Sending or ordering goods online from outside Australia

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We assess all mail articles arriving at Australia’s international mail centres. Our biosecurity officers and detector dogs look for risk goods such as food, plant material (including seeds, cacti and succulents) and animal products (including meat and pet food).

You must comply with Australian biosecurity laws when mailing goods to Australia. This applies to everyone, including:

  • Australian residents buying goods online from outside Australia
  • online sellers (business or individual) sending goods to Australian buyers
  • family and friends sending a gift to someone in Australia.

Follow our advice when sending or ordering goods to avoid extra costs, loss of goods or delays.

Biosecurity officers inspecting mail. Biosecurity officer screening mail using X-ray.  Biosecurity officer and detector dog screen parcels on mail belt.

Check it is allowed

Check that the food, plant material or animal product is allowed into Australia.

Do this before you:

  • buy goods online from sellers outside Australia
  • send goods to someone in Australia.

Some goods pose a significant biosecurity risk and are not permitted entry into Australia. Other goods are only allowed if they meet import conditions. For example, the receiver may need to hold a valid import permit issued by us or pay for treatment on arrival to reduce the biosecurity risk.

Biosecurity

Check what is allowed into Australia:

Import conditions in BICON are reviewed regularly. Make sure you check the conditions each time you want to send or order goods.

Other border restrictions

Even if the goods don’t pose a biosecurity risk, they may be restricted under other laws.

You should also check:

Preparing to send goods

Make sure goods are prepared and packed properly. Declare items accurately.

Follow our advice to ensure goods aren’t delayed or stopped at the border.

Clean

If you are sending footwear, sporting, fishing or camping equipment ensure it is clean, dry and free from soil, seeds or plant material. Visit BICON for more information.

Pack

Do not pack goods in egg cartons, wooden boxes, or cardboard boxes that have been used to hold fruit, vegetables and meat or smallgoods. These packing materials are a biosecurity risk as live insects often hide in crevices.

Do not pack with straw or dried plant material. Use newspaper or foam to wrap fragile goods.

Declare

Fill out the postal declaration label clearly and correctly. Include a detailed description i.e. what is it and what is it made from. Descriptions such as ‘gift’, ‘present’ or ‘goods’ are not acceptable. Itemise everything inside the article, including any packing materials used.

How we assess goods

We use X-ray, detector dogs and manual inspection to assess all goods that arrive at the Australian border. Your article may be selected for random inspection, even if you don’t declare any risk goods.

If goods do not meet import conditions, they will be immediately destroyed or sent back to the overseas sender. Some goods may require treatment before they are permitted into Australia. The cost of treatment for an item arriving by international mail is A$75 per item, at the importer’s expense.

If any attempt has been made to conceal the goods, the importer may be subject to an investigation and possible criminal prosecution. An example of concealed goods is if the supplier packs goods in a manner designed to hide or make them hard to identify.

If our biosecurity officers determine that the mail does not pose a biosecurity risk, it is released for delivery by Australia Post.

Contact us

You can contact us for advice to make sure the goods you want to buy or send comply with Australian law.

Report a biosecurity concern

If you find live animals, insects, soil, plant material or other unsolicited biosecurity risk items in imported goods, report it immediately.

Last reviewed: 17 July 2020
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