Personal Effects

Personal effects logistics should not be a stressful experience

Personal Effects are your own household and personal belongings recently sent from overseas and may be imported in person or unaccompanied. New migrants and returning Australian residents are not exempt from the customs and quarantine requirements at the border. There are numerous considerations that must be taken into account to assist the facilitation of this type of cargo to make your experience a pleasant one.

MTC combined services

Our expertise in international freight, customs and quarantine, coupled with direct experience in personal effects migration and logistics, qualifies MTC to deliver efficient, cost saving and practical solutions. Whether it involves motor vehicle or transit insurance we help to simplify this logistical process by delivering pre-shipment advice and logistics solutions to save you valuable time and expense.

Customs clearing unaccompanied imported personal effects

If you are a migrant coming to Australia to take up permanent residence for the first time, or a person returning to resume permanent residence, you are required to complete the Australian Border Force and Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement.

You will be eligible under concession to enter duty/tax free any unaccompanied effects, other than controlled items, which you have owned and used overseas for 12 months (or more) before your departure for Australia.

Unaccompanied articles and gifts not owned and used overseas for 12 months (or more), goods of a commercial nature, bequeathed items, motor vehicles and parts will not be eligible for duty/tax free concession. Duty free concessions which apply to alcohol, tobacco and other articles which accompany you through Customs terminals when you arrive in Australia, do not apply to unaccompanied personal effects.

Customs may inspect unaccompanied personal effects consignments to ensure that concessional provisions are not misused.

Quarantine clearing unaccompanied imported personal effects

International movement of unaccompanied personal effects poses enormous risk to environmental, agricultural and health industries. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) works to protect Australia’s borders against unwanted pests and disease.

Because of these risks, you must advise DAWE of specific items in your consignment. If necessary, DAWE will undertake an inspection of your goods, treat items that could contain pests or diseases, or seize and destroy prohibited items. You may also choose to re-export items of value.

Some common items of DAWE concern include:

  • Wooden and bamboo items
  • Articles made from animal fur and skins
  • Workshop and garden tools
  • Food
  • Carpets
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Seeds and dried flowers
  • Christmas decorations
  • Articles containing sand
  • Articles made of straw, cane, rattan or containing feathers
  • Bicycles and used tyres
  • Footwear
  • Sports equipment including camping gea
  • Equipment used with animals

What should I do when packing?

Do not use used fruit, vegetable and flower boxes, used egg cartons, straw, hay or sawdust to pack your goods. Any timber packing and dunnage must be treated and free from any bark infestation.

  1. Check information on bringing items to Australia through Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON), DAWE’s import conditions database. By searching BICON you can find if an item is permitted into Australia, if it requires an Import Permit or treatment, or if there are any other Quarantine concerns. Try searching ‘personal effects’ on BICON at for further information.
  2. When packing your personal effects, prepare a detailed inventory/packing list that includes all the items in your consignment. This should include the package number (for example, Box 1) and a list of items contained in each package. Pack all items of quarantine concern in one box to aid inspection of your goods.
  3. Make sure all used cars and tyres, garden tools, outdoor furniture, lawn mowers, bicycles, sporting equipment, shoes and boots are clean and free of soil, seed, fungal and insect contaminants. Empty vacuum cleaner bags, ensure workshop tools and machinery do not contain any sawdust or timber shavings and are clean. Clean means clean as new.
  4. Christmas decorations containing pinecones or dried flowers will be heat-treated which is costly and can lead to damage to wreaths and decorations. Careful consideration should be given to all items of quarantine risk concern before shipping to Australia.

Timber items with evidence of insect infestation must be fumigated before they are released. You may consider having these items individually fumigated or in case of a full container load, full container fumigation before transporting them to Australia.

On arrival in Australia, if items of quarantine risk/concern are found among your personal effects during DAWE inspection, they will require cleaning and/or treatment and you will be invoiced by DAWE for this service under their cost recovery program.

Document checklist

  • Completed UPE Statement – B543 form (Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement)
  • Detailed Inventory/Packing list
  • Copy of Receipts/Invoices for goods less than 12 months old from shipment date
  • Freight forwarder/shipping company Arrival Advice Notice
  • Photocopy of owners’ ID page from Passport and photocopy of Visa page
  • Copy of Bill of Lading/original if required
  • Copy of Quarantine Packing Declaration
  • Copy of Fumigation Certificate (if applicable)
  • Signed Letter of Authority to Act

The information listed here is a brief overview for importing Personal Effects. For more specific information, we suggest you fill in our online enquiry form or contact us.


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