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How to Relocate Your Household & Pets to Australia

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  • Serhat Ahmed

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If you are wondering how to relocate to Australia, this practical relocation guide is your best starting point. So, what does it take to relocate to Australia? Well, quite a lot actually – especially if you have very particular household goods and items you plan on bringing to Australia with you. For example, some items that you ship Down Under may require a simple Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPE) Statement Form. This could be for things such as clothing, books, sporting equipment, and others. Other items, however, may need an entire Import Declaration form. This is typically required for goods like cars, yachts, aircraft, and more.

Depending on the type of visa you are applying for when moving to Australia, you may or may not require certain medical health checks, and everyone coming from a country with risk of yellow fever will be obligated to get the yellow fever vaccination before entering the country.

Finally, if you are moving with a furry four-legged friend, they might require an import permit, unless they are one of Australia’s banned breeds, in which case they will not be allowed into the country at all. These include breeds such as the American pit bull, Japanese Encephalitis, and even hybrid cat breeds.

Your relocation steps and process for Australia begins here with all this information and much more. Read on to find out what you will need to prepare for your big expat move Down Under.

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Moving and Shipping Household Goods

If you are planning a big move to Australia, the first thing you may wonder about is how to move household items and belongings. However, before you think about this, there are some crucial customs regulations that you will need to be aware of and abide by before you can start packing your bags. Read on to learn more.

Custom Regulations for Australia

Items that are traveling with you can be brought in duty-free with restrictions and limitations, of course.

General Goods

Regarding Australian customs allowances, goods cannot exceed a cost of 900 AUD (632 USD) for travelers 18 years and older. For persons under 18, the limit is 450 AUD (316 USD). Personal goods include:

  • jewelry
  • watches
  • sporting equipment
  • gifts
  • souvenirs
  • cameras
  • electronic equipment
  • leather goods
  • perfumes

To be brought in duty and tax-free, items must have been owned and used for at least a year or imported temporarily (security may be required by customs).

Up to 10,000 AUD (7,008 USD) is also allowed in with no restrictions. Anything over this amount must be declared.


No more than 2.25 liters of alcoholic beverages can be brought in per person aged 18 years or over.


Only 25 cigarettes or 25 grams of tobacco products can be brought in per person aged 18 years or older.

Arms and Ammunition

All firearms, weapons, and ammunition must be declared including replicas and BB air guns, electric shock devices, and knives. Note that some of these items may require a permit and police authorization. Read more about this under the prohibited and restricted items section below.

Passing Through Customs

To help ease your journey when entering Australia, we are providing a list of top items that are usually brought over by expats, and what you should do in each case for each item: bring, do not bring, or declare.

Fresh fruit (apples, mandarins, etc.) Do not bring Duty-free items (alcohol and tobacco) Declare Prescription medication (restrictions apply) Declare Homemade food (meals, cakes, etc.) Do not bring Biscuits, bread, cakes, pastries Bring Chocolate and confectionery Bring Coffee (roasted, ground, or instant) Bring Food from plane or ship Do not bring Honey products Declare Laser pointers Declare Meat items Declare Pepper spray Do not bring Seeds Declare Tea Declare

Australia’s Prohibited and Restricted Items

Some banned items require a permit or permission to enter Australia. Others are prohibited under all circumstances. These items include things like

  • drugs and medicines (unless prescribed and must be declared);
  • fruit, vegetables, homemade food, and some seeds (can include some spices);
  • firearms and weapons (unless declared with the appropriate permits and authorization);
  • pepper spray;
  • intellectual property;
  • certain endangered species of plants or live animals;
  • counterfeit credit, debit, or charge cards;
  • electronic fly swatters / mosquito bats;
  • laser pointers;
  • lighters.

On July 1, 2019, tobacco (cigarettes, molasses tobacco, and loose leaf tobacco) moved to Australia’s prohibited imports list. This means that anything over the limit (25 cigarettes or 25 grams of tobacco products per person aged 18 years or older) needs to be declared and you need to pay any applicable duty on all tobacco items (not just the limit described above). If you bring in more than 1.5kg of smokeless tobacco, you need permission from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

To learn more about the importation rules regarding tobacco, and for a full, detailed overview of what you can and cannot bring into the country, visit the Australian Border Force website.

How to Ship Household Items and Belongings

You can ship items that will not be traveling with you via ship or air freight. International mail and post is another option. However, there are rules you must be aware of regarding Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPEs) you bring into the country:

  • Items must be personal property.
  • Create a thorough packing list outlining what is in each box you are shipping (this list will be required and reviewed by Australian customs).

Typically, UPEs include things like

  • clothing;
  • personal hygiene and grooming products;
  • furniture and appliances;
  • sporting equipment;
  • books.

For these sorts of items to clear customs, you will need to fill out a UPE Statement (B534 Form) in English (the form is available in other languages but must be submitted in English).

