eCommerce Blog / Importing to Australia and New Zealand

Importing Goods to Australia and New Zealand

Are you an Australian or New Zealand-based online retailer, looking to import? "Down under" is a long way from manufacturing giants such as China and India, so to help make your import as easy as possible, here are some essential tips to get you started.

What do I need to import goods to Australia?

You don’t need a license to import to Australia in general, however some products may require special licenses such as weapons or pharmaceutics. Most consumer items such as clothing or homeware don't require any permits or licenses but if you are in doubt, speak to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service or the New Zealand Customs Service

Goods Classification

The first thing you need to do is classify your goods correctly so that the appropriate duties and tariffs (if any) apply. If you are not sure how to classify your items, don't worry: Customs provides a tariff advice service for importers who are unsure as to the correct classification or concession for their merchandise.  To take advantage of this service lodge an application with Customs along with supporting evidence. You can apply for a tariff concession on imported goods that do no compete in the market place with goods of Australian manufacture.

You are ultimately responsible for classifying goods correctly as well as all other Customs documentation –even if they were prepared by a Broker, Freight Forwarder or Service Provider. It is recommended that you check over all documents before they are given to customs and retain copies. Talk to your Broker of Freight Forwarder if there are any errors.

You also need to account for any surplus goods, promotional materials and samples.

Important: All customs documentation must be retained for 5 years.


What happens at customs?

Customs may decide to inspect your goods or they may waive the inspection. You do not need to submit commercial documentation, but you do need to to keep all the relevant commercial documents for 5 years after that time.

If you have an Australian Business Number(ABN) you will need to supply it to Customs when formally entering goods . Importers need to be registered for GST purposes and have an ABN in order to claim input tax credits or access the GST deferral scheme.

Duties and Tariffs – How much will they cost?

Duties and Tariffs are based on the classification code of the goods, valuation and country of origin. Valuation of imported goods can be complex and importers are urged to seek advice from a customs broker or to contact customs. 

Where do I go for help?

Customs Information and Support Centre: Ph: 1300 363 263


Useful link: 

Business Australia

Importing to New Zealand

What am I responsible for?

When importing to New Zealand, you are responsible for:

  • Making an accurate and correct entry to New Zealand
  • Paying all Customs charges
  • Keeping all commercial documents for 7 years and providing to Customs if necessary
  • Compliance with legislative requirements

Classification of Goods

The correct classification of goods is the most complex part of importing, and for this reason, many people choose to use Customs brokers to worry about it for them!

The classification code which best fits your merchandise will determine the tariffs and duties you have to pay.  You are ultimately responsible for choosing the correct classification code.

Whether you complete this process yourself, or receive help from a broker or Customs, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Purchase invoice
  • Manufacturer's costings
  • Freight and insurance costs
  • Product sample
  • Catalogues or brochures
  • Evidence of origin
  • Proof of payment.

For some items you will also need:

Whether you complete this process yourself, or receive help from a broker or Customs, you will need to provide the following information:

  • An airway bill or bill of lading.
  • Invoices.
  • Packing lists
  • Insurance certificates.

Importers may also need to contact shipping companies, airlines or freight forwarders for advice on their requirements, operating hours and/or location of the goods.

Who can help me Classify goods?

For first time importers, Customs run training programs which you can attend. 

For successive imports, you will be expected to complete the entry yourself or use a Customs broker or agent, or freight forwarder.  All import entries must be completed electronically using the appropriate software or over the Internet.

Remember that you are responsible for the accuracy of the customs documents - even when they are completed by a broker or agent - so it’s important to check all details.

Where do I find a Customs broker?

Customs brokers and freight forwarders are listed in New Zealand business directories under those headings. A list of those affiliated to CBAFF is also available.

How much will I have to pay in Tariffs and Duties?

Tariffs and duties are determined by the classification of your goods, the country of origin, and preference toward some countries as per trade agreements.  Where duty is expressed as a percentage rate, it is calculated on the Customs value of the goods.

