Sending your belongings as unaccompanied goods

Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPEs) include your household and personal items that you are importing into Australia but that arrive separately to you.

UPEs may arrive in Australia by air, sea cargo or by international mail (post).

Typically, UPEs include clothing and footwear, personal hygiene and grooming items, furniture, appliances, sporting equipment and books.

The following items are not UPEs:

If you are eligible for a concession, your UPEs may be cleared from customs control without requiring you to pay customs duty, goods and services tax (GST) or other taxes and charges.

An Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement (B534 Form), rather than an Import Declaration, is generally used to clear UPEs from customs control. See information below on clearing personal effects.

Concessions

You may not have to pay customs duty and GST if you meet certain eligibility requirements.

To be eligible for the UPE concession you must have arrived on a ship or aircraft from a place outside Australia, meet permanent residency requirements and the goods must be:

  • your personal property
  • suitable and intended for use by you in Australia
  • personally owned and used overseas by you for a specified length of time. Generally, this is 12 months prior to your departure for Australia.

You will not receive a concession for:

  • motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts
  • tobacco and tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, or other products containing tobacco)
  • alcoholic beverages.

Note: The duty free concessions that apply to alcoholic beverages and tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars or other products containing tobacco) that are carried with you when you arrive in Australia do not apply to UPEs. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products that arrive in Australia as UPEs, will be assessed for duty, GST and/or wine equalisation tax.

Clearing personal effects

To clear your UPEs, you must complete and lodge an Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement (B534 Form). This statement is a legal declaration made to both the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Agriculture).

The Unaccompanied Personal Effects statement (B534 Form) is available in English and 11 other languages but must be completed in English.

There are two ways you can lodge an Unaccompanied Personal Effects statement.

Option 1 - In person at one of our offices

To lodge the statement in person at a Department of Immigration and Border Protection counter you will be required to undergo an Evidence of Identity (EOI) check.

In addition to the documents required for the EOI check, you will need to bring the following with you:

  • a completed and signed Unaccompanied Personal Effects statement
  • any permits for the goods
  • a delivery order from the shipper, or other shipping document that identifies the owner and shows the address of the owner of the UPEs
  • a list of all the goods included in the UPEs such as a packing list
  • any receipts or evidence of the value of goods owned for less than 12 months (if applicable).

If you are unable to lodge the form yourself, you can arrange for a representative such as a friend or relative to lodge the form on your behalf. Your representative will also need to provide a copy of their passport photo page that shows their signature.

The Department may ask for further information to assist in the UPEs clearance process.

Option 2 - Lodging electronically via the Integrated Cargo System (ICS)

If you are using a customs broker or other service provider, they may lodge the Unaccompanied Personal Effects statement on your behalf through the Department’s Integrated Cargo System. All the documents listed above will still be required and further information may be requested but you won’t need to attend a departmental counter.

Your customs broker or other service provider will be able to advise you on any fees that may be applicable.

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

All consignments of UPEs will be subject to some form of biosecurity inspection, conducted by Agriculture, before the goods will be released to you.

Agriculture has information on their website about importing personal effects/household goods including tips for cleaning your goods before you pack them and Agriculture’s fees and charges. There is information is available on their webpage: Moving to Australia or importing personal effects/household goods.

Further information

For further information please refer to the fact sheet Sending Your Personal Belongings to Australia as Cargo or by International Mail.