Buying goods online from outside Australia
Before you purchase certain goods from outside Australia, you need to check whether you are allowed to import them. Some goods could carry foreign pests and diseases, so make sure they won’t be more costly and trouble than they're worth.
You can find information about importing many common goods by using the Passenger and mail import inquiry form.
Alternatively, check the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) which provides comprehensive information on goods and the conditions under which they can be imported including if an import permit is required. Goods that require a permit, but arrive without one, including where an application is currently under consideration, will be directed for export from Australian territory or required to be destroyed in an approved manner. Conditionally non-prohibited goods that are subject to alternative conditions, as detailed in BICON, that do not meet those conditions will be directed for immediate export.
If your goods are not of biosecurity concern, there may be other restrictions. You should also check:
- Department of Home Affairs
- Therapeutic Goods Administration
- Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
- state or territory departments of agriculture.
Assessing your goods for import
When your goods arrive at the Australian border they will be assessed as to whether they can be imported. This assessment includes using detector dogs and X–ray machines at international mail centres around Australia.
Goods that are not permitted into Australia will be forfeited to the Commonwealth and destroyed. Some goods may require treatment (at the importer’s expense) before they are permitted into Australia. The cost of treatment for international mail is A$75 per item. Alternatively, some goods may need to be returned to the sender at a cost of A$95 per item. If any attempt has been made to conceal the goods, for example requesting the supplier to pack goods in a manner designed to hide or make them difficult to identify, the importer may be subject to an investigation and possible criminal prosecution.