Travelling to Australia

To help protect Australia's agricultural industries, unique environment, and human health status, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources screens incoming air and sea passengers, baggage, mail and cargo using X-ray machines, detector dogs, physical inspection, questioning and profiling.

The airline or cruise line will provide you with an Incoming Passenger Card (IPC) and you must complete this truthfully. Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence and you may be liable to a civil penalty. Passenger card samples including translations can be found on the Home Affairs website.

When you enter the first point of entry airport or port, a biosecurity officer may ask you questions or request information or documents relating to the goods you have with you. You must answer these questions truthfully and provide the requested information or documents. A biosecurity officer may also give you a direction in relation to the goods you have with you which you must follow.

If you do not comply with these requirements the biosecurity officer may give you an infringement notice and you may be subject to a civil penalty.

More information on civil penalties and infringement notices can be found on the Infringement Notice Scheme web page.

Incoming Passenger Card

You must declare certain food, plant material (including wooden articles) and animal products on your IPC. You must present all of these goods to a biosecurity officer when asked.

Goods you declare will be inspected by a biosecurity officer, who will determine the level of biosecurity risk associated with the goods. Any goods that may present an unacceptable level of biosecurity risk will be managed in accordance with the Biosecurity Act 2015.

Depending on the risk, you may:

  • pay for the goods to be treated to reduce the biosecurity risk (for example fumigation, gamma irradiation)
  • pay to export the goods from Australia
  • destroy the goods.

The first two options are subject to fees and special conditions may apply.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources makes every effort to minimise the risk of damage caused as a result of treatment, but does not accept liability for any damage that may occur to your goods during treatment or export.

Alternatively, you will have the opportunity to voluntarily dispose of any goods of concern in the bins at the terminal.

If you fail to declare or dispose of any biosecurity risk goods prior to inspection, or make a false declaration on the IPC, you:

  • will be caught
  • may be given an infringement notice or be subject to civil penalties
  • may be prosecuted, fined more than A$420,000 and imprisoned for up to 10 years and get a criminal record.

You will not be penalised under the Biosecurity Act 2015 if all goods are declared, even if they are not allowed into Australia.