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Customs declaration in Australia

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We are flying into Sydney for 2 days before our Princess cruise and have heard Australia customs are very restrictive. Is it advisable to list medicines, toiletries, and makeup. I know not to bring any food in. Any assistance would be appreciated. Have read the Traveling to Australia website but would appreciate first hand experience. Thanks

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It is always advisable to bring the prescription with any prescribed medicines. Food is not that much of a problem if it is commercially produced and obtained. If it is packaged and has a bar code there should not be a problem. It is when one has a couple of kilos of freshly harvested goodies from Aunty Beryl's garden or the local rice paddy that problems occur. I just returned from Bali with tea, coffee and spices with no problems. If in doubt tick yes to the question and let them have a look, they won't bite your head off. Here is the form:-

https://www.abf.gov.au/entering-leaving-australia/files/ipc-sample-english.pdf

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Make up, no worries.

Toiletries, no worries.

 

medicines (prescription and over the counter). Declare — put an X in the YES box for question 1. 

Prescription medicines require a copy of prescription or Dr letter (in English) to indicate what is prescribed. They are supposed to be in original packaging so they can check what it says on box and documentation.

 

over the counter meds must be in original packaging. Again, that is a way of checking what they are and to ensure they meet our requirements.

 

Food must be declared. Loose fruit, sandwiches etc. need to be dumped in the quarantine bins.  Packaged food may be looked at to ensure they do not contain things we do not want.

 

If unsure, declare anything.

 

For fun, here is the detailed site https://www.abf.gov.au/entering-and-leaving-australia/can-you-bring-it-in/overview

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Food - As others have said, you can bring some items (eg chocolate, coffee beans or ground coffee, tea bags, packaged snacks like musli bars) but they must be declared. Prohibited items include meat products (salami etc), fresh fruit & veges, honey. On one trip when we returned home we had a lot of items. It wasn't planned this way. I listed all of them and wrote where each was obtained. The quarantine officer just looked down the list and said it was OK.

 

Wooden items - Just make sure there are no borer holes. If the item is (for instance) a wooden handle on something, it is undoubtedly OK. Once again, declare it.

 

The precautions mentioned about medications are probably a good idea, but I don't think you would be asked to produce your doctor's prescription unless you had an enormous quantity of the drugs, or if they were heavy narcotics. Standard medications for blood pressure, asthma, cholesterol, arthritis etc would not cause concern.

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From personal experience. Carry a letter from your doctor listing your prescription medication and there will be no problem but you MUST declare that you are carrying medication/drugs. If you are not surer about anything - declare it - it is easier to explain after declaring, than it is trying to think that you can get away with something.

 

Be very careful carrying any food as it will be problem for you. My wife (and we are Australian citizens - born and bred here) took a sealed and unopened packet of biscuits away with us (from Australia) and forgot that she still had them in her bag when she returned. Wow! was she given the third degree!!!  Even though they were still sealed and unopened customs were not at all interested to hear that they were actually purchased in Australia. Needless to say it has never happened to us again

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This may sound ridiculous to some but my wife and I are both diabetics, and part of the reason I carry a manbag is that I carry at all times a couple of dozen Glucose jelly beans because I'm prone to having what are called "Hypo's", short for Hypoglycemia, which is ultra low blood sugar that can result in an unconscious collapse. From past experience I can tell when one is coming on and pop about 6 jelly beans and chew like buggery.

 

Now getting to the point of the above explanation, at one point in our travels a sniffer dog picked up on the jelly beans, and not having declared them I was subject to quite a dressing down and a lecture about how declaring them would save everyone a lot of time and trouble. Since then they have always been declared and we are passed straight through with thanks usually forthcoming for informing them.

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Also be aware that all luggage is x-rayed by Quarantine & they can pick up the smallest amount of soil or other organic matter on shoes in your luggage.  Dirty walking boots got me a warning letter.  At least the Australian Border Force are human - not like the robots in USA!

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Always be honest with the declaration forms, the possible fines and the hassle is not worth the risk.

