Australia's biosecurity and border controls
This page covers biosecurity processes and border controls that follow your arrival in Australia.
If you're looking for information on COVID-19 measures before you depart for Australia and on return to Australia, see our COVID-19: Returning to Australia page.
The Australian Border Force, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the Department of Health are working together to facilitate the movement of people and goods across our border to protect Australia's environment, economy, health and wellbeing, and our security.
To avoid issues, penalties and fines, and to reduce the risk of experiencing delays when you return to Australia, consider:
- the documents you need to pass through Australian immigration
- completing the Australia Travel Declaration
- any biosecurity restrictions and requirements
- any import requirements
Documents, passport and SmartGate
All travellers returning to Australia must have a:
- valid passport
- completed Incoming Passenger Card (IPC)
You can use SmartGate when arriving at Australian international airports if you:
- hold an Australian or New Zealand ePassport
- are aged 16 or older
All Australian passports are ePassports. An ePassport contains electronic information that helps to confirm your identity.
SmartGate uses ePassport data and facial recognition technology to let you go through passport control by yourself. It is quick and secure, meaning you may leave the airport faster.
Australia has strict biosecurity controls to help minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country.
All travellers must comply with the requirements before entering Australia, this is regulated by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture.
You must declare certain food, plant material and animal products on your Incoming Passenger Card (IPC). An IPC is a document that identifies and records a person's entry into Australia. It is where you declare goods for custom and quarantine inspection.
If you declare goods on your IPC, go to an inspection point on arrival. A biosecurity officer will assess them.
If you don't want to declare goods, dispose of them in the bins at the terminal before the inspection points.
You could be fined or prosecuted for carrying undeclared controlled goods.
Officers screen your luggage using:
- detector dogs
- x-ray machines
- baggage inspection
In many cases, they'll return your declared goods to you after inspection. Some items may need treatment to make them safe. Some items are not allowed into Australia because of the risk of pests and disease. Officers may seize these for export or destruction.
Before you travel, check if you can bring your items back into Australia.
Check detailed import conditions on the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) website.
Australian Border Force regulates which goods you can and can't bring in and whether you'll need a permit.
You must declare these restricted or prohibited items upon arriving in Australia:
- firearms, weapons and ammunition
- currency (A$10,000 or more, or foreign equivalent)
- agricultural and veterinary chemical products
- pornography and objectionable material
- heritage-listed goods, such as works of art, stamps, coins, archaeological objects and specimens
- defence and strategic goods
Medicines, drugs and herbal remedies
You need to declare all medicine including:
- prescription medications
- alternative and herbal medicines
- vitamins and mineral preparation formulas
- performance- and image-enhancing drugs
- veterinary medicines
Wildlife, plants and animals
Wildlife products need approval from Australian Border Force and the Department of Agriculture. Many also require permits from the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy.
'Wildlife' includes any whole, part or derivative of a plant or animal, living or non-living. Examples include:
- protected wildlife, such as coral, orchids, caviar and hunting trophies
- wood and seeds
- ivory and products made from ivory
- leather or fur
- traditional medicines containing animal organs, teeth or body parts
- live plants
- fresh or dried flowers
If you buy wildlife products overseas, find out if you need a permit. If you don't have the correct permit, authorities will seize your product. Penalties or fines may apply.
- Read the Department of Agriculture's advice on bringing items back to Australia
- See the Australian Border Force information guidance on returning to Australia through quarantine
- The Department of the Environment and Energy publishes information for travellers returning to Australia
- See the Therapeutic Goods Administration for information about bringing medicines and medical products into Australia
- The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority regulates what veterinary pharmaceuticals you can and can't bring in to Australia
Explore this page for information about how to find out if you need your document legalised and which documents we can legalise in Australia.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides notarial services overseas. We deliver these services through our embassies and consulates.