Volume 18 - Export documentation - electronic


A working knowledge of export documentation is fundamental to the role of an authorised officer. This volume is designed to provide an overview of electronic documentation relevant to export plants and plant product.

A more detailed working knowledge will then be developed through the e-learning module, electronic export documentation and on-the-job experience.

Documents and certificates are issued both manually and electronically through the AQIS Electronic Export Documentation system, EXDOC. All share the same requirements of the Export Control Act 1982 and International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) obligations.

Although the mechanism for delivery is different, the outcome is the same, that being accurate and nationally consistent completion of AQIS documentation with the following outcomes:

  • Maintenance of the favourable international reputation of AQIS,
  • Accurate attestation that importing country requirements have been met, and
  • Facilitation of international trade.

Request for Permit Authorisation

EXDOC is the AQIS Electronic Export Documentation system, and its purpose is to electronically process and produce Government to Government certification required for the export of products from Australia.

EXDOC was introduced in 1992 for the certification of meat exports, and in 2001 was implemented for fish, dairy, grain and horticulture export certification.

EXDOC provides the ability to electronically transmit information for the purpose of applying for an Export Permit and or a government certificate providing flexibility and consistency in the issuance of export documentation.

The transmission of information to EXDOC is via accredited third party software that interacts with the AQIS EXDOC database. Users who are registered with EXDOC are referred to as Electronic Data Interchange Users (EDI Users). EDI users submit an electronic notice of intention (EX28 or EX222) which results in the generation of a Request for Permit (RFP).

The end result of the electronic process in EXDOC is the generation of an electronic certificate applicable to the commodity being exported compliant with the importing countries authority.

For Plant Programs, EXDOC is able to generate the:

  • Phytosanitary Certificate
  • Certificate as to Condition
  • Radioactivity Statement
  • Ship’s Holds Inspection Certificate
  • Sack Inspection, Seed Sampling & Empty Container Certificate.

The future direction for plant exports is to have all export certification issued electronically. This direction is actively being pursued and the Plant Export Operations Branch is implementing strategies to facilitate the movement from manual to electronic certification.

In the interim until all documentation is electronic, the Plant Export Operations Branch will be processing manual documentation into the EXDOC system on the exporter’s behalf, to further the progression of electronic certification implementation. This service is a cost recovered activity.

A further progression for electronic certification is the implementation of e-Cert and for AQIS to pro-actively promote e-Cert with as many trading partners as possible.

e-Cert is an electronic message which is transmitted directly to the National Plant Protection Office of the importing country to generate Sanitary and Phytosanitary certificates for traded food commodities, which replaces the current paper certificates issued by AQIS.

The data is retained on a secure website and is protected by security firewalls, whilst the transmission of the data is protected by encryption using secure transmission protocols.

Manual documentation will be maintained as a back-up system and for emergency uses.

The EXDOC Process

  1. AQIS EXDOC receives a message from the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) User via their accredited third party software.
  2. The data is validated within the message.
  3. EXDOC rejects the incoming message if errors are found during the validation process and sends the EDI User, through their software, a message advising of the errors detected.
  4. Where no errors are found during the validation of the incoming message the EXDOC system assigns a number and status to the RFP.
  5. EXDOC sends a message to the Customs computer system, called the Integrated Cargo System (ICS), if an Export Declaration Number (EDN) is requested within the incoming message.
  6. A message is then sent to the EDI User, through their software, advising of the RFP number, status and EDN if requested.
  7. AQIS then inspects the consignment and authorises the RFP in the EXDOC system.
  8. EXDOC then re-validates the data and assigns a new status to the RFP.
  9. If assigned a status of completed (COMP),a Phytosanitary certificate is generated along with other certification if requested, for example Certificate as to Condition.
  10. EXDOC then sends a message to the EDI User through their software advising that the certificate is ready to be collected (if printed in an AQIS office), or the certificate is ready to be printed if sent as a remote print file.

Related Legislation and Instructional Material

The Export Control (Prescribed Goods – General) Order 2005 provides details on electronically transmitted information and documents which states that any information or document must be transmitted via the EXDOC system.

The ‘Phytosanitary Certificate Completion Work Procedure’ includes details relating to Phytosanitary certificates issued through EXDOC.

The IPPC Standard for Completion of Phytosanitary Certification, ISPM No. 12 is an international standard that provides guidelines on completion of phytosanitary certificates and sets international standards for certification.

Further Reading

  • Please refer to the AQIS website for the Phytosanitary Certificate Completion Work Procedure
  • Please refer to the IPPC website for the ISPM 12
  • Please refer to the AQIS website for more information plant export electronic certification

Relevant eLearning Modules

  • Export Documentation - Electronic


  • You can contact your Regional Plant Export Program Manager to clarify any aspects of this volume in the first instance.
  • You can also direct a specific question or provide feedback to Plant Exports Training
Last reviewed: 22 April 2021
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