Importing animal derivatives and microbial goods into Australia

​This page provides guidance on how to import biological materials including foods, therapeutics, laboratory materials, and vaccines.

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Import conditions/is a permit required

You can use the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment's Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON)to determine if the product you want to import needs an import permit, treatment or any other biosecurity condition.

Tips on how to search the database effectively can be found by clicking the blue 'BICON Help' button at the top of the BICON homepage.

Applying for an import permit

Some biological materials are only allowed into Australia if accompanied by an import permit issued by the department.

Australian importers can obtain a permit to import biosecurity risk material through our Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON). BICON houses the Australian Government's Biosecurity import conditions database for more than 20,000 plants, animals, minerals and biological products. It will help you to determine what import conditions exist and if an import permit is required. We will assess the application and grant a permit to import if conditions can be applied that will manage biosecurity risk at an acceptably low level.

Goods requiring an import permit must not be exported to Australia until the importer holds a valid permit. A permit is generally valid for two (2) years and may be used any number of times during this period. The permit will dictate the conditions and requirements under which the goods may enter Australia. Permit conditions often require government certification which generally cannot be obtained once the goods have left the country of export.

Goods that are imported without a valid import permit, or which cannot meet permit conditions, must be re-exported or destroyed at the importer’s expense.

Applying for an Import Permit does not guarantee that a permit will be issued. The Director of Biosecurity or their delegate decides whether conditions can be applied to manage the biosecurity risk of individual goods or commodity types.


Clearance of imported goods

For clearance of imported goods, you must submit all relevant paperwork (permits and/or other documentation as detailed on BICONto the regional officein the state/territory of import.

Detained goods (mail, air courier, passenger luggage)

The department may hold goods for several reasons, including the requirement for an import permit and/or other documentation, or if the product is required to undergo post-entry treatment. Refer to BICON for current import conditions.

  • If you require information on mailing items to Australia, please refer to the international mail section of the department's website.
  • If you require information about importing goods as air passenger luggage, please refer to the airports section of the department's website.
  • If you are unsure as to why your goods have been held, please contact your local office to request clarification. Please provide a reference for your consignment e.g. Quarantine Entry number or seizure number.

For further assistance please contact:

Animal and Biological Imports Branch
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
Email: Biological Imports

Last reviewed: 21 August 2020
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