Definition of Personal Effects

Personal effects are household and personal items that you personally have owned while you resided overseas. You must be a citizen, temporary or permanent resident returning to take up residency in Australia, or an approved migrant coming to Australia to live. You must have personally owned and used the items overseas for a period of at least twelve months prior to entry into Australia. The 12-month ownership stipulation does not apply to personal clothing (except furs), footwear or grooming items (except perfumes).

The following items are NOT considered personal effects. They can still be imported but not under the personal effects provisions. These items may be subject to duty and GST on arrival in Australia.

  • Items you have received as a gift or bequest from overseas while you were resident in Australia.
  • Items you have purchased from overseas (eg internet purchases) while you were resident in Australia
  • Alcohol or Tobacco products. Note that the duty-free allowances for these products carried personally during international travel DO NOT apply to unaccompanied personal effects.
  • Vehicles (including cars, motorbikes, trailers, campervans, motorhomes, caravans, boat trailers) or parts thereof
  • Commercial Goods

Alcohol and tobacco products will always be taxed (and may also be subject to wine equalization tax) but other items with a customs value of less than $1000 may be duty-free under SAC rules. Contact us to discuss your personal circumstances and let us take all the hassle away.

Note that many items are subject to restrictions and you must have an import approval for them before they can be cleared. In particular, vehicles (which includes anything that can be driven, ridden or towed on a road) are restricted and must have advance approval. We advise you obtain the necessary approvals prior to shipping. See our information on restricted goods, common pitfalls or contact us for advice.

Prohibited items may not be imported into Australia under any circumstances. In addition there are many restricted items that have specified limitations or approval requirements for import.

Personal Effects