Acquired Experience for Nominee customs broker licence application

This advice for applicants and referees provides guidance on how an applicant for a nominee customs broker licence can demonstrate the "acquired experience" to be a customs broker.


Applicants must demonstrate that they have acquired experience to be a customs broker through broker like experience gained in the workplace.

Acquired experience will be assessed with regard to the length and nature of the applicant’s employment experience and to referees’ statements.

Applicants should provide a detailed statement that sets out:

  • names and address of each employer for whom they have performed duties that they believe are relevant to those of a customs broker
  • periods during which they were employed by each employer
  • names and contact details of the person or persons who supervised them in each period of employment
  • a description of the range, period and extent of duties undertaken in all the employment.

Applicants should give particular attention to explaining any relevant experience undertaking or assisting in the following matters, include examples:

  • taking instructions from, and giving advice to, importer clients
  • classifying goods in accordance with the Third Schedule of the Customs Tariff Act, noting in particular the main categories of goods they have classified
  • valuation of goods for Customs and related purposes
  • using the Integrated Cargo System (ICS) either by direct access or through industry specific proprietary software;
  • using software such as INBOUND or EDI Tariff
  • using industry specific proprietary software to register shipments and then prepare import declarations for lodgement by a licensed Customs Broker
  • applying for a Tariff Advice
  • application of Free Trade Agreements, Tariff Concessions, Bylaws etc
  • preparation of Duty Drawbacks and Refund applications
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) biosecurity compliance and procedures
  • dealing with shipping lines, airlines, freight forwarders, transport companies and depots
  • handling temporary importations
  • interaction with the Australian Border Force.

In detailing examples of the above, show the extent of your experience and the depth of responsibility involved.

The most important element of demonstrating acquired experience is the applicant’s employment history, as detailed in the documentation supporting their application.

The national exam

While successfully completing a national examination can be an additional element in demonstrating acquired experience, it is not a mandatory requirement nor is it sufficient by itself.

A number of organisations may conduct an examination that assists applicants who have completed (or been exempted from) the approved course of study in demonstrating that they have the knowledge required of a customs broker. The Comptroller-General of Customs may take into account the successful completion of such an examination when assessing whether an applicant has acquired experience that fits them to be a customs broker. The weight afforded to successful completion of any particular examination will depend upon a number of factors, including:

  • how well it is perceived to test practical experience and not simply academic knowledge
  • the breadth of practical issues that it tests and the depth of experience that it requires to resolve this issue
  • the rigour with which the examination is conducted.

Selecting a referee

In selecting persons who may act as referees in support of their claims to have the requisite degree of acquired experience, wherever possible an applicant should seek to obtain references from persons who are themselves customs brokers and who have directly supervised them in their performance of duties relevant to the functions of a customs broker.

Applicants should provide a copy of these guidelines to their selected referees to assist them in preparing their references, along with the referee guidelines for nominee customs broker licence applications

Applicants and Referees

Applicants and referees are reminded that, under section 136.1 of the Schedule to the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), it is an offence punishable by imprisonment for up to 12 months to knowingly make a statement in connection with a licence application that is false or misleading (or that omits a matter without which the statement is misleading). Additionally, it is an offence punishable by imprisonment for up to 6 months to make a statement in connection with a licence application recklessly as to whether or not it is false or misleading or omits a matter that renders it misleading.