Import from the US

5 Things to Remember When Importing Goods from the US to Australia

Australia imported nearly $50 billion USD worth of goods in 2012 from the United States.

That’s a lot of stuff.

Whether for personal or commercial purposes, importing goods from the United States to Australia doesn’t have to be a stress-laden affair. By taking the proper precautions and following a few, well-established guidelines, you can have a relatively easy experiencing bring in freight from the USA.

Here are the 5 things to remember when importing goods from the US to Australia…

Rule 1: Make sure your goods aren’t prohibited or banned

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has a number of items listed on its prohibited and restricted import list, including viable materials, tobacco products and antibiotics. Special permits are available from Australian customs, but need to be applied for and received prior to delivery to avoid seizure. For the complete list, click here or contact the Service at 1300 363 263.

Rule 2: Know the value of your shipment

Any shipments entering Australia with a value exceeding $1,000 AUD must be declared on an Import Declaration form so that duty, GST and other taxes/fees can be paid. Failure to properly declare the value will result in delayed delivery or possible seizure by the Crown. If the value is less than $1000 AUD, the shipment will not require a permit or approval (tobacco and alcohol products notwithstanding).

Rule 3: Possess evidence of identity

If lodging an import declaration ensure you or your shipping contractor have the necessary identification to clear Customs and Border Protection. The importer will “need to provide 100 points of identification [for every presentation of] import declaration documents to a Customs and Border Protection counter.” Different documents have different values so examine the full range of points here.

Rule 4: Don’t forget quarantine

Last year, the Aussie Department of Agriculture officers intercepted nearly 500,000 inbound shipments because of potential biological risk. Fruits, vegetables and organic material in-general are a “no-no” without proper permission and documentation. Even when approvals for such items are granted, they may have to sit in quarantine for weeks at a time after their arrival in Australia, so be prepared to wait.

Rule 5: Don’t cheat the system

The final and most important rule about importing goods to Australia from the United States is this: don’t try and cheat the system. Follow the proper procedures required by the Border and Customs Service to avoid the loss of your shipment as well as potential fines or imprisonment. If the proposition of paperwork seems too daunting, hire a private courier service to handle your importing needs.


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