circumstances and subject to eligibility.

Our PEQ facility in Mickleham is still open. We have received a high volume of enquiries from people wanting to change their PEQ reservations.

Check your flight arrival date and PEQ capacity. Email PEQservices@awe.gov.au to change your reservation.

Our PEQ staff will care for animals during their stay. You must arrange for your animal to be picked up on their release date to avoid extra fees.

You can authorise a friend, a family member or pet transport company to collect your animal on your behalf. Check state or territory government websites for interstate travel restrictions.  

COVID-19 on goods and packaging

Receiving packages or letters, or handling goods from affected areas, is still considered safe.

The World Health Organization advises that the chance of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low. So is the risk of catching COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature.

Practice good hand hygiene. This is the best defence against most viruses.

Importers must continue to follow their company’s existing infection prevention guidelines. This may include using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Health advice

Last reviewed: 22 September 2020
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