Information Regarding Australia Pet Import
Please see below the Australian government’s Imports Industry Advice Notice 105-2023: Permits to import cats and dogs to Australia and expected behaviour when interacting with the department – DAFF (agriculture.gov.au).
105-2023: Permits to import cats and dogs to Australia and expected behaviour when interacting with the department
Who does this notice affect?
Importers of cats and dogs to Australia from countries other than New Zealand and Norfolk Island.
What has changed?
This advice supersedes the notice 24-2021: Permits to import cats and dogs to Australia and clarifies acceptable behaviour when interacting with the department whether in person, attending departmental offices or via communication methods such as phone, email and/or text.
Expected behaviour when interacting with the department
Our staff have recently experienced instances of unacceptable behaviour from clients during communication interactions.
Expectations of behaviour. We are committed to the mental and physical health and safety of our people, our visitors and others who work for us and with us. We have a zero-tolerance approach to aggressive, threatening or inappropriate behaviour toward staff or clients. This includes interactions in person or by other communication methods such as phone, email and/or text.
Clients and their associates are required to interact with department staff in an acceptable manner at all times. All interactions with staff, clients or visitors, whether in person or by other communication methods (for example phone, email, text) must be in accordance with a standard of acceptable behaviour i.e. behaviour that is courteous, professional and respectful.
We will not tolerate abuse or intimidation directed at our staff and reserve the right to terminate threatening and aggressive correspondence.
Cat and Dog Import Permits
We are continuing to process import permit applications in line with our legal obligations under the Australian Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015.
Frequently asked questions
Can I import my cat or dog to Australia?
Yes. All cats and dogs destined to Australia, including those that were born and/or have lived in Australia and those returning to Australia after a short overseas trip, must fully comply with Australia’s import conditions.
All cats and dogs (except from New Zealand or Norfolk Island) must be accompanied by a valid import permit and veterinary health certificate. Cats and dogs from New Zealand or Norfolk Island must be accompanied by a valid veterinary health certificate.
Any cats or dogs that arrive into Australia without a valid import permit and/or necessary veterinary health certification relevant to the country of export will be considered non-compliant and subject to direction under the Biosecurity Act. This may include export from Australia or euthanising the animal.
How do I apply for an import permit?
Submit your application for a permit to import a live animal through our import conditions database, BICON. The step-by-step guides on the Bringing cats and dogs to Australia website explain what you need to do to import your animal to Australia, including how to apply for a permit.
What fees do I need to pay when I apply for an import permit?
The applicant is responsible for payment of lodgement and assessment fees for an import permit application. Find information about fees for cat and dog import permit applications.
How long does it take for a decision to be made on my application?
The Australian Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015 prescribes the legal obligations that the Director of Biosecurity (or their delegate) must meet when managing applications for permits to import goods into Australia, including live animals. This includes decision-making timeframes and information the delegate must consider when making a decision.
The Biosecurity Act 2015 prescribes that a decision must be made on an import permit application within 123 business days of receipt, however we may pause the decision-making period if we require further information to complete the application or biosecurity risk assessment. This includes verification of information, liaising with a competent authority such as an overseas veterinary government agency, or undertaking of a Fit and Proper Persons test, at the department’s discretion.
Submitting an application does not guarantee that we will grant a permit. We assess each application independently and make our decisions based on the associated biosecurity risks.
Can my application be expedited so I receive my permit sooner?
No. We process all applications in the order received to provide a fair and equitable service to all clients.
Subsequently, we process incomplete applications according to the date all information is received.
We cannot expedite applications because it would unfairly disadvantage other clients. This also means that other client’s applications won’t be expedited ahead of yours.
You can reduce processing delays by ensuring you submit a fully completed application with all required and correctly completed supporting documents.
Can you tell me if my documents are acceptable for specific import conditions?
We can’t assess documents outside a formal permit application. The import conditions imposed on a permit (if granted) are the conditions you/the permit holder must legally meet when you import your animal.
You can submit any documents you want us to consider with your application.
If a permit has already been granted, and you want us to consider new information that wasn’t provided in the original application, the person who applied for the permit can apply in BICON to vary the permit. Fees will apply. We can’t pre-empt the outcome of an application to vary a permit or permit conditions.
Can I change the information submitted with my permit application?
You can request changes to an unfinalised application by emailing Imports and referencing your application number, or by sending correspondence to us through your BICON account.
We will advise you if we require further information to assess the change.
Can I change the contact details on an import permit?
The person who originally applied for a finalised import permit can submit a permit variation request by logging into their BICON account. If the original applicant is no longer involved with your import, you will need to submit a new application, including all required supporting documentation.
We will advise you if further information is required for us to assess each application.
Can I change the animal details on my application or import permit?
We require a veterinary history or microchip registration certificate that verifies a cat or dog’s breed before we will consider changing the breed listed on an application or finalised import permit.
How long is my import permit valid for?
An import permit for a cat or dog will be valid for 12 months or until the Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) test expires (where applicable), whichever occurs first.
If your cat or dog’s RNAT is close to expiring, we recommend that you arrange for a new test to be performed before the current test expires, and submit both laboratory reports, each with endorsement on an RNATT Declaration, with your permit application.
Can I extend the expiry date on my import permit?
No. If you do not import your animal before their import permit expires, you must apply for a new import permit. You will need to submit all required supporting documentation and pay applicable lodgement and assessment fees.
Why can’t the department waive fees for import permits?
The fees and charges for import permit assessment are legislated in the Biosecurity Regulation 2016 and Biosecurity Charges Imposition (General) Regulation 2016. Therefore, we can’t waive permit application and assessment fees.
The Australian Government’s Cost Recovery Policy requires the department to recoup the cost of providing its biosecurity services through the implementation of fees for services provided. This means the individuals who benefit from these services are responsible for payment of associated costs, reducing the burden to the Australian taxpayer.
Can I be refunded the import permit fees if I don’t use my permit?
As we operate on a cost recovery basis, the fees are for the lodgement and assessment of an import permit application, not the granting or use of a permit.