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5 hours ago, joybook said:

 

Be very careful carrying any food as it will be problem for you. My wife (and we are Australian citizens - born and bred here) took a sealed and unopened packet of biscuits away with us (from Australia) and forgot that she still had them in her bag when she returned. Wow! was she given the third degree!!!  Even though they were still sealed and unopened customs were not at all interested to hear that they were actually purchased in Australia. Needless to say it has never happened to us again

 

Yes, I’ve had much the same experience - in my case with a muesli bar that I’d forgotten about and had travelled to/from the UK with me. Was put through the ringer and the muesli bar confiscated - but the really frightening part was that customs were not the least bit bothered by my declaration that I’d been on farmland and in contact with livestock while overseas. This was mid-2001, at the time of the FMD outbreak in the UK - I’d not been anywhere near any affected areas, but they had no way of knowing that based on my declaration. 

 

I figure that if in doubt, declare.

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I know toiletries are okay to take in so my question is do they have to be in the original container. When I travel, I have genetic bottles to refill my toiletries into (ie hair gel, conditioner). Will that be okay?

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4 hours ago, Cruiser10724 said:

I know toiletries are okay to take in so my question is do they have to be in the original container. When I travel, I have genetic bottles to refill my toiletries into (ie hair gel, conditioner). Will that be okay?

Absolutely OK.

 

We do not take original packing for over-the-counter 'medications' such as fish oil capsules. We have never been queried.

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Years ago my husband was given white powder to take when he was discharged from hospital in Japan with food poisoning. He forgot about it and bought it back through customs in his backpack. It was never even questioned.

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Just because he was " never even questioned" doesn't give it validity. It's like saying.."it's okay to bring a gun onboard, because they didn't find it and never questioned me last time". 

 

Declare everything you have that's mentioned on the card. Fullstop !

 

There's only one person who can tell you if it's "okay"...and that's the Customs Officer you will be declaring to.

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1 minute ago, vozzie said:

Just because he was " never even questioned" doesn't give it validity. It's like saying.."it's okay to bring a gun onboard, because they didn't find it and never questioned me last time". 

 

Declare everything you have that's mentioned on the card. Fullstop !

 

There's only one person who can tell you if it's "okay"...and that's the Customs Officer you will be declaring to.

Couldn’t agree more,

declare

declare

Declare

 

9/10 they’ll wave you trough with a smile, 10 th they might take it off you and destroy, don’t declare and your be n big trouble

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Years ago my husband was given white powder to take when he was discharged from hospital in Japan with food poisoning. He forgot about it and bought it back through customs in his backpack. It was never even questioned.

Only because he was very lucky it wasn’t found. You don’t even know what was in the white powder! It could have been anything. I’d not take it in.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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6 hours ago, GUT2407 said:

Couldn’t agree more,

declare

declare

Declare

 

9/10 they’ll wave you trough with a smile, 10 th they might take it off you and destroy, don’t declare and your be n big trouble

 This was the only time he did it. He did learn his lesson. 

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Hmm.  we have traveled to many countries and always brought canned salmon and whole wheat bread with us in addition to packaged granola bars and small bags of cookies, pre-packaged apple sauce, almonds, pecans (so essentially a variety of snacks) so we have munchies on plane (coming from North America) to Sydney.  Am I reading the various posts correct, one has to declare our snacks to customs when we arrive in Sydney?  Could we be turned away from entering country if we have snacks in our carry on bags and in our checked luggage.  We are always are so bone tired upon arriving after travelling 16 plus hours on these flights, that we like to have our own little stash of food to eat in our hotel room at our ready so we can enjoy our own comfort food prior to immersing ourselves in the culture of the foreign land.      Are we not allowed to bring the above food items into Australia?    Obviously, we do not want to break the law.  Please advise.

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7 minutes ago, pink845 said:

Hmm.  we have traveled to many countries and always brought canned salmon and whole wheat bread with us in addition to packaged granola bars and small bags of cookies, pre-packaged apple sauce, almonds, pecans (so essentially a variety of snacks) so we have munchies on plane (coming from North America) to Sydney.  Am I reading the various posts correct, one has to declare our snacks to customs when we arrive in Sydney?  Could we be turned away from entering country if we have snacks in our carry on bags and in our checked luggage.  We are always are so bone tired upon arriving after travelling 16 plus hours on these flights, that we like to have our own little stash of food to eat in our hotel room at our ready so we can enjoy our own comfort food prior to immersing ourselves in the culture of the foreign land.      Are we not allowed to bring the above food items into Australia?    Obviously, we do not want to break the law.  Please advise.

