Importing weapons - Specified person test

The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Regulations) provide a list of goods that are controlled on importation into Australia.

To import certain weapons into Australia, prior written permission from the Minister, or an authorised officer, is required. Applications for permission to import will only be considered when the weapons being imported comply with a legislated test.

One of the tests applicable to certain weapons is the specified person test. This test is applicable for specific goods being imported for specific reasons for use in the importer’s employment or for legitimate purposes, such as display, testing, re-sale to licenced entities.

Goods applicable to the test

The specified person test is applicable to the following items listed within Schedule 13 of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956:

  • body armour or any other similar article, designed for anti-ballistic or anti-fragmentation purposes able to be worn on any part of the body
    Note: Helmets and anti-ballistic articles for hearing and eye protection and vest or plate carriers with no anti-ballistic or anti-fragmentation protection are not controlled.
  • extendable or telescopic batons, designed or adapted so that the length of the baton extends by inertia, gravity, centrifugal force or pressure applied to a button, spring or device in or attached to the handle or baton; and their parts
  • Anti-personnel sprays and chemicals for use in the manufacture of anti-personnel sprays; grenades or canisters, designed for use with anti-personnel sprays or anti-personnel chemicals
  • laser pointer, a hand-held good, commonly known as a laser pointer, designed or adapted to emit a laser beam with an accessible emission level of greater than 1 mW.
    Note: Sights for firearms and other goods that produce a continuous visible or infrared beam are exempt from meeting the definition of a laser pointer and do not require import permission.

How to apply

All applications must be made in writing using a B710 Form — Application for Permission to Import Schedule 13 Weapons (443KB PDF). Standard permits are valid for six (6) months from the date of signature and for one (1) importation only.

Applications must be made prior to the importation of the goods. The assessment process takes approximately four (4) weeks from receipt by the processing office and may be extended if additional information is required or the application is considered incomplete.

You must also provide supporting documents with your application to demonstrate that the importation satisfies the specified person test.

Lodgement of an application does not guarantee permission to import will be granted and goods should not be forwarded to Australia until notified of the approval in writing. Goods that are imported without a valid permit may be subject to seizure, disposal and/or prosecution.

Required supporting documents / import conditions

You must provide the following supporting documents with your application:

  • A copy of a licence or authorisation that demonstrates the importer is authorised to possess, use and/or deal in the goods for the importer’s intended use in accordance with the law of the State or Territory in which the goods are to be used if required
  • If the goods are body armour or laser pointer for use in the importer's employment - a letter of appointment or other document from the employer confirming the goods are for use in the importers employment
  • If the goods are extendable batons (or their parts) for use in the importer's employment as a security guard -  a copy of the importer's current security licence and a letter of appointment or other document from the employer confirming the goods are for use in the importers employment
  • If the goods are body armour, extendable batons or parts or laser pointers are for legitimate purposes - a letter advising what the goods will be used for and any other relevant supporting documents
  • If the goods are anti-personnel sprays or chemicals – evidence that the person importing the goods has entered into a contract for the use of the good with the governments of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory and that the contract is in force.

Applications submitted without all required supporting documents will not be processed.

Assessment

We might investigate the importers history as part of the application process. Previous instances of non-compliance with our requirements might result in permission to import or ongoing permission to import being refused.

The information provided in your application will be verified with the appropriate end user and any inconsistencies identified may be subject to investigation and subsequent legal action. Making a false or misleading statement to our officer is an offence under Section 234(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1901.

Ongoing permits

Regular and high volume commercial importers of goods for re-sale to government and law enforcement officials, may request ongoing permission to import to allow the use of one permit for multiple importations for a specified period. 

A supporting letter indicating the reason for requiring an ongoing permission is required to be submitted with an application in addition to the supporting documents listed in this fact sheet.

Ongoing permits may have additional conditions listed within, such as quarterly or ad hoc reporting requirements.