Super Yacht
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Customs - On  Arrival

Customs and Border Protection - On Arrival

Australia has strict laws to protect its citizens and environment. Penalties apply for illegally importing drugs, animals or plants, weapons or ammunition, protected wildlife and products, some foods and medicinal products.

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service manages the security and integrity of Australia's borders. Customs and Border Protection works closely with other government and international agencies, in particular the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Department of Defence, to detect and deter unlawful movement of goods and people across the border.

It is important that visitors comply with Australia’s Customs requirements when entering the country. 

The following links outline the various requirements of Customs and Border Protection.

Customs and Border Protection Requirements upon entry

What do I need to do to clear Customs and Border Protection?

Duty Free Allowance

What happens when I arrive?

What do I need to declare?

Other things I may need to know?

Superyacht Specific Requirements

Customs and Border Protection entry requirements

1. Travel to Port of Entry

The first thing you must do when you arrive in Australia is to arrive at a proclaimed port of entry where Customs and Border Protection, Quarantine and Immigration procedures can be completed. Queensland’s ports of entry are listed below:

  • Brisbane
  • Bundaberg
  • Cairns
  • Gladstone
  • Mackay
  • Thursday Island
  • Townsville
  • Weipa

Detailed information on each port is available on the at the Customs and Border Protection website.   

2. Display the International Pratique

 Display the International Pratique Q-flag (yellow) so it can be recognised by Australian maritime authorities.

3. Travel to an appointed boarding station

When a superyacht enters Australian waters it must travel to an appointed boarding station.

What happens when I arrive?

When you have berthed Customs and Border Protection Officers will board your vessel to ascertain the purpose of your visit, check the passports of all passengers and crew and inform you of clearance options.  Passengers and crew should have their passport and Incoming Passenger Card ready for Customs and Border Protection and Quarantine authorities. 

Customs and Border Protection officers may search your vessel or belongings for narcotics and prohibited imports such as firearms.  As part of any search they may use narcotic and firearms detector dogs, as well as other trace detection technology.

They will also request the crew and passengers complete Incoming Passenger Cards (which is a declaration for what each individual is bringing into the country). 

The Master of the superyacht must also complete a Small Craft Arrival Report.

Depending on vessels intended activities whilst in Australia, Customs may issue a Control Permit which has certain conditions outlined on each permit.

What do I need to do to clear Customs and Border Protection?

For superyacht tourist visitors arriving by sea, immigration processing may be completed on board the vessel – and Customs and Border Protection officers will be able to provide you with advice at the time of entry.

All passengers and crew must stay onboard the vessel until Customs and Border Protection, immigration and quarantine inspections are completed.

Food and Waste
Visitors must not throw any waste or food overboard whilst in Australian waters or while moored, and must use the designated quarantine disposal points.

Passengers and crew must also keep all food and animals secure until their vessel has been inspected by Quarantine officers.

Human health
If your superyacht has travelled through the Tropical Zone of Central Africa or South America in the six days before arriving in Australia, you will need a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate for each person over twelve months old on board.

This will apply even if there was no outbreak of Yellow Fever in the infected area at the time of your visit. You do not need any other health certificates to enter Australia – however if there are any signs of disease on your superyacht the master of the vessel is required to notify the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service.

Duty free allowance
Most personal items such as new clothing, footwear, and articles for personal hygiene and grooming (excluding fur and perfume concentrates) may be brought into Australia in your accompanied baggage, fee from duty and tax.

General goods
If you are aged 18 years or over, you can bring up to A$900.00 worth of general goods into Australia duty-free.   General goods include gifts, souvenirs, cameras, electronic equipment, leather goods, perfume concentrates, jewellery, watches and sporting equipment.

If you are aged 18 years or over, you can bring 2.25 litres of alcohol duty-free into Australia.

If you are aged 18 years or over, you can bring 250 cigarettes, or 250 grams of cigars or tobacco products duty-free into Australia with you.

Duty-free concessions do change from time-to-time for further information and the most up to date amounts visit the website.

There is no limit on the amount of Australian or foreign cash that may be brought into or taken out of Australia, but travellers carrying $A10,000 or more (or equivalent) must declare this on arrival and departure. Currency does not include traveller's cheques.

Temporary import of goods
Commercial goods brought into Australia to be sold are subject to the normal rates of duty and tax. Commercial or personal goods brought in temporarily may be admitted duty and tax-free, subject to eligibility requirements and conditions.

Carnets (passport for goods) may be obtained for temporary duty free entry of goods such as commercial samples, jewellery, goods for international exhibitions, equipment for sporting events, professional television and film equipment.

For more information on importing goods, contact a Customs and Border Protection Office or an Australian mission overseas.

What do I need to declare?