More Tariff information


GST (Goods and Services tax) of 15% applies to almost everything imported to New Zealand.

GST is payable on the sum of following amounts:

  • The Customs value of the goods
  • Any import duty, anti-dumping and countervailing duties, ALAC or HERA levies payable (see above)
  • The freight and insurance costs of transporting the goods to New Zealand.

Import Entry Transaction Fee

An Import Entry Transaction Fee of $25.38 (GST inclusive) is payable on every commercial import entry and import declaration for goods with a duty and GST liability of $50 or more.

How do I pay fees?

There are three payment options:

  • Cash
  • Deferred payment — only available to importers who are holders of a deferred account
  • Broker deferred — available on the request of an agent who holds a broker deferred account. It is not available to an importer who holds a deferred account.For more information see:

NZ Customs

NZ Government

Ministry of Economic Development

Do you have a question about importing to Australia or New Zealand? Ask below and we will do our best to assist! 


Comments (195)

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Irene Vallejo on 2:56 9 Jul
@Tess and @David: Much as we would like to provide each of the steps needed, you can best confirm this directly with the importing department of the country, as the policy and fees vary by the product and origin of the items you are going to import. We wish you the best!
Suzy on 9:45 24 Jul
HI , I am trying to import printed teatowels from China, How do I know that the people I am dealing with are legitimate and wont rip me off, also how do find out ways to get them here to Australia?
Irene Vallejo on 0:13 25 Jul
@Suzy, please see and You can get detailed information by getting in touch with
pat on 12:32 22 Aug
Exporting / importing food products (containing meat) from NZ to Aus. I have spent hours looking at AQIS web and i just get lost. There must be someone in Australia that I can talk to? Kind regards, Pat
Irene Vallejo on 15:31 22 Aug
Hi pat, Meat and meat products are prescribed goods, information is at Hope this helps. :)
Anny on 10:58 5 Sep
Nice and informative article! Thx, I would like to share some information more for the readers, especially for the Australian Business owners who want to get an abn registration. Applying for an abn might take a lot of your time and patience, where it takes more time to complete the registration process, where as you can complete the registration within an hour though you need to pay $45 to get the work done and requires you to fill another form to get assisted, leaving these drawbacks behind, you can get guaranteed service in a hassle free manner, it takes comparatively less time to complete the registration of abn Australia, with the expert team of professionals who are experienced and qualified tax agents, make it easier for you to get the work done. They also provide the GST registration and business name registration services. Hope it will help you, if you need anything else please feel free to contact me. Sorry for my bad english, I am not a native!!
lyn on 22:04 18 Nov
Hi, Irene. I would like to import beers in Australia, how much insurance will cost for 1 container of beer value at $30,000 not including excise? and if the freight forwarder is insured for the container when they dispatch it from port to my store? Thank you very much in advance.
Irene Vallejo on 3:46 19 Nov
@Lyn Sorry but I don't have the details for that. You may confirm with them directly at Customs Information and Support Centre: Ph: 1300 363 263 Email:
pooja on 4:55 10 Jan
Hello I just received my Provisional PR visa for Western Australia, We are arriving to Australia in April, We would like to import goods from India to Australia , can anyone advice which Indian items & products are in Australia ? We are also planning to export Australian products to India ...please advice which product to export from Australia to India...I am aware of all export import procedures.. Thanks in advance.
Deeps on 5:24 28 Jun
Hi Irene I am planning to import metal jewellery from India to Australia and retail it over here. I want to know the full process for this. Do I need some licenses to Export from India and Import In Australia. What customs do I need to pay in Australia, and what are other formalities for the same. Cheers
Sih on 13:58 15 Nov
Hi Irene,I am planning to buy a second hand bag,belt and shoes with a total value less than $1000 from Japan and definitely not a fake product. I import them for my personal use. I sent email to the email and got a reply which the answer was pretty generic and not specific to my question.
Will I be paying custom duty on these products?
Irene Vallejo on 22:49 19 Nov
Hi there! The Custom rules and regulations vary per country, and from what I have learned, there is no tax imposed for goods imported into Australia for products costing AUD1000 and below. This was confirmed by some Australia based buyers at
Hope this helps! :)
deepika dugar on 4:17 18 Dec
hi Irene,we have relocated in queenstown newzealand recently ,my husband is an australian citizen and I have Aus PR .
now we are thinking of importing artificial jewellery (only metal,thread,beads, stones) from india but have no clue about the laws and duties ..please guide us regarding the procedure duties we would have to pay ...
Irene Vallejo on 4:07 19 Dec
Hi there Deepika,

