Importing Animals

Goods, including animals, are considered to have been imported into Australia if purchased, ordered or otherwise arranged to be brought or sent to Australia from overseas.

Before importing an animal:

  • contact the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Agriculture) to ensure the importation meets the conditions regarding species, country of origin and other biosecurity requirements including pre-export preparation
  • ensure you can meet all relevant laws to keep the animal legally in your state or territory.

Comprehensive step-by-step information can be found at Importing live animals and reproductive material on the Agriculture website.

Permit requirements

In most cases, you will need an import permit from Agriculture, before pets and all other animals are exported from their country of origin. The import permit and quarantine requirements depend on the animal’s country of origin.

It is the importer’s responsibility to obtain the required permit.

If you are importing an animal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) or Part 2 of the List of Specimens Taken to be Suitable for Live Import you might also need a permit from the Department of the Environment and Energy (Environment).

Dangerous breeds of dogs

The following breeds of dogs are prohibited from import into Australia under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956:

  • dogo Argentino
  • fila Brasileiro
  • Japanese tosa
  • American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier
  • Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario.

Pets

Imported pets are domesticated animals that you have owned and cared for overseas prior to your arrival in Australia. Animals used for breeding purposes, sale or competition can’t be treated as pets.

Currently, the only animals that can be imported into Australia as pets are:

  • birds – selected species from New Zealand only
  • cats – from approved countries only
  • dogs – from approved countries only
  • horses – from approved countries only
  • rabbits – from New Zealand only.

If your pet arrives in Australia, as or with your unaccompanied personal effects (UPE), it will be cleared as your UPE and no import declaration is required.

Animals purchased overseas from Australia and sent to you in Australia and animals that will be used for breeding or competition are considered commercial animals.

Commercial animals

All animals, including cats and dogs, which are imported for breeding, sale, racing and/or competition, are considered commercial animals.

Depending on the value of the animal you must arrange for the lodgement of a Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC) Declaration or an Import Declaration must be lodged to clear it from customs control. This should be done before the animal arrives in Australia.

You may need to provide all commercial documents associated with the purchase of the animal, including proof of the amount paid.

Clearance of animals

The welfare of the arriving animal is a high priority for us and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

It is an Agriculture requirement that the clearance of live animals be conducted at the first port of arrival in Australia, regardless of the final destination of the animal.

After Agriculture’s requirements are met, we will facilitate clearance.

Owners or importers must contact both Agriculture and us to organise clearance.

To clear animals, the owner or importer must present commercial documentation that sufficiently identifies the importer, the animal, and the arrival details.

Import declaration

An Import Declaration is required if the value of the animal(s) exceeds AUD1000 and is not considered a pet arriving as a UPE.

Duty, taxes and other charges might also be payable, regardless of whether the animal is to become a pet or is a commercial animal.

Your declaration should be made before the animal arrives in Australia to minimise any delays in clearance.

For more information see:
Declarations for imported goods.

Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC) Declaration

A SAC Declaration is required if the value of the animal(s) is at or below AUD 1000.

No duty or GST is payable.

Your declaration should be made before the animal arrives in Australia to minimise any delays in clearance.

For more information see:
Declarations for imported goods.

Accuracy of information

As an importer, you are responsible for the accuracy of information provided to us, even if you use a customs broker, freight forwarder or service provider to prepare your documents.

For your own protection, check all documents for accuracy, advise your agent of any errors, and retain copies of all documents supplied to us for five years.

Further information

For further information on whether your animal can be imported, permits and quarantine requirements please visit the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources or the Department of the Environment website.

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