Travelling with or sending firearms through Australia

The movement of firearms and related goods through Australia is subject to the Customs Act 1901 (the Act). The requirements that must be met will vary depending on how you are travelling through Australia.  

Firearms and related goods that are brought into and out of Australia undisturbed on a single conveyance, such as on board non-Australian registered craft on international voyages travelling through Australia for cruising or recreational purposes, are transiting for the purposes of the Act.

Firearms and related goods that brought into Australia and have been or will be transferred from one conveyance to another for the purposes of export to another country, such as persons travelling to another country and changing flights at an Australian international airport, and sending goods through Australia via air and sea cargo, are transhipping for the purposes of the Act.

Transiting firearms

Firearms and related goods that are transiting through Australia are subject to special provisions related to prohibited items under Part XIIA of the Act. In these circumstances, the firearms and related goods must be securely stored in an approved place while the craft is in Australia.

Note: This arrangement precludes the need to obtain import and export permission for these goods.

We will either:

  • approve the storage of the goods on board the vessel where certain strict requirements are met (for example, locked in a secure firearm safe with limited access and sealed by DIBP), or
  • take the goods into our custody.

On departure, we will either confirm that all goods remain secured on board the vessel and remove any DIBP seals, or return the goods from our custody.

These provisions in the Act do not apply to:

  • Australian registered craft, or
  • where the craft is taken to have been imported by us under subsection 49A(7) of the Act.

Transhipping firearms

Firearms and related goods that are being transhipped through Australia in order to be moved elsewhere are considered to be imported and exported goods, and are therefore subject to the requirements under both the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 and the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958.

To meet those requirements the following must occur:

  • the goods must only be imported for the purposes of transhipment
  • permission to export in the form if a Defence Export Permit (DEP) must be granted
  • the goods must remain under the effective control of DIBP while in Australia.

Obtaining defence export permission

To receive permission to export for the purposes of transhipment, the following three (3) steps must be completed:

Step 1

Register as a client with us using a Form B319 - Registering as a client in the Integrated Cargo System (473KB PDF) and receive a Customs Client Identification Number (CCID). The form can be submitted to the nearest Department's Client Services Counter.

This step is not necessary if you have already applied for and received a CCID number.

Step 2

Apply for a Defence Export Permit (DEP) with the Defence Export Control Office (DECO) at the Department of Defence.

To apply for a Defence Export Permit you will need to complete two main steps:

  • Register as a client with the Department of Defence (DoD) on the DECO website
    • In completing this form you should provide either an Australian Business Number (ABN) or a Customs Client Identification Number (CCID) which you would have received in step 1.
    • On completion of this form, DECO will provide you with a Defence Client Registration Number (DCRN) which should be used when completing the Application to Export Controlled Goods and Technology form.
  • Apply for Permission to Export Controlled Goods and Technology on the DECO website.

Both the forms are available at Defence Export Control Office website.

Step 3

Lodge an Export Declaration using the Form B957 - Export Declaration (355KB PDF) and submit it to the nearest Department's client service counter.

See Completing export declarations (617KB PDF) if you need help in filling the form.

If you arrive in Australia without this documentation you might be able to apply for a Restricted Goods Permit (RGP) with us when travelling with certain low risk firearms. However as an Restricted Goods Permit can only be granted by us under limited criteria, the short timeframes between flights, and applications might take up to two hours to process, it is strongly advised that you receive a Defence Export Permit prior to your arrival into Australia to avoid any seizure or delays.

For more information regarding the Restricted Goods Permit criteria, see Defence export control office website.

Defence export control office

Contact Defence export control office for more information.
1800 661 066 (inside Australia)
+61 2 626 67222 (from outside Australia)


The maximum penalty for the transhipment of these goods without the relevant permission is a penalty not exceeding $450,000, imprisonment for 10 years, or both.