Arriving into Australia

Documents required for clearance

All arriving passengers must have a valid travel document and complete an Incoming Passenger Card. If you are not an Australian Citizen you must hold a valid visa when entering Australia.

SmartGate allows you to self-process through passport control using ePassport data and facial recognition technology.

If you hold an  eligible ePassport and are aged 16 years or over, you are eligible to use SmartGate when arriving at Australian airports.

Airline crew who meet these criteria can choose to use SmartGate instead of going through the crew lane.

Australian and New Zealand ePassport holders travelling on military orders are not eligible to use SmartGate.

All other travellers must present their passport and completed Incoming Passenger Card to one of our officers on arrival before collecting their baggage.

If you are not an Australian citizen, you must hold a valid visa to enter Australia which must be presented at the Australian border along with a valid travel document . Your visa should be arranged before travelling to Australia. Special provisions apply to most New Zealand citizens, and to people eligible to transit Australia without a visa. For more information on checking in please see Air Travel.

Sea travellers

When you reach your port of arrival into Australia, you need to present your passport and completed Incoming Passenger Card to one of our officers.

When you permanently leave the ship, you need to present your baggage and Incoming Passenger Card to us for clearance.

Sometimes our officers may check your passport and Incoming Passenger Card on board the vessel before you arrive in Australia.

For information on Advance Passenger Processing, Maritime Crew visas and visas for superyacht crew members see Sea Travel.

Items you must declare on arrival (including cash/currency)

Prohibited and restricted items

It is illegal to carry illicit drugs including marijuana, cannabis, heroin, cocaine and amphetamines in and out of Australia.

Other items may be restricted. You may need a permit to carry these items in and out of Australia.

See the following table for a summary on what you can and can't carry and what you need to declare on your Incoming Passenger Card. There are penalties for not declaring illegal and restricted items and for making false declarations on your Incoming Passenger Card.

Contact us or the consulate or embassy of the countries you're visiting before you travel for more advice about importing or exporting illegal and restricted items.

Do not carry illicit drugs. Penalties for drug offences in Australia are severe and could result in a jail term.

Firearms, weapons and ammunition

 You must declare all firearms, weapons and ammunition including:

  • real and imitation firearms
  • air soft pistols (BB guns) that discharge a pellet by means of compressed gas, commonly purchased as "toy" guns
  • paintball markers
  • blowpipes
  • all knives
  • nunchukas
  • slingshots
  • crossbows
  • electric shock devices
  • laser pointers
  • body armour
  • batons
  • pepper sprays
  • knuckle dusters
  • parts and accessories for use with firearms and weapons

Most of these items require that written permission be obtained before they are imported, and may be subject to other import requirements such as unique serial numbers and safety testing.

Performance and image enhancing drugs

All performance and image enhancing drugs must be declared on arrival.

These include human growth hormone, DHEA and all anabolic and androgenic steroids. These items can generally not be imported into Australia unless a written permit has been obtained before they are imported.

Objectionable material, including illegal pornography

Objectionable material is controlled on import and export. This includes publications which show child pornography, bestiality, explicit sexual violence, crime or violence (including footage of beheadings), instruction in crime or violence, or advocates the doing of a terrorist act.

This also includes any such objectionable material contained on an electronic device, such as a hard drive, computer or mobile phone.


There is no limit to the amount of currency you can bring in or out of Australia. However, you must declare amounts of AUD.10,000 or more in Australian currency or foreign equivalent.

You must disclose any promissory notes, travellers' cheques, personal cheques, money orders, postal orders or other bearer negotiable instruments, regardless of value, if requested by one of our officers or a police officer.


You need to declare medicines and substances which might be subject to misuse, abuse or dependence, such as:

  • steroids
  • opioid analgesics
  • cannabis or narcotic based medications

These products may be restricted or require a permit in order to be imported.

Traditional medicines

Some traditional medicines may contain endangered plant or animal products and these should be declared.

