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Packing for Quarantine

There are a number of things to consider when packing your household contents for shipping to Australia.

Because Australia is geographically isolated from other continents, it benefits from very few diseases and agricultural pests.

Even WITHIN the country, certain foods cannot be moved between states. As a result, Australia has one of the world’s most, if the THE most, strict quarantine programs for products imported from other countries. Breaking quarantine laws is taken very seriously.

Quarantine Rules

It is important to check that all personal items such as footwear, sporting equipment, bicycles, garden tools, pet blankets, vacuum cleaners, and camping gear are completely free of mud, grass, dust, and other organic material.

Check all wooden furniture for signs of insect infestation. If they are infected they must be treated before packing, or left behind. Try to use new packing boxes in order to avoid any chance of infestation.

By ensuring that your property is adequately cleaned and carefully packed, you can reduce the cost of a quarantine inspection. You will be charged according to the amount of time it takes the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) to inspect your property.

Quarantine officers will be able to check your property more quickly if you pack all of your items that need specific checking, such as shoes and garden tools, in one box.

What Can I Bring?

We suggest you email Australian Customs and Border protectiosn Services if you are unsure about an item you want to bring into the country. They are the best people to ask! You can send your inquiry here.

Declaring Goods

If you are arriving in Australia by air, you will receive an Incoming Passenger Card. If you are carrying food, plant matter, or animal products, you must declare them by ticking YES on this legal form. However, you also have the opportunity to throw any of these in garbage bins before you reach customs if you prefer not to declare them.

Keep in mind, you may have your luggage inspected by an xray machine or a sniffer dog as you are leaving the airport teminal…so be prepared for that!

If you declare goods that are not allowed to come into the country, don’t worry, this will not get be penalized. 

However, if you break the rules you could receive a $220 on-the-spot quarantine infringement notice, or be fined more than $66,000, have a criminal record, and spend 10 years in prison!

Honesty is the best policy. Smuggling in your favourite chocolate bar from home is not worth the trouble!


When packing, it is also important to check that your property is packed safely for the security of the people who are shipping it.

Make sure all knives and sharp implements are wrapped securely so they cannot cut the people who pack them.

Items that contain fuel such as lawnmowers, weed trimmers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, and camping stoves should have their tanks completely emptied.

Packing List and Unaccompanied Effects Statement

The Australian authorities require a packing list of all your property and an Unaccompanied Effects Statement, also known as a B534 form. The form is available for download on the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) website.

The AQIS website has detailed information on preparing personal items for international shipping and what you must do if AQIS decides to inspect your property.

You can contact AQIS directly for advice by calling +61 2 6275 6666 (outside Australia) or emailing [email protected].