Guidelines for completing sole trader customs broker licence application

These guidelines are designed to assist people who wish to apply for a sole trader customs broker licence issued under the Customs Act 1901 (Cth) (the Act).

Under the Act, customs broker licences can only be issued to natural people, companies or partnerships.  A licence cannot be issued to other forms of entity, such as a trust.

Check that you are applying for the correct licence type

If you are a natural person and wish to apply for a nominee customs broker licence so that you can operate as a customs broker employed by a corporate or sole trader customs brokerage, please go to the Guidelines for completing a nominee customs broker licence application page

If you are a natural person and wish to apply for a broker licence so that you can operate a customs brokerage business owned jointly by yourself and other parties (whether natural people or companies), please go to the Guidelines for completing a corporate customs broker licence application page.

If you are acting for a company that wishes to apply for a broker licence so that it can operate a customs brokerage business, please go to the Guidelines for completing a corporate customs broker licence application page.

If you are a natural person and wish to apply for a broker licence so that you personally can operate a customs brokerage business owned solely by you and not through a company, please follow the guidelines on this page to apply for a sole trader customs broker licence.

Statutory requirements for the grant of a sole trader customs broker licence

Under the Act, a sole trader licence can only be granted if the Comptroller-General of Customs is satisfied that:

  • the applicant is a fit and proper person;
  • the applicant is qualified to be a customs broker; and
  • each employee of the applicant who would participate in the work of the applicant if the applicant was licensed as a customs broker is a fit and proper person.

A licensed sole trader customs broker can only operate their customs brokerage business through either one or more people who hold a nominee customs broker licence, this may include yourself if you are already a nominee customs broker or can demonstrate that you meet the requirements to be granted a nominee broker licence.

If you do not already hold a nominee customs broker licence, you will need to satisfy the Comptroller-General that you are "qualified to be a customs broker" even if you intend to employ other person(s) to act as nominees of your proposed customs brokerage business.

This means that, in addition to being a fit and proper person, you will need to demonstrate that:

  • you have completed an approved course of study (or have been exempted from that requirement); and
  • you meet the same standard of acquired experience that a nominee customs broker must meet.

You can do this by following the guidelines on this page and supplying the information requested in the checklist.  This will enable an assessment to be made of whether or not you are "qualified to be a customs broker" but you will not have to pay the nominee broker licence application fee and you will not be issued with a nominee licence.

Completing your application for a sole trader customs broker licence

The Sole Trader Customs Broker Licence Application Checklist (1.06KB PDF) and the Sole Trader Customs Broker Benchmark Checklist (1.06KB PDF)  (second table in the PDF document) provide comprehensive information about all the documents you need to provide to complete your application. This includes documents such as financial reports, and detailed statements setting out, for example, the commercial terms and conditions under which the licensee proposes to offer services as a customs broker. These documents should be prepared carefully and in as much detail as possible.

The National Customs Brokers Licensing Advisory Committee (NCBLAC) assesses each application against a series of benchmark criteria that it considers would be met by a qualified applicant (see the Sole Trader Customs Broker Benchmark Checklist below). If an applicant does not meet one or more of these criteria, NCBLAC might still recommend the grant of a licence if it considers that the degree of departure from the benchmarks would not give rise to unacceptable risk to the Commonwealth, importers or the community if the applicant were licensed.

If the application documents adequately demonstrates that the applicant meets the requirements set out above, NCBLAC may recommend that the Comptroller-General of Customs issue a licence.

If an application does not adequately demonstrate that the applicant meets the requirements set out above, NCBLAC might recommend that the Comptroller-General of Customs refuse to grant the licence.

Alternatively, the applicant might be asked to attend an interview with NCBLAC. If this occurs, the time taken to obtain a decision on the licence application will necessarily be longer. 

It is thus in the best interests of the applicant to use their best endeavours to comply with these guidelines and provide all the necessary or requested documents.

More information about NCBLAC can be found on the National Customs Brokers Licensing Advisory Committee (NCBLAC) interviews for licence applicants page.

Cargo Support Forms

In order for us to process your application, you must complete the B319 ICS Client Registration form (809KB PDF) and forward it to the Cargo Information and Support Centre in Sydney at the same time as, or before, you submit your application to Broker Licensing.

You must be registered in the ICS for us to be able to process your application.

You may also wish to submit the following forms

For other forms and information on how to link a nominee licence to a sole trader licence see the Linking nominees and forms page.

Submitting an application

Completed applications and all supporting documentation, including the Sole Trader Customs Broker Licence Application Checklist and the Sole Trader Customs Broker Benchmark Checklist must be mailed to the following address:

Broker Licensing
Department of Home Affairs
5 Constitution Avenue
CANBERRA   ACT 2601

More information

If you have any queries regarding application requirements email: brokers.licensing@homeaffairs.gov.au.

For information on the next steps and the applicable licence fees, please see the application process