India is a priority relationship with New Zealand, being New Zealand's 15th-largest bilateral trading partner and second largest source of international students - hence I don't think you will have much restrictions. :) The products you have mentioned is not among the prohibited. In general, all products for import must comply with New Zealand's standards protecting health, safety and the environment. Products which are governed by these regulations must adhere to specific New Zealand or joint New Zealand-Australia standards to be allowed to get imported to NZ :). You may view detailed information at

I am not in a position to state what specific costs or duties you will pay based on the items you will import,so I strongly advise that you seek information directly from New Zealand Customs

Cheers! :)
Alex on 7:10 21 Dec
Hi I want to import coffee into australia do I need a permit for that.?
Irene Vallejo on 17:45 1 Jan
Hi Alex,

For green coffee beans, yes, you will need a permit. :) Please refer to

Hope this helps. :)
Dan Saumaki on 6:13 15 Jan
Hi i am in the process of importing kava from the pacific islands to re sell to kava drinkers in Australia.What are the requirements of starting up a business like so....Please advice

Richelle Monfort on 4:07 16 Jan
Hello Dan,

Here's the basic guideline as well as contact information of whom you should get in touch with regarding your plan to import kava to Australia - and

Hope this helps! Good luck :)
Rudy on 3:30 1 Mar
Hi Team,

I'm about to start a new company. I'll be trading and bringing Shoe soles / Shoes from India to NZ. Initially, samples though !! Do I need an import license / permit to bring them in ? Also, would you recommend me to deal with an import agent as I know a very little about import procedures and licensing ?
Irene Vallejo on 4:06 4 Mar
Hi Rudy,

Yes to both - other than securing an import permit, you will need to do the steps laid out in the article above and an import agent would be useful. :)

We wish you the best!
Terri on 13:27 12 Mar
Hi I have recently purchased some Disney fabric for sewing and reselling from the USA. However been told I can't sell them as I didn't buy them from the Australian distributor . Is this correct?
Richelle Monfort on 4:22 17 Mar
Hello Terri,

It maybe so... This is the trouble sometimes when you resell well know branded and/or trademarked items as you have to source them from the authorized distributors.

Although a possible loophole might be if you actually bought those from a licensed reseller in the US. If you did, you might want to get a letter of proof from them or something of the like so you can resell in Australia.

Good luck!
Alicia on 7:51 18 Mar
I want to import Horse Rugs from India to Australia, what do I need to do ?
Richelle Monfort on 1:25 21 Mar
Hello Alicia,

I think it would be best that you get in touch with the Australian customs and border protection service to ask for the specific procedures required as well as the paperwork you need to submit for your coming import -

Hope this helps!
shamim on 7:43 25 Mar
Hi, i am shamim from Bangladesh I want to sale some bed sheet, cuson cover & dress as well in Australia & others country also.
Miljan Radovic on 10:45 1 Apr
Hi guys,

I want to become imported of alcohol beverages / spirits to Australia. As far as I understand I need to register ABN with GST, right? I already know all customs costs (GST, LAL, etc). Is there anything I'm missing? Also, can you suggest any good sea freight brokers?

