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Planning on moving to Australia? Find out what you’ll need to declare before entering the country.

As you would expect, moving overseas is a complicated process that requires more planning and preparation than simply moving to a new house. Each country has their own rules and regulations you need to abide by, and Australia has some of the strictest biosecurity laws in the world. Therefore, it’s important that you’re well versed in what you can and can’t bring into the country when you move. After all, there’s nothing worse than going to the effort of moving things overseas, only to find out you can’t bring it with you when it arrives at customs.

Overseas Packers and Shippers are an Australian international moving company that not only assist Australians moving to other countries, but international residents moving to Australia. One of our most commonly asked questions from international customers is “What do I need to declare before moving to Australia?” So we’ve provided a comprehensive list of what you need to declare before moving to Australia.


It’s important to first recognise the penalties you face if you fail to correctly declare prohibited or restricted items that you’re bringing into the country with you. These can range anywhere from being charged with on the spot fines of up $340 AUD, moving onto more serious consequences of $66,000 AUD fines with criminal prosecution, and worst, up to 10 years of imprisonment. These fines can be issued for either making a false declaration on your passenger card, failing to declare prohibited items or failing to dispose of prohibited items. Having a clear idea of the consequences will remind you how important it is to adhere to border security laws.


Declaring food can sometimes be confusing, with many food items falling into different categories. In Australia, most foods need to be declared. However, below is a list of specific foods that you must declare on your passenger card before entering the country.

  • Airline food and snacks
  • Instant noodles and rice
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Commercially prepared, raw and cooked food and ingredients
  • Snack foods
  • Herbal and traditional medicines, herbal teas, remedies and tonics
  • Packaged meals

Live Animal and Animal Products (excluding domestic pets)

Animal Products refer to any meat products or animal hide and should be declared in order to stop pests and diseases from entering the country. The following animal products must be declared on your passenger card:

  • Sausages, salami and sliced meats
  • Pet food- including raw hide chews and canned products
  • Meat: Fresh, frozen, dried, smoked, cooked, preserved- from all types of animals
  • Fish and other seafood products
  • Rawhide article sand handicrafts, including drums
  • All mammals including birds, birds’ eggs and nests, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects
  • Bones, horns, tusks, animal hair, wool and feathers
  • Shells and coral (including souvenirs and jewelry)
  • Skins, hides and fur
  • Stuffed animals and birds (must have a taxidermy certificate)
  • Used animal equipment including vetinary equipment and medicines, shearing or meat trade tools, saddlery and tack and animal or bird cages
  • Bee products including honey, beeswax and honeycomb

Dairy and Eggs

  • Dairy products, both fresh and powdered including milk, cheese and ‘non-diary’ (vegan) creamers
  • Egg products including fresh noodles and pasta
  • Infant formula (must have a child)
  • Whole, powdered and dried eggs and egg products such as mayonnaise
  • Commercially prepared and packaged cheeses originating from countries free from foot and mouth disease

Plant Materials

  • Dried herbs and leaves
  • Handicrafts including wreaths and Christmas decorations containing seeds, raw nuts, corn, pinecones, grapevines, bark, moss, straw or other plant material
  • Tea containing seeds, fruit skin (for example citrus and apple peel) and fruit pieces
  • Fresh or dried flower arrangements and potpourri
  • Remedies and medicines containing herbs, seeds, bark, fungi and dried plant material
  • Wooden items, such as carvings, souvenirs and other articles made using timber


  • Popping corn, birdseed, some commercially packaged seeds, cereal grains, raw nuts, pinecones and ornaments including seeds

Fresh fruit and vegetables

  • Fruit and vegetables must be accompanied by a valid import permit
  • All fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables

Other important items to declare

  • Used sporting and camping equipment including tents, footwear, hiking boots, golf equipment and bicycles (must be clean and free from soil contamination)
  • Craft and hobby lines made from animal or plant material
  • Biological specimens including tissue culture
  • Used freshwater watercraft or fishing equipment including rods and nets, waders, kayaks, paddles and life jackets

As Aussies ourselves, Overseas Packers and Shippers have firsthand knowledge of Australian quarantine and customs and can guide you through the process to ensure you are following correct protocol. To enquire about moving to Australia with us, contact one of our friendly team members on 1300 732 686 for a chat.