The following are not considered UPEs and will be controlled by the Australian Government:

For these items, you will need to fill out an Import Declaration (N19) (Form B650) to formally declare your items.

For detailed instructions and other requirements on how to import, visit the Australian Border Force website. Any application forms you may need can also be found here.

Home Goods Storage

If you require long- and short-term storage options when you move to Australia, you will be glad to know that there are several companies to choose from for all your storing needs. The self-storage industry in Australia is worth 1 billion AUD (695.5 million USD). The average amount people spend on storage in Australia is 250 AUD (174 USD) a month.

Before you decide on a company, however, make sure you shop around. Rates will usually depend on the length of time you plan to rent out space, plus the amount of storage space you require. You will want to measure out and count your boxes to help you determine this. Storage in Australia could be something as small as a large locker to as large as a mini-warehouse.

Remember to visit a few facilities as well before making your decision. You will want to keep an eye out for how secure the space is (look for onsite staff, cameras, gates, etc. and ask about their security system). This will give you some peace of mind knowing that your items will be safely watched over and protected.

Vaccinations and Health Requirements for Australia

The only vaccination required for Australia is for yellow fever if you are coming from a country with risk of yellow fever.

What Other Vaccinations do I Need for Australia?

All travelers should be up to date with routine vaccinations such as the measles vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and a yearly flu shot.

Other travelers may be advised to get their Hepatitis A and B shots, Japanese Encephalitis, and rabies vaccine. It is best to check with your doctor before traveling for information on other Australian immigration vaccination requirements.

Health Requirements for Australian Immigration

Visa applicants, including permanent, provisional, and temporary, may be subject to specific health examinations.

Permanent and Provisional Visa Applicants

Age Test Required Under 2 years Medical examination 2 to under 11 years Medical examination and TB screening test 11 to under 15 years Medical examination and chest x-ray 15 or more Medical examination, chest x-ray, HIV test

Temporary Visa Applicants

Examinations will depend on

  • the type of visa you are applying for;
  • length of time you plan to stay in Australia;
  • level of tuberculosis risk your country poses;
  • any other special circumstances.

Usually, though, low-risk temporary visa applicants will not require any health examinations unless special significance applies. High-risk applicants will be subject to a medical examination and chest x-ray (if 11 years or older) if staying for six months or more.

Additional Tests

Additional tests may be required in the following circumstances:

  • You are coming from a country with a high risk of TB and will be entering a healthcare or hospital environment.
  • You are pregnant and plan to give birth in Australia.
  • You intend to work as a doctor, paramedic, nurse, or dentist.
  • You plan to work for an Australian childcare center.
  • You are 75 years or older and applying for a Visitor visa.

Connect with like-minded expatriates

Discover our welcoming community of expats! You’ll find many ways to network, socialize, and make new friends. Attend online and in-person events that bring global minds together.

Moving with Pets

Moving to Australia with pets calls for a bit of preparation and planning. This subsection will go over which pets you can bring into the country, which animals are banned, and what the different requirements are for your animal.

Can You Bring Pets into Australia?

This depends on the country your animal is coming from, and even the type of breed as not all animals are allowed in Australia.

  • Birds: selected species from New Zealand only
  • Dogs: allowed to be imported from approved countries only
  • Cats: allowed to be imported from approved countries only
  • Horses: approved countries only
  • Rabbits: New Zealand only

The following dogs are banned in Australia and therefore will not be allowed entry:

  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Japanese Tosa
  • American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier
  • Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario

Domestic/non-domestic hybrids (e.g. dog-wolf crosses) are also prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to

  • Czechoslovakian wolfdog or Czechoslovakian Vlcak;
  • Saarloos wolfdog or Saarloos wolfhound;
  • Lupo Italiano or Italian wolfdog;
  • Kunming wolfdog or Kunming dog.

The following domestic/non-domestic hybrid cat breeds cannot be imported into Australia:

  • Savannah cat, domestic cat (Felis catus) crossed with serval cat (Felis serval)
  • Safari cat, domestic cat crossed with Geoffroy cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi)
  • Chausie, domestic cat crossed with Jungle cat (Felis chaus)
  • Bengal cat, domestic cat crossed with Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)

Pet Relocation: Australia

Rules and requirements for taking your dog or cat to Australia depend on which category your pet falls under. The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture offers a free calculator to help you determine your animal’s group.

Dogs and cats coming from New Zealand, Cocos Islands, and Norfolk Island (considered group 1) do not require an import permit; however, conditions apply.

Dogs and cats coming from approved rabies-free countries (group 2) require an import permit before coming to Australia.

Dogs and cats coming from approved countries and territories where rabies is absent or well-controlled (group 3) also require an import permit.

If you want to bring a dog or cat from a non-approved country, there are step-by-step guides you can follow to help you bring your pet Down Under.

If you require an import permit for your cat or dog, you will have to pay 480 AUD (334 USD) for the application. For any additional animal, it is a total of 240 AUD (167 USD).

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