Studying in Australia

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, January 2018

This guide provides information for students travelling to Australia to study.

It covers biosecurity requirements and lists products that cannot be brought to Australia, and includes tips to ease border clearance.

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If you are an international student planning to study in Australia, it is important to check Australia’s biosecurity requirements when packing your personal items. Certain food, plant material and animal products from overseas could introduce serious pests and diseases into Australia, devastating our valuable agriculture and tourism industries and our unique environment.

Some products may not be permitted, while other products are only allowed if they meet certain biosecurity import conditions.

Failure to declare items can result in an on-the-spot fine or prosecution. If you are unsure of an item, declare it, or don’t bring it at all.

Airport clearance is quicker if you don’t bring food, plant material or animal products. Most items can be easily purchased in Australia.

It is important to tell family and friends who are visiting you from overseas not to bring food, plant material or animal products into Australia.

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Permitted products

Food

The following commercially prepared and packaged products are permitted:

  • breakfast cereals
  • chocolate
  • coffee—instant, ground or roasted (excluding Kopi Luwak)
  • confectionery (excluding Indian dairy sweets and meat based sweets)
  • instant noodles
  • muesli bars
  • plain bread, rolls or buns (without fillings or toppings)
  • tea (black and green tea only)
  • white rice.

Household items and clothing

These items must be clean and free from seeds, soil, bark, insects, food residue, animal tissue and plant debris and other biosecurity risk material prior to arrival in Australia:

  • bamboo items (must be made from dried bamboo, not fresh or green bamboo)
  • bedding
  • clothes
  • commercially prepared and packaged cosmetics and personal hygiene products
  • down and feather filled items (including jackets, sleeping bags, quilts and pillows)
  • kitchen equipment (including pans, blenders and rice cookers)
  • musical instruments
  • shoes
  • wooden items.

Be aware that some toys, heat pillows, snow domes and souvenirs may contain material that is subject to import conditions, such as waste cotton, wheat grains, seeds, beans, soil, straw or water.

Other goods

The following goods are not a biosecurity risk and are allowed into Australia:

  • alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and other tobacco products
  • electronic equipment (including laptops, tablets, phones and cameras)
  • valuable items (including jewellery, watches and currency).

These imports are regulated by the Department of Home Affairs and they may need to inspect and clear these goods before they are released. Check the Department of Home Affairs for more information on clearing goods through the border and import duty and taxes.

For over-the-counter medicines, vitamin supplements and other therapeutic goods, please check with the Therapeutic Goods Administration

Do not bring

  • dairy products (including milk, cheese, yoghurt and butter)
  • eggs and egg products (including whole, dried and powdered eggs, century eggs, egg noodles and egg based mayonnaise, sauce or custard)
  • flowers (including fresh cut and dried)
  • food or medicines intended for animals (including worming tablets, antibiotics, canned or dried pet food)
  • fruit and vegetables (including dates, apples, bananas and citrus fruit)
  • home-cooked meals (any meals not commercially prepared and packaged)
  • live animals (including mammals, birds’ eggs, insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish and silkworms)
  • meals or snacks received on your flight (including fruit, yoghurt, milk drinks and sandwiches)
  • meat (including salami, sausages and ham)
  • plants (including potted plants and cuttings)
  • pulses (including beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas)
  • seeds and nuts
  • seeds or bulbs for planting
  • soil (including samples, specimens and dirt on equipment or shoes)
  • sporting/camping equipment that is dirty or wet
  • traditional remedies and medicines that contain herbs, animal products or dried medicinal mushrooms (strict import conditions apply).

When packing

You must pack your own bag and be aware of all its contents. Everything in your bag is your responsibility. Items that need to be declared on arrival should be packed separately or at the top of your luggage.

On arrival

You will be given an Incoming Passenger Card before you arrive in Australia. You must mark YES on your card if you are carrying food, plant material or animal products. Failure to declare items can result in an on-the-spot fine or prosecution.

You will have the opportunity to voluntarily dispose of food, plant material and animal products in biosecurity bins located at the airport. Remember to dispose of any food received during the flight from the airline.

Your baggage may be assessed to identify items of biosecurity concern. This may include questioning by biosecurity officers or screening using x-ray, detector dogs and/or physical inspection.

If your items do not meet Australia’s import requirements they may be directed for treatment, export or destruction at your expense.

Goods that do not pose a biosecurity risk will be returned to you after inspection.

Parcels from home

The same import conditions apply to items sent to Australia by post. If you are a student studying in Australia it is important to tell your family and friends overseas about Australia’s biosecurity laws and ask them not to send food, plant material or animal products.

Further information

For information on bringing or sending goods to Australia visit Travelling to Australia or email Airports.

To find detailed import conditions visit Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON).

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