Prescription medicines

  • Prescription medicines that contain a controlled substance such human growth hormone, opioid analgesics, cannabis or narcotic based medicines need to be declared. For more information about controlled substances visit the Drug Control Section at the Department of Health website.
  • You should carry a letter or prescription from your doctor. It should be written in English, or if not, accompanied by a translation. It should outline the name of the medicine and the dosage you require. We suggest you keep your medicines in the original packaging with the dispensing label intact.
  • Do not bring more than three month’s supply with you.
  • If you are residing or visiting Australia for three months or longer and require ongoing medications, you should visit an Australian doctor to obtain your prescriptions.
  • If you are intending to have your medications sent through the mail or via courier, import permits will be required prior to importing the medications that contain a controlled substance.  
  • You should enquire about the import procedures before you arrive in Australia.
  • The Department of Health has more advice for travellers bringing medications into Australia.

No need to declare

You do not need to declare medications such as aspirin, paracetamol or Australian over the counter medications.

Food, plants, animals and biological goods

You must declare certain food items, plant material, animal items, equipment used with animals, biological materials, soils and sand to Department of Agriculture officers on arrival.

If you don't, you could be given an on-the-spot fine or face prosecution.

Food, plant material and animal items from overseas could introduce serious pests and diseases into Australia, devastating our valuable agriculture and tourism industries and unique environment.

Protected wildlife

 Australia's strict laws control the import and export of protected wildlife and associated products. This includes:

  • traditional medicinal products
  • coral
  • orchids
  • caviar
  • ivory products
  • many hunting trophies.

Heritage-listed goods

You need to apply for a permit to import or export heritage-listed goods including:

  • works of art
  • stamps
  • coins
  • archaeological objects
  • minerals
  • specimens

Veterinary products

Declare all veterinary drugs and medicines. This includes products that contain substances prohibited without a permit.

Defence and strategic goods

Written permits must be obtained in advance to import or export defence and strategic goods. For more information on which goods fit into this category, refer to Export controls for defence and strategic goods factsheet.

Declaring restricted items

ItemDeclare on ArrivalDeclare on DepartureFor more details, contact
Firearms, weapons and ammunitionYesYes Department of  Home Affairs

Illegal pornography YesYes Department of  Home Affairs

Performance and image enhancing drugsYesYes

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority 
1300 027 232

Therapeutic Goods Administration 
1800 020 653

Currency AUD10,000 or overYesYes Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre  
1800 021 037
Food, plants, animals and biological goodsYesNo Department of Agriculture  
1800 020 504
Medicines and substances which may be subject to misuse, abuse or dependenceYesYes

Medicare Australia 
1800 552 152

Therapeutic Goods Administration  
1800 020 653

Protected wildlife and wildlife productsYesYes Department of the Environment 
+ 61 2 6274 1900
Heritage-listed goods YesYes Department of the Environment 
+ 61 2 6274 1900
Veterinary productsYesYes Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority 
+ 61 2 6210 4701
Defence and strategic goodsYesYes Department of Home Affairs              


If you are in doubt, declare your goods or ask one of our officers for advice.

Declaring goods does not necessarily mean your baggage will be examined.

There are severe penalties for not declaring prohibited or restricted items and goods on which you must pay duty/tax. Presenting false receipts also carries heavy penalties.

See information for departing travellers.

Other things you should know when arriving

  • Your baggage may be X-rayed when you arrive.
  • Fireworks, flammable liquids, corrosives, gas cylinders are not permitted on an aircraft or in your baggage.
  • If you're visiting Australia you can bring laptops and similar electronic equipment duty-free into Australia provided you take them with you when you leave.
  • As a routine part of their work, our officers may question you at any time.
  • Trained dogs may also be used to detect illegal drugs or prohibited imports.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of your dealings with us, please ask to speak to a senior officer. You can also see Tips for Travellers for more information.