Bureaus can send electronic messages to the Department on behalf of their clients, provided appropriate authority to act on behalf of that client has been given.

Using a bureau for import declaration transactions

Import declarations will only be accepted by the Department where the digital certificate signing the declaration is that of the importer or a licensed brokerage. If a bureau is being used to transmit an import declaration then the message must have been signed by the importers/brokerages certificate either from:

  • the importers/brokerages computer (server) using a Type 3 (Device) certificate, or
  • the bureaus computer (server) that hosts the client's certificate and private keys, using a Type 3 Host (Device) certificate.

Only certain bureaus may transmit import declarations to the Department on behalf of clients through hosting their client's Type 3 Host (Device) digital certificates. In accordance with an agreement between Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), VeriSign and the Department these bureaus must have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Department. The MOU describes a range of high-level security obligations, record retention obligations, and certificate registration requirements.

A bureau can only transmit import declarations on behalf of their clients from the bureaus computer (server) if they are hosting their clients Type 3 Host (Device) certificate. This includes hosting the private key of their client's Type 3 Host (Device) certificate. This will allow electronic messaging between the bureau and Customs using the Integrated Cargo System (ICS). The certificate is owned by the client but is hosted by the bureau.

Host Bureaus

Currently, the only bureau that has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Department to host Type 3 Host (Device) certificates is Tradegate. 

Tradegate is a neutral, not-for-profit, non-government organisation, established to improve the efficiency of exports and imports moving across Australia's border through the implementation of electronic commerce. Tradegate supplies electronic commerce services to exporters, importers, customs brokers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, stevedores, depots, airlines, express couriers, and port authorities.

Clients currently issued with an AAPT Type 3 Host (Device) certificate should continue to use their certificate until it expires. Once an AAPT certificate has expired, clients will need to apply for a new Type 3 Host (Device) certificate through Tradegate.

For more information on Tradegate's Type 3 Host services, click visit the Tradegate website.

Alternatively phone 1300 552 393 or email tradegate@tradegate.org.au

Steps for lodging import declarations through a bureau

There are various steps that must be completed before a client can lodge import declarations with the Department through a bureau.

A prerequisite to purchasing a Type 3 Host (Device) certificate the client must have already purchased an ABN DSC (AO) and registered with the Department.

The next step is to select a bureau, phone them directly and reach agreement to employ its services. The host will assist its client through the rest of the process, which will include:

  • completing a subscriber agreement with VeriSign
  • purchasing a Type 3 Host (Device) certificate.

The bureau must register their clients Type 3 Host (Device) certificate with the Department.