Self assessed clearance cargo: how we work with industry

Self assessed clearance cargo: how we work with industry

Self assessed clearance (SAC) cargo is described as non-commercial goods (including online purchases) imported into Australia with a value of less than or equal to the Full Import Declaration (FID) threshold. The FID threshold is currently $1000.

SAC declarations are described in this Self assessed clearance (SAC) declarations factsheet and in detail in Section 19 of the Industry Imports Manual managed by the Department of Home Affairs.

SAC declaration assessment

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department) targets potential biosecurity risk SAC cargo by screening SAC declarations in the Department of Home Affairs Integrated Cargo System (ICS), and additionally as required by document assessment and physical inspection.



  • Consignments are assessed for biosecurity risk items based on goods descriptions and accompanying documentation.
  • After documentary assessment, the goods will either be released or directed for further intervention.
  • The import conditions for some goods are outlined in Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) database.
  • Certain categories of goods, and assessment outcomes, require that SAC declarations are managed in the department’s Agriculture Import Management System (AIMS).

Consignment documentation

Paperless process

When a SAC declaration is referred to the department from the ICS, an email request for documents associated with the house airway bill (HAWB), is automatically sent to the agent responsible for the clearance of the cargo. The system detects the existence of documents to support the HAWB and, if present, attaches the documents to a response email to the department. The attachments are saved by the department and indexed so that they are accessible in the department’s internal system.

Non-paperless process

Rather than the automated process above, the non-paperless process occurs when a SAC declaration is referred to the department from the ICS, and the client must supply supporting documents manually via the SAC mailbox

To apply for the paperless process

Regardless of the volume of SAC consignments a premises handles, clients may apply to the department for consideration to be included in the paperless process.

The applicant must:

  • Be a current Approved Arrangement (AA) site.
  • Maintain a valid, verifiable business continuity plan.
  • Be the ‘reporter’ of the SAC.
  • Be able to meet department’s system interface requirements.

Requests for applications are to be sent to the Air Cargo policy at Requests for further information can also be sent to this mailbox.

The department will acknowledge and action the application as per the department’s Client Service Standards.

Bond register status

Bond register inspection process

Bond register SAC consignments requiring inspection are inspected as a bulk lot using recurring inspection appointment schedule. A time based fee is charged directly to the importer’s representative, rather than individual consignment inspection charges as per the bulk inspection fees outlined in our charging guidelines.

AA sites may submit an application to gain access to the ‘bond register’ process of inspection and charging. This process is applicable for SAC declarations only and does not apply to FIDs. FIDs and SACs managed in AIMS will be charged individual fees for service on each FID or SAC and will not be incorporated in the bond register charging.

To be considered for a bond register arrangement the applicant must:

  • Be a current AA site.
  • Have a minimum 1 hour inspection booking per week.
  • Have a valid business continuity plan.
  • Be the ‘reporter’ of the SAC.
  • Be a department account client.

To apply for the bond register process, an applicant can contact the cargo manager in their local office via the contact details on the Contact us webpage.

Non-bond register inspection process

Individual consignments are managed in AIMS and fees are applied for the assessment of documents and inspection on a per consignment basis. Each importer is invoiced separately for services completed in the inspection and clearance of their consignment.

Status reports

A report can be emailed to clients that lists the status of each SAC consignment handled by the premises. The reports can be requested by clients or be set up to be automatically generated for a specific time period. This request is sent to the SAC Managers mailbox for consideration.

For non-paperless clients, the client will need to advise the time of day they would like to receive the report, the email address the report is to be sent to, and their ICS establishment number.

Note: If the reporter of the SAC is not the same as the establishment holding the consignment, an auto report may not be generated.

Commodity reviews

Clients can request a review of the department’s intervention for particular goods if:

  • A commodity’s history of compliance with the department import conditions is high, or
  • There are new lines of cargo that, in the client’s view, present a low biosecurity risk.

The request for review should be submitted to Air Cargo policy at

The department will acknowledge the assessment request within 2 working days and complete the assessment within 30 workings days from the time of receipt.

If a risk assessment has led to reduced intervention or exclusion from the department profiles, persons in charge must notify the department if there are any changes to the products reviewed. This includes:

  • New items added to the product catalogue
  • Any changes to the manufacturing process for items
  • Items being sourced from a different supplier or
  • Changes to the manufacturing materials used or if the source of the materials has changed.

This information must be emailed to Air Cargo policy at for reassessment of the items and/or catalogues.

Last reviewed: 6 September 2021
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