The Australian Government requires that you declare any items that fall into the following categories before you are permitted to enter the country.

Prohibited and restricted items:

  • Firearms, weapons and ammunition
  • Counterfeit goods and offensive types of pornography are also banned
  • Performance and image enhancing drugs
  • Currency (Amounts of A$10,000 or more in Australian currency or foreign equivalent. If asked by Customs you must also fill in a Bearer Negotiable Instruments (BNI) form if you're carrying promissory notes, travellers cheques, personal cheques, money orders or postal orders)
  • Food, plants, animals and biological goods
  • Medicines
  • Protected wildlife
  • Heritage-listed goods
  • Veterinary products
  • Defence and strategic goods

More detailed information is available on the Customs and Border Protection website.

Other things you may need to know?

  • Your baggage may be X-rayed when you arrive. This should not affect normal camera film.
  • Visitors can bring such items as desktop or laptop computers and similar electronic equipment duty free into Australia provided Customs is satisfied the items are intended to be taken with them on departure.  In some instances, a security equal to the duty and tax may be required to be lodged with Customs and Border Protection.
  • Items that you import for your superyacht will be subject to Customs and Border Protection import requirements and duty and tax will be payable on those goods.
  • Yellow fever vaccination: Refer to the Australian Department of Health and Ageing website, before completing your Incoming Passenger Card given to you before arrival.
  • If you are importing a yacht, superyacht or megayacht copies of brochures on requirements are available from Customs offices or Australian missions overseas.
  • Copyright piracy and trade mark counterfeiting are illegal in Australia. By buying pirated or counterfeit items, not only could you end up with a flawed product, you are supporting an illegal trade that may involve serious criminal activity.
  • You can play an important role in combating copyright piracy and counterfeiting of trade marks by not bringing pirated or counterfeit goods into Australia. In some circumstances pirated and counterfeit goods imported into Australia are liable to seizure by Customs and people importing such goods may be subject to civil litigation or criminal prosecution.

Contacting the Australian Customs Service and Border Protection Service

Customs National Information Line
Phone:1300 363 263

Superyacht specific requirements

When you arrive in Australia, Customs and Border Protection will advise you about clearance options for superyachts.

If you intend to leave within 12 months, you may:

    1. Be granted a control permit; or

    2. Asked to provide a security for temporary importation of your superyacht; or

    3. Formally import the craft.

The Customs and Border Protection provides more information on its website through the ‘Clearance Options for Visiting Smallcraft’ fact sheet. 

All options provide access to Australian waters and lands.

1. Control permits

A control permit will be issued to the Master of a superyacht if Customs is satisfied the craft is entering Australian waters for non-commercial purposes. Non-commercial purposes include the following activities:

  • cruising/touring purposes
  • mooring purposes
  • recreational use
  • repair/refit
  • specified racing events

Control permits may be issued for a period of 12 months extension of the permit may be granted on application to Customs, provided you meet eligibility requirements and have an appropriate visa.

You will be required to comply with certain conditions attached to the issue of the permit.

Control permits will not be issued if:

  • The superyacht is owned or operated by an Australian resident;
  • The superyacht is to be used for commercial purposes (e.g. charter, hire or lease);
  • The superyacht, or parts of the superyacht, are to be sold or listed for sale;
  • The superyacht arrives as cargo on another vessel or transporter.

Customs and Border Protection requires you to advise if circumstances of the vessel’s presence and/or original intention in visiting Australia changes. 

Failure to do so can result in the revocation of your control permit and the vessel being deemed imported. If this occurs you will be required to pay import duty and taxes for the vessel.

What if the Master wants to fly home and come back later?

Customs and Border Protection makes allowances for vessel Masters who need to come in and out of Australia over a period of time. However you must advise Customs and Border Protection and make arrangements for appropriate control of the superyacht while out of the country.

Further information will be available at the Customs office when you arrive in Australia. See details on the Ports of Entry page.

Further information can be obtained from the Customs Office at your intended port of arrival.  See details on the Your Stay page.

2. Temporary importation of vessels

If your visa allows you to remain in Australia for a limited period you may be required to temporarily import your superyacht to Australia. 

Temporary importation without paying Customs duty and tax is permitted when:

  • The superyacht will be exported within 12 months of arrival; and
  • A security in cash or an appropriate bank guarantee is provided equal to the duty and tax that would otherwise be payable.

When do I get my security back?

If a cash security has been given and a cash refund is sought it will be necessary for you to give advance notice to Customs at the proposed port of departure before you leave.

Further information can be obtained from the Customs office at your intended port of arrival. See details on the Your Stay page.

The information on this site is subject to change, for the most upto date information the relevant government agencies website should be consulted.  It remains the responsibility of the owner, master or appointed agent to ensure they are relying on current information as to their specific obligations.

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