Arrival in Australia is usually straightforward and efficient, with the usual customs declarations. There are no restrictions for citizens of any particular foreign countries entering Australia – if you have a current passport and visa, you should be fine.

Customs Regulations

For detailed information on customs and quarantine regulations, contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

When entering Australia you can bring most articles in free of duty provided that customs is satisfied they are for personal use and that you'll be taking them with you when you leave. Duty-free quotas per person (note the unusually low figure for cigarettes):

  • Alcohol 2.25L (over the age of 18)
  • Cigarettes 50 cigarettes (over the age of 18)
  • Dutiable goods Up to the value of $900 ($450 for people under 18)

Narcotics, of course, are illegal, and customs inspectors and their highly trained hounds are diligent in sniffing them out. Quarantine regulations are strict, so you must declare all goods of animal or vegetable origin – wooden spoons, straw hats, the lot. Fresh food (meat, cheese, fruit, vegetables etc) and flowers are prohibited. There are disposal bins located in airports where you can dump any questionable items if you don't want to bother with an inspection. You must declare currency in excess of $10,000 (including foreign currency).

Quarantine

Australia takes quarantine very seriously. All luggage is screened or X-rayed − if you fail to declare quarantine items on arrival and are caught, you risk a hefty on-the-spot fine or prosecution, which may result in much more significant fines and up to 10 years' imprisonment. For more information on quarantine regulations contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Illegal drugs Don't bring illegal drugs in with you. Customs authorities are adept at searching for them and sniffer dogs are permanent fixtures in arrival and baggage halls.

Medication You need to declare prescription medicines. Bring medications in their original, clearly labelled containers. A signed and dated letter from your physician describing your medical conditions and medications, including generic names, is also a good idea. If carrying syringes or needles, be sure to have a physician's letter documenting their medical necessity.

Money You need to declare currency in excess of $10,000 (including foreign currency).

Plant and animal matter When arriving or departing the country, declare all animal and plant material (wooden spoons, straw hats, the lot) and show them to a quarantine officer. If you bring in a souvenir, such as a drum with animal hide for a skin, or a wooden article (though these items are not strictly prohibited, they are subject to inspection) that shows signs of insect damage, it won't get through. Some items may require treatment to make them safe before they are allowed in. Food and flowers are also prohibited, plus there are restrictions on taking fruit and vegetables between states.

Weapons There are strong restrictions on the possession and use of weapons in Australia. If you plan to travel with weapons of any sort contact the customs service or consult its website well before departure − permits may be required.

Visas

All visitors to Australia need a visa, except New Zealanders. Apply online for an ETA or eVisitor visa, each allowing a three-month stay: www.border.gov.au.

Visa Extensions

If you want to stay in Australia for longer than your visa allows, you’ll need to apply for a new visa via www.border.gov.au. Apply at least two or three weeks before your visa expires.