Irene Vallejo on 1:24 3 Apr
Hi Miljan,

From yes, "You need an ABN to register for GST, as the ABN is part of the GST system." :)

Sorry I do not have any sea freight broker to recommend, but I did a bit of research to help you for options -

These information will also be useful -

Paw lawgay on 13:49 4 Apr
Hello Irene , I would like to import some grocery food from Myanmar to Australia . What I need to do ?
Irene Vallejo on 22:07 7 Apr
Hello Pawlagay,

Please refer to

Cheers! :)
Rhea on 6:43 18 Apr
Hi Irene, Thanks for such a great website with so much information. Coming straight to my query; I want to open a retail store to sell Inidan products like Cosmetics, Handbags and footwear in Melbourne, Aus. I do not have any idea on how to start exporting stuff from India. Is there any difference in exporting from India or buying from Indian wholesalers or taking export company help? I am completely new to this line. Could you please direct me any website where I can get enough information on how to open a small level retail store selling Inidan products and exporting from India.
Thanks for your time!

Francis on 12:40 24 Apr
Hi Irene,

I would like to know more about importing cricket materials from India. are there any specific rules for the same?

Melissa Johnson on 22:58 30 Apr
Hi, Francis!

I'm not aware of any restrictions. There's one fairly recent report with some more specifics about importing Indian sporting goods.

Hope this helps!
Atelaite Cama on 14:36 24 Apr
Hi...I would like to imports some 'Kava' to Australia every month, it is our Fijian traditional I have to get a license?? do we get a license??
Melissa Johnson on 22:34 30 Apr
Hi there!

We've had another user ask a similar question. Here are a couple of websites that should walk you through the basic process:
Naseem on 15:41 10 May
Hi, Irene, I am living in pakistan and my friend is living in Australia, I want to export him Garment Equipment like that polo shirts and other equipment through Courier, without export letter, please can you tell me are these brands allow to export in Australia??????
raj on 4:33 13 May
Hi...I would like to imports frozen chips and packaging stuff to Australia from india every month,.do I have to get a license?? do we get a license??
sue on 6:15 17 May

We have an up coming exhibition for handicrafts, clothing, jewelries and accessories in New Zealand all the products will be imported from Indonesia, could you please advise me what is the appropriate procedure?
Richelle Monfort on 23:32 19 May
Hello Sue,

Sorry I' m not thoroughly familiar with the exact steps you need to undertake, but I think this - will help!

All the best :)
Fabio on 0:06 18 May
I'm starting to import from Italy to Australia paints. I have my ABN. What I have to do for gst purposes? I know that I have to pay it when I import materials, but when I sell it Do I have to charge it to my customers?
Thank you
Richelle Monfort on 3:54 20 May
Hello Fabio,

Essentially if you're registered for GST you can add the GST to your product price. Since our knowledge is limited we recommend consulting your local customs broker or acount -

For additional information please refer to

Hope this helps point you towards the right direction.
Charlene Tipene on 7:03 11 Jun

I have just started a small home business selling boys clothes imported from China. My question I allowed to sell things like character clothing ie peppa pig, disney characters (frozen), TMNT clothing made in China. I have had alot of questions from customers wanting these items, I dont think they really care that they aren't "REAL" or "FAKE", its a matter of variety and costs. Do I need some sort of licence? Can I get into trouble if I do and who will I get in trouble with???
Melissa Johnson on 19:58 12 Jun
Hi, Charlene!

We don't recommend or in any way support selling fakes or imitations or unlicensed merchandise. You can get in trouble for selling such items on eBay and on other sites, including Etsy. This could be cease and desists and other legal action from the owner of the copyright, or even getting your accounts permanently closed down so you can't sell on those marketplaces anymore.

Sanrio, for example, is VERY adamant about preventing unlicensed Hello Kitty merchandise. On a more personal note, a friend of mine who sells on Etsy has gotten cease and desists before for making patches based on movie characters, too, even though she designed and manufactured the patches herself. It's not worth the risk or the hassle -- look for licensed merchandise obtained through legitimate sources, or just don't do it.
Maria on 21:49 19 Jun
Hi Irene,

I would like to know how I can import chia seeds in to New Zeland? I would like to sell online but I dont know how to go about shipping, I reside in Mexico.
Jonathan L.deDios on 2:22 20 Jun
Hi Irene,

I'm from the Philippines and we are making High-End fashion Jewelries, I wanted these to export. Is there any metal contents which are not allowed in Australia and New Zealand? I wanted to get contacts.
Melissa Johnson on 20:56 24 Jun
Hi, Jonathan -

Here are a few links that might help, including a list of prohibited imports. I think you should be OK with jewelry:
Nik on 9:06 29 Jun

I would like to know what is the import duty from India to Australia in order to procure manufacturing material used in agriculture/sugarcane industry.

