Step-by-step guide to exporting

​​​​​​​​​The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources regulates the activities of exporters and dairy establishments to make sure you meet requirements set by legislation and by the importing country.

We can help you to:

  • understand the role of legislation in exporting goods
  • register as an exporter or export establishment
  • meet importing country requirements.

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Step 1: Check export legislation relating to your goods

The process for exporting dairy products from Australia varies depending on how your product is defined under the Export Control Act 1982 and associated legislation.

If you want to export dairy products, you will need to check this export legislation first.

The Act separates dairy products into two groups:

  • prescribed goods
  • non-prescribed goods.

Prescribed goods

Prescribed dairy goods includes any milk product obtained from a bovine (cow) intended for human consumption and where the major ingredient is dairy. Examples of prescribed dairy products include:

  • butter
  • cheese
  • cream
  • dairy based dips
  • milk
  • milk powder and milk powder blends (including infant formula, protein/whey powders)
  • yoghurt.

If you are planning to export prescribed goods from Australia, you will need to register with us as an exporter and only use establishments that are registered for the products being exported.

Use the rest of this step by step guide to help you through the exporting process.

Non-prescribed goods

Non-prescribed goods may include any product containing dairy:

  • obtained from a bovine (cow) for animal consumption or for human consumption where dairy is:
    • not the major ingredient (by weight or volume), or
    • the major ingredient but it is not considered like a class of prescribed dairy as listed above. An example of this would include ice-cream, cheese cake, custard, colostrum
  • from a non-bovine (cow) source, including sheep, goat, buffalo, camel
  • any dairy product destined for New Zealand.

If you are exporting non-prescribed goods, you do not need to register with us, but will still need to meet any specific importing country requirements. We advise that you confirm with your importer any particular documentation or certification requirements for entry into the destination country.

Find out more about exporting non-prescribed goods from Australia.

Step 2: Check importing country requirements

You will need to check any requirements set by the importing country before you export dairy products from Australia.

All applicable importing country requirements must be met before you can export dairy goods from Australia.

Some countries set additional documentation and registration conditions for goods imported to their country. For example:

Check our Manual of Importing Country Requirements (MICoR) for any conditions relating to your goods

Step 3: Register with the department

Before exporting prescribed dairy products, you must be registered with us. Registration requirements vary and depend on your specific role in the exporting process.

You can:


If you are the person or company responsible for exporting prescribed dairy products, you will need to be registered with us as an exporter.

Exporters register with us through our Export Documentation System (EXDOC). This will allow you to link your exporter name and details to all export documentation you request through the system.

Register in EXDOC as an:

  • Exporter–your name and address will be included as the exporter/owner on any documents generated for you by a third party agent
  • EDI user–to generate requests for export permits, health certificates and related documents
  • Exporter and EDI user–your name and address will be registered in the EXDOC system as an exporter and you will be able to request export permits, health certificates and related documents.

Find out more about registering as an exporter.

Export establishments

Register your establishment with us if you are involved in handling prescribed dairy products for export as a:

  • freight forwarder
  • manufacturer
  • processor
  • producer
  • storage facility.

Exporters who are sourcing product from a third party dairy establishment for export do not need to register as an establishment.

It is your responsibility to make sure that your product is sourced from an export registered establishment​.

Registering as a dairy export establishment involves:

  • documenting the approved arrangement you will operate under
  • submitting an application to register an export establishment
    • we will conduct a fit and proper person check of all staff listed in management and control
  • onsite audit of your establishment and approved arrangement to confirm details and effective implementation
  • payment of all fees and charges
  • approval of your application, if you have met all requirements.

Your establishment must be approved for domestic purposes prior to being approved for export purposes.

If you want to export your own product (rather than sell to an exporter or another export registered establishment) you will also need to regist​er with the department as an exporter.

Find out more about applying to operate as a dairy export registered establishment.

Step 4: Document your product’s export eligibility

Dairy goods that are intended for export from Australia must:

  • comply with all legislative and importing country requirements
  • be prepared at an export registered establishment
  • remain in export registered establishments at each stage of the export supply chain.

Manufacturers are responsible for providing written evidence that these requirements have been met.

Some countries may require export documentation be presented with the export permit application.

Declaration of Compliance

Manufacturers of dairy products intended for export are responsible for making a Declaration of Compliance for those goods.

The declaration confirms the eligibility of the goods for export, specifically that the product:

Exporters will need to confirm that they have been issued with a Declaration of Compliance when making a Request for Permit in EXDOC.

All shipments of exported goods must have a Declaration of Compliance that covers all dairy products in the shipment.

Transfer declaration

A transfer declaration is required each time a product is moved from one export registered establishment to another. This requirement does not apply when product is moved from a registered establishment directly to a wharf or airport.

For example, when goods are moved from a processing establishment to a storage establishment.

The declaration must state that the product being transported has been stored in accordance with:

The establishment dispatching the goods is responsible for making a transfer declaration.

Step 5: Request export permits and certificates

When your dairy products have met all requirements and are ready for export, you will need to make a Request for Permit (RFP) using our Export Documentation System (EXDOC).

This can be completed by:

  • exporters who are registered as an EDI user in EXDOC
  • agents on the exporters behalf, if the exporter’s details are registered in EXDOC
  • approved export permit issuers​.

Making a Request for Permit requires confirmation that you have met all eligibility requirements, including confirmation that you have:

  • a Declaration of Compliance
  • any additional importing country documentation or product test results
  • any necessary transfer declarations.

After an RFP is approved, you will be issued with:

  • an export permit, required for all shipments leaving Australia
  • a health certificate, if required.

Fees and charges are payable for issue of export permits and health certificates.

When making a Request for Permit, you will also need to include details of dairy product codes in EXDOC.

Product codes are used to link your permit request with export declaration requirements you will need to meet for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Step 6: Export your goods

If you have completed steps 1-5 and made sure your goods meet all requirements, you are now ready to export.