Transit and transhipment of animals through Australia

​​Some animals may be permitted to transit or tranship through an Australian international airport without being imported into Australia.

  • Animals transiting/transhipping through an Australian international airport must be accompanied by a valid transit/transhipment permit.
  • Animals transiting/transhipping must comply with all conditions on the permit.
  • The information below is to help applicants who want to apply for a transit/transhipment permit.
  • Failure to comply with the conditions of the transit/transhipment permit may result in the animals being (at your cost):
    • exported back to the country of origin
    • euthanased.

What is meant by transit?

Transit is when the animal will arrive and depart Australia on the same aircraft and will not leave the aircraft while in Australia.

What is meant by transhipment?

Transhipment is when the animal is moved from an aircraft and spends time at the airport in Australia before being loaded onto the same or a different aircraft and departing Australia.

During the period of transhipment, the animal cannot leave the airport and will remain under the control of the department.

What animals can transit/tranship through Australia?

Cats, dogs and permitted species of other mammals, terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, fish, amphibians and reptiles.

Please note that the transit of fertile poultry eggs, live pigeons, pet birds and alpacas must only occur from New Zealand. Please contact the horses, livestock and birds program for any other requests.

The transit/transhipment of horses, donkeys or mules has a specific process and application form which can be obtained from the department’s regional office at the proposed airport of transit/transhipment.

See below for regional office contact information.

How long can the period of transit/transhipment in Australia be?

For animal welfare reasons, transit/transhipment times should be less than six (6) hours.

Longer periods of transit/transhipment may be possible in some circumstances.

How do I apply for a permit to transit or tranship through Australia?

The application form must be completed and emailed to the department’s regional office in the state or territory where the international airport that the animal will  transit/tranship is located, at least seven (7) working days before the date of the intended transit/transhipment.


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If the application is for a cat or dog travelling from New Zealand, the application must be completed and emailed at least three (3) working days before the date of the intended transit/transhipment.

Each application is assessed case by case. No blanket approvals for transit/transhipment of animals can be given.

Contact details for the regional offices can be found below:

Regional Office Email
New South Wales CER Animal Imports
Victoria SE Animal and VIC Controller
Queensland QLD Live Animal Imports
South Australia SA Live Animal Imports
Western Australia WA Live Animal Imports
​Northern TerritoryNT Live Animal Imports and NT Airport Controller

General inquiry: 1800 900 090 or + 61 3 8318 6700 (from outside Australia)

For more office locations visit: Office locations

What information is required for the application?

  • Countries of origin and destination of animals
  • Australian international airport of arrival
  • Arrival and departure flight details
  • Whether the application is for animals to transit or to tranship
  • Details of the applicant, agent in Australia and nominated veterinarian (if needed)
  • Details of the animals
  • A detailed contingency plan in the event of a change in travel schedule

What happens if the travel schedule is changed after the permit is granted?

You must notify the department’s regional office in the state or territory of the international airport in writing immediately and if the change is within 24 hours of travel you must notify the nominated biosecurity officer by phone.

If the change in travel schedule means the animals cannot continue their travel, from Australia as planned, then the animals should not be loaded in the exporting country.

How much will it cost to transit/tranship through Australia?

See the department charging guidelines.

There are costs for the assessment of the application and for any supervision of the animals at the airport.

Fees are subject to change. It is the client’s responsibility to check the website for information on updates or amendments to fees, policies and procedures.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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