Temporary importations

​Temporary importations are goods that might be brought into Australia on a temporary basis for a period of up to 12 months without the payment of duty or taxes. 

Goods that qualify as temporary imports might also be imported under carnet, where a security is lodged with a carnet issuing body overseas, or under security, where a security is lodged with us at the time of import. The nature of the goods, what they will be used for while they are in Australia and who is importing the goods will determine whether or not the goods will qualify.

Conditions

The most important condition is that you export the goods within the time limits approved. If you do not you will have to pay an amount equal to the duty and taxes that would have been payable if the goods had not been treated as temporary imports.

More information

More information about temporary imports can be found in the Temporary Imports Fact Sheet and our Frequently asked questions on temporary importation of goods.  

Carnets

A carnet is an international 'passport for goods' under which the payment of duties and taxes is guaranteed by an overseas issuing body.  These bodies are typically automobile associations (for private motor vehicles under Carnet de Passages en Douane (CPD) carnets or chambers of commerce (for general goods under Admission Temporaire/ Temporary Admission (ATA) carnets).  The bodies must be members of the Federations Internationale d'Automobile/Alliance Internationale de Tourism (FIA/AIT) or World Chambers Federation (WCF).

Carnet goods must be eligible under one of the international temporary import conventions to which Australia is a signatory. 

There are two types of carnets:

  • CPD carnet - covers private touring vehicles
  • ATA carnet - covers goods such as commercial samples, professional equipment, scientific equipment and goods for display or use at events, fairs and exhibitions. 

The use of a carnet to cover the temporary importation of goods considerably simplifies and speeds up the clearance process.

The carnet must be obtained before coming to Australia. When the goods arrive in Australia, the carnet holder will need to present the carnet to us for processing. 

There are two methods for clearing a carnet with us:

  •  physically presenting the carnet at a Client Services counter for processing
  • providing the required documentation via email to receive a pre-arrival clearance for that consignment.

Further information can be found in Fact Sheet - Import Carnet Processing for Industry (117KB PDF)

The carnet must also be produced to us when exporting the goods.  We will often examine goods on both import and export and therefore we must be contacted at importation and before arranging exportation from Australia.  Any permits that would normally be required for these goods must also be obtained, with the exception of a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA).  These are issued by the  Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development and are otherwise required for all imported vehicles.

If a carnet is not appropriate to your circumstances or you do not qualify for these provisions, then temporary importation under a security might be another option.

General information about CPD and ATA carnets can be obtained from the following fact sheets:

Temporarily Exporting Australian Goods

Carnets can also be used to export eligible Australian goods. Enquiries regarding the temporary export of eligible Australian goods should be made to the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) or one of their state representatives (NRMA, RACV, etc.) for private motor vehicles or to the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for other goods.

Returned Australian Goods

For goods that leave Australia under an Australian issued carnet, we might require export declarations as for other exported goods. When those goods return to Australia, we might require import declarations.

Securities

Securities can also be used for the temporary importation of goods.  A risk based revenue threshold applies to the security or undertaking that might be required. For more information, see Australian Customs Cargo Advice 2012/01.

Goods subject to security that are above the revenue threshold amount will require a documentary security application. One of our officers with the appropriate delegation will decide if the intended use and ownership of the goods satisfies the temporary import requirements. When lodging a security, we might accept an undertaking from a suitable Australian client, usually the importer. In some circumstances, a security in the form of cash or a bank guarantee might be required. The security is an amount equal to the duty and taxes that would have been payable at the time of importation.

Goods that can be imported under security include any goods that might be accepted under carnet, goods owned by tourists or temporary residents, or goods that are coming to Australia to be tested and evaluated or to be used in testing and evaluation.

If a security or undertaking is required, there are different application forms to be completed depending on the relevant legislation.

For eligible goods temporarily imported under Section 162 of the Customs Act 1901: 

For eligible goods temporarily imported under Section 162A of the Customs Act 1901: 

Another provision for the temporary import of goods exists for goods that are brought into Australia for repair or alteration and are to be exported, under security. 

For entry under any of these types of securities, copies of normal commercial import documents such as invoices, packing lists, bills of lading or air waybills, quarantine certificates and other documents that verify eligibility should be lodged with the application.  Any permits that would normally be required for these goods must also be obtained.  If your goods qualify and if an acceptable security or undertaking has been given to us, we will grant permission for the goods to be delivered. You will also need to lodge an import declaration for the goods.

To discuss eligibility for entry under security you can contact us.

You must also contact us before arranging export of the goods in order to verify export and acquit the security.

Extensions

Initial approval for a temporary import can only be granted for a maximum of 12 months and in the case of a carnet no later than the carnet expiry date.  Applications might be made to extend this period but any extensions must be approved before the expiry of the original approval.

In the case of a security, the Form B257 - Application for Extension of Period of Temporary Importation (762KB PDF) should be sent to National Temporary Imports and Securities (NTIS) at NTIS@border.gov.au

For a carnet, approval is required from:

  • NTIS
  • The Australian guaranteeing body (Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry or AAA)
  • The carnet issuing body overseas.

Applications for carnet extensions (including replacement carnets) need to be made to the Australian guaranteeing body on the Form B257 and they will forward their approval to NTIS for consideration. Approval must be obtained from NTIS before expiry of the original carnet. If a replacement carnet has been received from the issuing body you need to present both the original and replacement carnets to one of our Client Services counters. 

In the case of an extension to a CPD carnet, when the details of the extension have been completed by the guaranteeing body it then needs to be endorsed by one of our officers at a Client Services counter. An extension or a replacement carnet is not valid until it has been endorsed by us at a Client Services counter.

Non-compliance with conditions of temporary import

If the conditions of the temporary importation are not complied with, for example if the goods are not exported within the approved timeframes or are to remain in Australia permanently, then the total amount of the duty and taxes that would have been payable at the time of importation must be paid.

  • If your security is held by us as cash, then this amount will be used to pay your debt.
  • If the security is a bank guarantee or an undertaking, then an invoice will be issued for the amount due.
  • In the case of goods imported under carnet, the carnet holder or their representative might approach us and ask for an invoice to be issued. Once paid, the carnet can be acquitted. 

A claim against a carnet will be lodged by us:

  • if payment is not volunteered to us
  • no evidence is given to us showing that the goods have been exported within the approved time
  • proper discharge of the carnet has not occurred. 

This claim is lodged on the relevant Australian carnet guaranteeing body who in turn will claim from the overseas body who issued the carnet. Ultimately the carnet holder will pay.

More information