- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Australia Guide (PDF)
Many reputable companies offer shipping and removal services to and from Australia, and expats relocating to the country can generally import their household effects duty-free provided they’ve owned them for 12 months. Furthermore, many of the nation’s major cities are positioned on the coast, and most have ports that are efficient, well-managed and very familiar with receiving or sending container shipments.
That said, the rule of thumb for shipping to a country as far removed as Australia is to avoid it unless it is absolutely necessary.
Shipping furniture to Australia
Although unfurnished accommodation is more popular in Australia, it’s still possible to find furnished accommodation; and expats will find countless shopping opportunities to stock up on household goods and favoured home furnishings.
Expats who do decide to ship their goods to Australia will have to go through a number of procedures to do so.
If expats' packed goods will be arriving in Australia separately from themselves (as is commonly the case when goods are carried by cargo ships), the goods are considered Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPEs).
Shipping cars to Australia
If planning on bringing a motor vehicle into Australia, expats will need to obtain a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA) and pay customs duty, although those staying in the country for less than 12 months may be exempt from these requirements.
Cost of shipping to Australia
Shipping, both by sea or by air, can be incredibly expensive. In many cases though, it’s possible to have the employer foot the bill for bringing goods across, or to at least set aside some sort of allowance for shipping personal items.
Shipments made by sea are generally less expensive than those by air, but those sent by air will obviously arrive much sooner than those sent by sea. It’s recommended that expats use a combination of both, shipping essential goods by air and other posessions by sea.
Costs are dependent on the volume of goods shipped or their weight, and the distance the cargo must travel. It’s a good idea to solicit at least three quotes from various service providers to get a good idea of the going rates before deciding which to use.
Expats should be aware that shippers often tack on additional expenses for certain packing materials, handling and hoisting of excessively large items and certain processing requirements.
Furthermore, it’s a good idea to buy insurance from a company other than the shipping company used, to ensure reliable coverage on broken cargo.
Expats may also be asked to prove ownership of certain items by presenting receipts or insurance papers. For new-looking electronic goods especially, it’s best to have these on hand.
Shipping pets to Australia
Shipping pets to Australia can be a complex process and requires careful planning and documentation. Pets must be microchipped and have certain vaccinations. Only certain types of pets – namely cats, dogs and horses – from selected countries are eligible to be brought into Australia, while rabbits and birds can only be brought into the country if they are from New Zealand. Pets from some countries may be quarantined. Dog owners should note that some dog breeds, such as pit bull terriers, are considered dangerous and cannot be brought into Australia at all.
Are you an expat living in Australia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Australia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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