Australia has some of the strictest quarantine regulations in the world under the administration of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS). If your shipment contains any material of plant or animal origin, or items used in conjunction with animal or plant origin, or anything that might be contaminated with soil (garden tools, pet equipment etc), you can expect to come to the attention of AQIS officers.

AQIS will not permit the importation of the following items as personal effects:

  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • live plants and bulbs
  • prohibited and restricted seeds
  • unidentified seeds, which can include some foods, including spices
  • live animals (including pets) that require an import permit
  • biological products including some plant based, herbal medications
  • unprocessed goods of plant or animal origin
  • soiled items, or items containing organic residues
  • items knowingly infested with pests or a disease.

If you wish to intentionally import an item of quarantine interest as cargo you should check the AQIS ICON database (http://www.daff.gov.au/aqis/import/icon-icd) which lists just about every conceivable import and the regulations that pertain.

Most quarantine breaches are inadvertent – dirt in boots, garden tools or tyre treads, pot pouri in air fresheners, photo frames made with banana leaves, necklaces made of shells, plant or animal origin. Once an item that breaches quarantine rules arrives in Australia there are only three options. The item can be treated in some way to make it compliant, it can be exported out of Australia or it can be destroyed by AQIS. Whichever option is chosen it will be at your expense and you can end up paying much more than the object is worth.

Personal Effects