Temporary imports and events

​​​​​​This information will assist importers when planning to temporarily import goods for an event.

The Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) allows certain goods to be brought into Australia on a temporary basis for a period of up to 12 months without the payment of duty or taxes. These goods are referred to as ‘temporary importations’. Approval for temporary importations is granted under section 162 or section 162A of the Customs Act 1901. Guidelines for these types of imports can be found on the Home Affairs website under Temporary Importations.

Goods that qualify as temporary imports may be imported under carnet or security.

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Use a carnet to simplify customs clearance

A carnet is an international 'passport for goods' under which the payment of duties and taxes are guaranteed by an overseas issuing body, if the goods are not re-exported.

The use of a carnet to cover the temporary importation of goods considerably simplifies and speeds up the customs clearance process for the importer. Goods that are commonly imported under a carnet or security include motor vehicles, tourist equipment (including yachts and light aircraft), goods required for exhibitions or events, and professional equipment.

Carnets and associated documentation can be presented to your local Department of Agriculture and Water Resources office after Home Affairs has processed the documentation and completed its assessment. Carnet documents can be presented prior to the arrival of the goods, provided Home Affairs has conducted a pre-clearance of the carnet documentation.

We do not require an original copy of the carnet. Documents can be presented at the appropriate departmental office or sent electronically via email. Any correspondence regarding inspection or treatment arrangements that have been pre-determined with a departmental special event contact should be included with the documentation.

Lodge a security for temporary import

Securities can also be used for the temporary import of goods. Importers may bring goods into Australia on a temporary basis by lodging a security with Home Affairs at the time of importation, in conjunction with an import declaration.

Biosecurity clearance of temporary importations

Goods temporarily imported into Australia are often referred to our department for biosecurity clearance, such as:

  • screening of import documentation
  • inspection of goods on arrival in Australia
  • treatment of goods on arrival in Australia.

See the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) for more information.

Refer to the Lodgement of import documentation via email webpage for details of how to submit documentation to the department for clearance.

Event status for temporary importations?

Event status is granted by Home Affairs to a temporary importation or series of importations under section 162A of the Customs Act for a named event; for example a trade show, art exhibition or sporting event.

Work with us for clearance of temporarily imported goods for an event?

​Many goods that are temporarily imported for an event will be subject to biosecurity control due to the commodity type (e.g. containing plant or animal material) or because there is a possibility that goods are contaminated from use at a previous overseas event, such as an outdoor concert or exhibition.

Due to the quantity of goods, location of the event and timeframes involved, extensive planning with our department is often required for biosecurity clearance. We work with our clients to assist them with clearance of these goods when they are imported for an event.

Goods imported for an event, such as a museum exhibition or cultural event, may contain goods that are subject to biosecurity control and/or require an import permit. The individual BICON case for the commodity will determine if an import permit is required. Permit conditions for temporary importations may vary from the standard commodity permit conditions. The permit assessment may take into account:

  • the goods
  • purpose of the import and the length of time that the goods are in Australia
  • where the goods will be located whilst in Australia.

This information should be included with your import permit application. Refer to BICON as a guide.

Goods that require an import permit must have the permit granted prior to the goods arriving in Australia to ensure the goods comply with our importation requirements.

Consumable items, such as food, are not considered for temporary importation by Home Affairs. However, we recognise that foods samples are often imported in conjunction with an exhibition or show that has been given event status by Home Affairs.

As the importer, you are responsible for ensuring food samples imported for an exhibition or show are safe and suitable for consumption.

Some foods may be subject to inspection and testing under the Imported Food Control Act 1992. See Imported Food Inspection Scheme for imported food requirements.

Notify us before arrival of goods for an event

To expedite the clearance of goods for events, contact us as early as possible and before the arrival of the goods.

We recommend that the agent responsible for the import clearance of the goods makes initial contact with the department when the event has been confirmed and details, such as the location and dates, have been arranged.

Each regional department office has a special events contact for clients who are planning to import goods for an event. Refer to the table below to determine who your relevant contact is:



Special event contact details


South Australia

Email: Cargo SA

Phone: 1300 796 255



Email: NER CTL

Phone: 07 3246 8721



Email: CDO

Phone: 07 4030 7800


Northern Territory

Email: NT Cargo

Phone: 08 8920 7040



Email: VIC Risk Unit

Phone: 08 8318 6923 (press 5)



Email: VIC Risk Unit

Phone: 08 8318 6923 (press 5)


Western Australia

Email: WA Bookings

Phone: 08​ 9334 1508



Email: NSW Central Bookings

Phone: 02 8334 7500

Information we need to facilitate clearance of the goods

We have developed an import/event client checklist to assist our offices when planning the clearance of such goods.




File type

File size

Temporary import/event client checklist



455 KB

Temporary import/event client checklist



170 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Request alternate clearance arrangements

We recognise that events require extensive planning and may consider alternate arrangements to facilitate the clearance of the goods.

These approvals will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the regional special events contact.

To assist the department in making the assessment, all information in the client checklist should be provided as early as possible, prior to the arrival of the goods.

Fees and charging

A variety of entry lodgement modes may be used for goods that are temporarily imported under carnet or customs security.

We charge service fees for all consignments that are referred to us for assessment.

See our charging guidelines for advice on payment of service fees.

Last reviewed: 28 September 2020
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