Every day, thousands of personal and commercial goods are imported into Australia. Depending on what you’re bringing in and why you may need an import permit to be able to bring your shipment into Australia.
In this article, we’ll take a look at Australian import permits and licenses, including when you need one, how to get one, and the issues of not having the correct permits.
Australia is a very stringent country on the movement of animals, plants, and their derivatives in and out of Australia. Quarantine touches every member of the Australian community either directly or indirectly. As a result, import and export permits may be a legal requirement in order to enable legitimate travel and trade both in and out of Australia.
An import license is not required as an importer; you may be, however, required to obtain certain permits or certificates for customs to clear your goods into Australia. Ensuring that you have the correct documentation, that the goods are correctly labeled, and that you are complying with Australian trade laws is critical.
Failure to ensure this can lead to penalties, some of them significant.
What do you need a permit for?
All permit requirements are based on commodities and what they are.
Rules written and enforced by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), which is part of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry, change quite often, usually in response to threats to the human, animal, environmental, and plant health status in Australia. As a result of this, it is your responsibility as the importer/exporter that you satisfy all of the relevant trade conditions, and you should work in close conjunction with your freight forwarder, and their customs broker, to ensure all regulations are met in full.
Specific authorisation exists for a variety of commodities. Types of permits to grant authorisation, and the corresponding commodities include:
- Transport Permits – For vehicles that are for the purpose of driving on roads
- Export Licensing – Dairy, meat, grain, fruit, vegetables, eggs, and any other consumable goods
- Fumigation certification – Goods containing wood
The purpose of these permits and various authorisations is to assist Australia and its government to track where goods are moving to and from Australia, which protects our population from harmful commodities.
Some prohibited goods may be prohibited entirely. These will require permission to be granted by an authorised person or body. A few examples of these include:
- Hazardous goods
- Drugs, medicines, and therapeutic substances
- Intellectual property and cultural items
The need for a permit/certificate or not will depend on what you are looking to import or export and its contents. If this is your first time importing or exporting goods, or you think that there have been any recent changes to an item that you have previously imported or exported, then you are best to speak to a licensed customs broker and they can advise you on whether your goods require documentation.
What are the consequences of importing goods without a permit?
If any imported or exported items or goods require a permit, and they have not acquired the correct documentation, you may be liable for additional costs such, as storage and associated costs and labour, whilst your request processes. This can take up to 20 days, and in some cases, much longer, and it can become a very costly exercise simply because you do not have the correct permits.
If your request is denied on an import, you may be required to export your goods out of Australia, and back to the country of origin, or have them destroyed, at your own expense.
How do you apply for a permit?
You first should determine whether a permit is required, and which type of permit or certification applies to your situation. Because the laws governing importing and exporting goods are complex, and mistakes associated can be costly, it’s always encouraged that you approach a licensed customs broker.
What is the first step?
At TFG Global, we have dedicated customs brokers that we work with to help importers and exporters navigate the various legal requirements involved in importing and exporting goods to and from Australia. We can even assist in customs issues in other countries, thanks to our global network go freight connections. This includes determining the commodity’s contents, whether a permit or certification is required, directing you to the authorising body to complete your application, and ensuring everything is handled correctly with your shipment. Contact us now to discuss your requirements further.
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For all your freight forwarding solutions, internationally and Australia-wide, you need TFG Global.Phone: 1300 (693 734) MY FREIGHT | +61 3 9090 7546