Entry & Exit Formalities
Arrival in Australia is usually fairly quick and efficient. If you have a current passport and visa, and follow customs regulations, your entry should be straightforward.
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. 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)
- General goods Up to the value of $900 ($450 for people aged 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, a hefty on-the-spot fine or up to 10 years' imprisonment.
Australia takes its bio-security very seriously. Border Force staff are usually very courteous while also assessing if you're trafficking drugs, wildlife, or worse, children. Spot-check inspections of luggage at the border are routine, so don't be alarmed if you're asked to open your bags. For more information on quarantine regulations contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
Illegal drugs Customs authorities are adept at searching for drugs, and sniffer dogs are permanent fixtures in arrival and baggage halls.
Medication Bring medications in original, clearly labelled containers. A signed and dated letter from your physician describing your medical conditions and medications, including generic names, is a good idea, especially if carrying syringes. There is a lucrative market in smuggled counterfeit pharmaceuticals in Australia, thus the vigilance.
Money You need to declare currency in excess of $10,000 (including foreign currency).
Plant and animal matter Declare all animal and plant material (wooden spoons, dried bananas, 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, the items are subject to inspection. Some may require treatment to make them safe before they are allowed in. Fresh food and flowers are prohibited, and there are restrictions on taking fruit and vegetables between states.
Weapons There are strong restrictions on the possession and use of weapons in Australia. Consult the customs website well before departure, as permits may be required.
All visitors to Australia need a visa, except New Zealanders. There are several different visas available from short-stay visitor visas to working-holiday visas.
If you want to stay in Australia for longer than your visa allows, you’ll need to apply for a new visa via www.homeaffairs.gov.au. You can't apply for a new visa in Australia if your current visa has expired so start the process well before your current visa expires.
If you require an Australian visa, eligibility depends on your nationality, your age, your skills and how long you are contemplating staying in Australia. For more information and to apply online visit www.homeaffairs.gov.au.