Or where can I find this information?
Amit Singh on 10:48 20 Aug
Hi Irene
I am planning to import (WPC) wood plastic composite from India to Australia and retail it over here. This product is use for flooring furniture and cladding . Could you tell me the full process for this. We have IMPEX licenses . What customs do I need to pay in Australia, and what are other formalities for the same.
Cheers Reply
Melissa Johnson on 16:43 20 Aug
Hi, Amit!

I recommend these links. They should be able to walk you through the process in more detail than I ever could:
Mehrdad Hosseini on 16:53 21 Aug
Hello Irene.This is Mehrdad I am emigrating from to NZ as a resident.In here I own my business and I am selling chandeliers.Most of our products are Iranian.I am going to import them to NZ.Please advise me,do they need to meet any standards.If yes please from where I have to start?please provide me with the information about this process.I would be appreciate for that.
Melissa Johnson on 4:07 25 Aug
Hi, Mehrdad!

So, it looks like certain Iranian goods have prohibitions and restrictions. I am not sure that chandeliers would even be among those, but here's the AU government site that explains the policy, and you can use that to cross reference the list of prohibitions and restrictions:

Beyond that, check out this site:

You can also head over to the forum to talk with other sellers:

I hope this helps!
Diane on 4:27 22 Aug
I am interested in importing a brand of cosmetics from Indonesia into Australia ? Not sure where to start. Can you please tell me the dos and donts
Melissa Johnson on 3:59 25 Aug
Hi, Diane!

In addition to the information on this post, here are a couple additional links.

the official Australian government site for importers:

The AU department of agriculture's site for importing, which covers guidelines for cosmetics:

Most information about importing cosmetics to AU, specifically regarding labelling:

Hope this helps!
Allyson on 13:41 23 Aug
Hi, I'm finding it hard to find definitive info on whether its ok to import disney looking characters to Australia to resell here, but not as genuine disney. Is this illegal or ok or a grey area? Thank you
Melissa Johnson on 3:42 27 Aug
Hi, Allyson!

We do not in any way condone the selling of imposters or knockoffs. It can get your online business shut down pretty quick and lead to legal trouble. Look for licensed goods, and if they aren't available, maybe look for other, legal alternatives.

Hope this helps.
Allyson Van on 12:27 28 Aug
Thanks, getting licensed disney products is hard to find..Might need a re-think thanks:)
Allyson Van on 12:31 28 Aug
Also wondering, Is this site predominantly aimed at US business or is it Aussie relevant too? Thanks.
Melissa Johnson on 18:01 28 Aug
We have sellers and directory members from all over the world, including the US and Australia. Some of the content is local to US, but we also cover global issues.
Ash on 17:54 30 Sep
Hello Melissa

1)can I import sports goods, branded sports goods example: kookaburra or grey nicolls band bats which are manufactured in India. In India I can buy them in half price. But will I allow to import them in Australia and sell? maybe they have their own distribution (not sure though)?

2) Can I import Indian Branded product example: "Haldiram" . They also have distributor in Melbourne?

3) Besides Basmati Rice what other Indian Agricultural products are import/allowed in Australia?


Melissa Johnson on 15:23 1 Oct
Hi, Ash!

You would have to check with the manufacturers about their own distribution methods and locations and whether they would allow you to get involved. In general, you should be able to import sporting goods and other items.

