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If you’re moving to Australia, there are border controls and restrictions on your personal belongings. When you arrive, what do you have to declare to Australian customs?

Much like New Zealand, Australia has a unique environment that must be protected. The accidental arrival of a bug, mite or insect could have massive ramifications for Australia. This is why they protect their borders – to keep their biosecurity.


There are some food items you can bring into Australia, and some you can’t. Any fresh fruits or vegetables, homemade food or food from the airplane is strictly forbidden. Simply do not bring it into the country- there are bins you can dispose of food before you reach customs, in case of errant forgotten bananas.

Some foods you can bring, but you have to declare them. Meat items, honey products and tea all must be declared. There are restrictions on these items so you need to ensure those are met.

However, there are no limits on things like coffee, chocolates, sweets and other wrapped pre-packed foods.

auckland fruit fly scare


Weapons are, unsurprisingly, not allowed. This includes pepper spray and any number of other weapons.

Laser pointers, slingshots, multi-tool knives, katanas and swords are deemed to be weapons and need to be declared.

Duty free

As with every other country, Australia have limits on how much duty-free goods can be brought into the country. For an adult, this is 2.25L of alcohol, and 25 cigarettes or 25g of tobacco.

You are also allowed to bring in personal items such as clothing, footwear, laptop and electronics provided they have been purchased and used by you for twelve months, and only imported temporarily.


Many people moving across the ditch want to take their pets with them. Luckily, most domestic animals are allowed from New Zealand- including cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and some species of birds. If you do intend to bring your pet into Australia, you need to make sure you are allowed and the restrictions and processes around that.

Unaccompanied personal effects

If you are permanently relocating to Australia, you will likely be shipping your household and personal items over- not everything will fit in your luggage. In this case, you will likely be required to fill out an Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement Form. There may be a UPE concession that means you don’t have to pay customs duty or GST on these goods. To meet the requirements for customs waiver, the goods must be your own personal property which you have owned for at least 12 months already and be intended for your use in Australia.

Submit your UPE form, either in person or online. You’ll need relevant permits, the delivery order from the shipper, a list of the goods being shipped, and receipts of any goods owned for less than 12 months.

All UPEs will be subject to a biosecurity check carried out by the Department of Agriculture. This is to ensure there are no hazardous biosecurity risks, such as soil, insects or water. Make sure you clean all your personal effects thoroughly before shipping. There is a good description of what they require on the Agriculture Department website.

Motor vehicles, parts for vehicles, commercial goods and bequeathed goods are not considered to be unaccompanied personal effects.


It is likely that if you ship your car to Australia, there will be duty and/ or GST payable on it. The amount is dependent on age, type and destination of the vehicle. In general, vehicles less than 30 years old will have 5% import duty and 10% GST. Cars older than 30 years are only charged 10% GST, and no duty. Luxury cars (with a value of more than AU$57,180) also attract a 33% tax.

To ship your car, you’ll need to fill out a Vehicle Import Approval form and follow that process through. You will also need to ensure the vehicle is cleaned thoroughly so that no dirt or biological material is attached.

Other items

Prescription medication must be declared. While most legal, prescribed drugs are allowed in, steroids of any form are not allowed or require special permission. If you are prescribed steroids, declare them and have a note from your doctor to confirm their validity.

Live plants are not allowed, but some seeds are. Declare it.

Cash is allowed, up to a limit. For adults, AU$900 is the limit, and kids are allowed AU$450 each. Allowances can be pooled if you are travelling as a family, but this means you must stay together when going through customs.

Commercial goods and samples are allowed but permits may have to be obtained.

Fines and penalties

There are a range of punishments and fines if customs guidelines aren’t followed.

Duty free: Exceeding the duty free limits will incur duty and tax on all items. Travel with proof of purchase so that extra fees and duty can be calculated correctly.

Failure to declare goods that are over limits may result in penalties, prosecution or visa cancellation. Generally, the more excess you have, the more severe the punishment.

If you ship goods over that require extra cleaning or fumigating as deemed by the agriculture department, then you will be charged for this service. You can also be liable for penalties and fines if processes aren’t followed.

Follow the guidelines and have a hassle-free experience

It’s not tricky, but it can be overwhelming. If you’re unsure on anything, contact Ausmove to discuss the best options for you- they are expert at navigating the process.

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Unlike many other movers, we will provide you with a fixed quote based on your specific list of items.

Should you wish to add or remove any items, we will adjust our fixed quote accordingly. Hence, no nasty surprises at the end of the move process.

Our Service Promise:

Our Service Promise:

  • We will listen to your individual needs and requirements.
  • We will provide a prompt, competitive quote with in one working day.
  • We will provide you with the highest level of service.
Free In-Home Consultation:

Free In-Home Consultation:

If you are moving the majority of your household items from New Zealand to Australia, one of Ausmoves experienced relocation consultants will visit your home to establish your specific packing requirements and any unique moving needs. Learn more about moving to Australia from NZ.

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