New rules on prohibited items may lead to shortened or denied visas

Starting from 17th April 2019, new rules regarding prohibited items will come into effect. This allows airport authorities shorten or cancel a visitor’s visa should they fail to declare any prohibited items upon entry into Australia.

Australia’s strict biosecurity laws are there to protect it’s precious agriculture and tourism industries from the threat of foreign pests and diseases through the importation of foreign foods, plant materials, and animal products.

So before you start packing for that trip to Australia, it is imperative that you know what you can or cannot bring there or you may see your holiday cut short thanks to the new rules in place. The list of prohibited items include:

  • Food
  • Medication
  • Plants, Flowers, and Seeds
  • Seasonal & Festive Items

For a full list of prohibited items, check out the Australian Border Force website here.

 

What if you are carrying a prohibited item?

When traveling to Australia you will be provided with an Incoming Passenger Card by the crew of your aircraft or cruise vessel.

“This is a legal document. You must mark YES on your card to declare if you are carrying certain food, plant material or animal items. You can take these declared goods with you to the clearance point where they will be assessed by a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources biosecurity officer and may be inspected. Alternatively, you can voluntarily dispose of food, plant material or animal items in bins located in the terminal,”  advises the Australian Border Force.

 

What if you fail to declare?

A biosecurity officer may inspect your baggage, even if you do not declare any goods. They may use X-ray or a detector dog. You must declare or dispose of any goods with a biosecurity risk before the inspection. If you do not or you make a false declaration on the Incoming Passenger Card, you:

  • may be caught
  • may 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 you declare all goods, even if they are not allowed into Australia.

 

So do remember to check out the list of prohibited items here before packing up for your next trip to Australia. Because if you don’t, the repercussions arising from it may be more than what you bargained for.