I recommend checking these sites, which should give you specifics on what's prohibited and what agricultural products are allowed:

I would also check the general importing site for the Australian government:

Hope this helps!
robert on 5:19 3 Oct
i want export garments to aus and nz can u assistance it. give me the details of importers
Melissa Johnson on 18:37 4 Oct
Hi, Robert --

Without knowing any specifics of what you want to do, I can't really give you any guidance. I recommend starting with just learning a bit more about importing to Australia and New Zealand. You should also create an account and head over to our community forum to talk to other sellers, and then sign up to access our directory or wholesale and dropshipping suppliers.
chase on 7:16 13 Oct
hi i am wanting to inport clothing and electronic gadgets into new zealand how do i go about this. what are trhe do's and dont's
Melissa Johnson on 20:05 15 Oct
Hi, Chase --

That's a pretty broad question. I don't think I could cover everything in a comment.

I recommend checking out the New Zealand government's site on importing. That should cover all the basics for you:

Good luck!
chris on 1:02 28 Oct
Hi there. I am about to send some wood furniture from bali to auckland and would like to no the costs when they arrive. I will be sending about 5 cubic meters of wood furniture for my house. This is not a business this for private use. I will be using a known cargo company over here in bali and they send items to nz and aus all the time for clients so I'm guessing all the paper work from this end will be provided. Any information would be great. This is my first time.
Melissa Johnson on 16:25 29 Oct
Hi, Chris

Your best bet is to talk to the shipping company directly about costs. It's unlikely that the company will cover the costs of customs duties.

I honestly don't know how much it will cost, and I'm not even sure where to begin looking for that exact number. But here are a couple of links that should help you:
Deepak on 5:16 14 Apr

We are bed sheets and towel manufacturer in India.I need guidence that how to start export from india to australia and is ther any good scope or not


Melissa Johnson on 16:16 17 Apr
Hi, Deepak!

Honestly, I would head over to the SaleHoo forum to ask your question. Our staff there, as well as other sellers who have been in your shoes, can answer your questions and have more insights into that market than I do.

Good luck!
melinda arnold on 10:58 21 Apr
im unsure if I need a customs broker or agent. I plan to import under $1000aud of jewellery (take with me as excess baggage)
can you advise me please
Melissa Johnson on 16:40 27 Apr
Hi, Melinda --

I am not sure you actually need either, given than you're importing a comparatively small value of goods, and it sounds like it's a one-time thing. If you plan to continue importing goods after the first order, it might be good to contact a customs broker to help you expedite the process.

Of course, you're really best talking to a licensed expert in your country, as they'll know the laws and the ins and outs of the business.
RaviKanth on 8:05 2 Aug
I am planning to take homeware marble items with me as a luggage uder $1000 to australia for my market stall for which i have ABN number and name registered. Are there any restrictions to carry stuff for business with me.
Melissa Johnson on 14:32 3 Aug
Hi, Ravi --

I cannot say with absolute certainty, but you should be fine affording to this site:

If you're still not sure, I suggest talking to a customs/import expert.

Hope that helps!
seanna on 21:46 1 Nov
Hey im looking at starting a small online retail business ....I will start off with real small like buy one box of things and sell then gradually build to more items if there is profit to be made. however i am stuck here is an example- if I buy 30items and sell them fo r$ 20.00 each including free shipping I will get $600 back but have to pay for the 30 items and free shipping cost which leaves me with $160.00 profit before duty/gst/import fees
I am having trouble figuring out how much duty gst and import fess will cost all together (ive worked out gst will be $43.00 of the $160.00 which now leaves $117.00. I still nedd to work out duty and imrt fees).
Help not sure ive found the best supplier yet
Antony on 21:29 3 Oct 2017
Is it legal to do drop shipping in New Zealand. Is there any documentation required for LED light shoe import for kids and adults. I see only the need for label with manufactures origin in either package on shoe for shoe imports . I haven't seen any regulations on led shoe. Please advice.
Richelle Monfort on 3:55 4 Oct 2017
Hello Anthony,

It might be best if you consultant a professional broker as they can help you with all your importing questions. You can check Hope this helps!


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