Import license, procedure and cost- Here’s all you need to know about imports in Australia

The Australian Government prohibits the import of certain goods. These goods can be imported only after written permission from the government is granted.

Import & Export
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2
 Min read
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July 5, 2022

Australia is globally known to have strong trade ties and its location has allowed it to be a major supplier to markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Just like the United States and the United Kingdom, the Australian government does not require an import license for a majority of products barring a few prohibited goods.

What is an import license?

An import license is a permit that allows an individual or a company to import certain kinds of products into the country’s borders. In Australia, most imported goods do not require any kind of permit or license, however, certain goods do require a license. Such permits are granted by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. It’s managed through the Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) system.

What items require an import permit?

The Australian Government prohibits the import of certain goods. These goods can be imported only after written permission from the government is granted. However, some goods are under absolute prohibition, where you are not allowed to import or export the goods in any circumstance. Here are a few examples of restricted goods and the full list can be found on the Australia government’s website:

- Medicines and pharmaceutical drugs

- Steroids

- Weapons and firearms

- Heritage items

- Food

- Plants

- Animals (including pets and protected species)

- Chemical weapons

There are a few restrictions on the import of tobacco products and importers are required to have permission to import them. All duties and tax liabilities must be paid when tobacco arrives at the border.  This includes cigarettes, molasses tobacco, heat-not-burn products and loose-leaf tobacco. To know all about tobacco import check the government’s website.

How to get an import permit?

If the goods you are importing require a permit you will need it before the shipment arrives in Australia. Follow these steps to obtain an import permit:

1. Start by registering for a BICON online account.

2. You can apply for the permit through the portal by following the prompts.

3. Under the Biosecurity Act 2015 and Biosecurity Regulation 2016, the department has up to 123 business days (6 months) to process your application.

What is the cost of getting an import license?

As you apply for a BICON license there's an application levy of $120 as well as an initial assessment fee. However, the initial assessment fee is based on the category of goods you want to import. You can see the expanded list of categories here.

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