Yes declare, you won’t be turned away but they may be confiscated, of your list the bread is the one I think you are most likely to not be allowed bring in.

 

 

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47 minutes ago, pink845 said:

Hmm.  we have traveled to many countries and always brought canned salmon and whole wheat bread with us in addition to packaged granola bars and small bags of cookies, pre-packaged apple sauce, almonds, pecans (so essentially a variety of snacks) so we have munchies on plane (coming from North America) to Sydney.  Am I reading the various posts correct, one has to declare our snacks to customs when we arrive in Sydney?  Could we be turned away from entering country if we have snacks in our carry on bags and in our checked luggage.  We are always are so bone tired upon arriving after travelling 16 plus hours on these flights, that we like to have our own little stash of food to eat in our hotel room at our ready so we can enjoy our own comfort food prior to immersing ourselves in the culture of the foreign land.      Are we not allowed to bring the above food items into Australia?    Obviously, we do not want to break the law.  Please advise.

I think it would all be allowed, even the bread, BUT you MUST declare the food items. If you do not and they are found, you will be chastised severely. If the items are not on the prohibited list (and I don't think they are) you probably would not be fined, but you would be made to feel very uncomfortable. If you declare the food and show the quarantine officer a written list of what the items are (or tell them in detail), you will most likely be thanked for declaring them and let through with a smile. If there is an item that isn't allowed, it will be confiscated, but you would not be in trouble IF you declare it.

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By filling out the declaration form dishonestly, there can be heavy fines. Just declare what you have brought in.

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You may find that you pass through Customs quicker if you have things to declare. I think some years ago I read of people declaring just to take advantage of the shorter queues.

 

In 2013, I returned from Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy. He had stayed at a hotel in Stresa where the owner had a pet rooster that I had been patting. So I answered yes to the question about farm animals. They let me through without further questions, but seemed a bit grumpy. I wonder if it was because of people making spurious declarations to have a quicker passage.

 

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3 hours ago, pink845 said:

Hmm.  we have traveled to many countries and always brought canned salmon and whole wheat bread with us in addition to packaged granola bars and small bags of cookies, pre-packaged apple sauce, almonds, pecans (so essentially a variety of snacks) so we have munchies on plane (coming from North America) to Sydney.  Am I reading the various posts correct, one has to declare our snacks to customs when we arrive in Sydney?  Could we be turned away from entering country if we have snacks in our carry on bags and in our checked luggage.  We are always are so bone tired upon arriving after travelling 16 plus hours on these flights, that we like to have our own little stash of food to eat in our hotel room at our ready so we can enjoy our own comfort food prior to immersing ourselves in the culture of the foreign land.      Are we not allowed to bring the above food items into Australia?    Obviously, we do not want to break the law.  Please advise.

After not declaring a chocolate bar and getting chastised I was told “anything that goes in your mouth is regarded as food”

The mind could boggle.

Cheers Carole

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3 hours ago, pink845 said:

Hmm.  we have traveled to many countries and always brought canned salmon and whole wheat bread with us in addition to packaged granola bars and small bags of cookies, pre-packaged apple sauce, almonds, pecans (so essentially a variety of snacks) so we have munchies on plane (coming from North America) to Sydney.  Am I reading the various posts correct, one has to declare our snacks to customs when we arrive in Sydney?  Could we be turned away from entering country if we have snacks in our carry on bags and in our checked luggage.  We are always are so bone tired upon arriving after travelling 16 plus hours on these flights, that we like to have our own little stash of food to eat in our hotel room at our ready so we can enjoy our own comfort food prior to immersing ourselves in the culture of the foreign land.      Are we not allowed to bring the above food items into Australia?    Obviously, we do not want to break the law.  Please advise.

 

You will never get into trouble by declaring it. If in doubt put yes. As for absorbing the culture of a foreign land, the words of that famous Australian Sir Les Patterson come to mind:- " A lot of people think we don't have culture in Australia. Well let me tell you that we're up to our ars*holes in culture!"

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6 minutes ago, Amaroo Andrew said:

 

You will never get into trouble by declaring it. If in doubt put yes. As for absorbing the culture of a foreign land, the words of that famous Australian Sir Les Patterson come to mind:- " A lot of people think we don't have culture in Australia. Well let me tell you that we're up to our ars*holes in culture!"

So  underrated, Sir Les, need a few like him in Can’t Berra.

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