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How to import

Importing aircraft

We are responsible for border protection functions relating to the clearance and screening of aircraft, passengers and crew entering and departing Australia, and regulation and clearance of the goods they bring with them.

The operator of an aircraft is required to report to the Australian Border Force (ABF) the arrival of the aircraft, cargo, stores and travellers within specified timeframes. These reports are required to assess the risk to the border.

Arriving in Australia

When arriving in Australia, you must land your aircraft at an airport designated as an international airport. A list of designated international airports in Australia is at the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities website.

An aircraft cannot land at another airport unless prior permission has been obtained. Permission for international flights to enter or depart Australia at a non-international airport is granted by the National Passenger Processing Committee (NPPC). For information on obtaining permission to enter Australia at a non-international airport see Requirements for aircraft entering Australia.

Reporting requirements

If you intend to land an aircraft into Australia, you are required to submit the relevant reports to us before and after landing in Australia.

You must lodge an Impending Arrival Report (Form B364) no later than three (3) hours before the estimated time of arrival for an international flight into an Australian airport. The Impending Arrival Report must be reported electronically if there is cargo onboard. An Arrival Report (Form B358) is also required when an aircraft lands in Australia.

If you are travelling with cargo, passengers and crew on board, you are be required to submit additional reports. Individual circumstances determine whether you are required to submit these additional reports.

You must submit Air Cargo Reports electronically no later than two (2) hours before the estimated time of arrival of the aircraft. You must include the details of all goods being carried to Australia. This requirement includes goods that will remain on board (excluding accompanied personal effects or aircraft stores). You are required to report any prohibited goods contained within the aircraft stores at the time of arrival.

For more information, see How to Import.

Importation status

An aircraft landing in Australia is not always considered imported and the status of the aircraft is not always obvious. We are responsible for determining whether there is an ‘intention to import’ an aircraft by assessing your individual circumstance and relevant facts. Determining whether your aircraft has been imported, or has the intention to be imported, is made on a case-by-case basis.

Aircraft generally considered intended for import arrive in Australia as cargo or self-transported aircraft.

If we believe that an aircraft has been imported, we may issue a notice deeming your aircraft imported if it remains in Australia for 30 days after the notice is served.

Import declarations

If you are required to enter your aircraft, you must lodge an import declaration with us. Lodging your import declaration early is recommended, as this will assist in processing your aircraft for clearance.

For more information, see How to Import.

You are required to pay the duty, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and other charges upon entry into Australia – usually by no later than close of business the next working day after an aircraft arrives in Australia.

When an entry is required

An aircraft is imported and must be entered for home consumption if:

  • the aircraft intends to remain in Australia
  • the aircraft (albeit the crew) is undertaking work in Australia
  • the aircraft is undergoing repair, refit or refurbishment in Australia
  • this aircraft is being offered for sale in Australia
  • the aircraft is to be used to transport domestic passengers and/or domestic cargo

An aircraft might remain in Australia for different reasons and lengths of time. This includes (but is not limited to) aircraft:

  • undertaking charter work
  • operating domestic flight services
  • undertaking survey, firefighting, agricultural or other aerial work
  • being displayed or exhibited
  • being tested and/or evaluated
  • engaging in touring and recreational activities
  • engaging in business activities
  • engaging in the production of TV, film or other entertainment
  • engaging in advertising or other promotional work
  • engaging in personal or private activities
  • engaging in the domestic economy in some way.

Examples of when entry is required

Some examples of when you are required to enter your aircraft include (but are not limited to):

  • a helicopter arrives as cargo in Australia to be used in agricultural work
  • a new passenger jet arrives for the first time in Australia to be operated by an Australian airline
  • a small aircraft arrives in Australia to undergo engine overhaul and it is then exported
  • a small aircraft operated by a non-resident arrives in Australia to be offered for sale or to be sold
  • an Australian resident brings an aircraft to Australia to tour around Australia
  • a commercial passenger aircraft returns to Australia after being exported to be repaired
  • an overseas operator brings an aircraft to Australia to engage in charter work in Australia
  • an overseas operator brings an aircraft to Australia to engage in moving domestic passengers and/or cargo in Australia
  • an aircraft (that was entered previously or was built in Australia) leaves Australia to engage in work at a place outside Australia.

Examples of when entry is not required

Some examples of when you are not required to enter your aircraft include (but are not limited to):

  • a private aircraft lands in Australia to refuel and then continues its journey to a place outside Australia
  • an aircraft (that was entered previously or was built in Australia) leaves Australia to ferry passengers and/or equipment to a place outside Australia for mining work and then returns (an international flight)
  • a passenger aircraft leaves Australia at the commencement of an international flight and returns to Australia while on an international flight.

Failure to enter the aircraft

You are required to enter the aircraft within the prescribed time in accordance with section 72 of the Customs Act 1901. If you do not enter your aircraft in the time required, it will remain under our control and may only be accessed for maintenance purposes. We may direct where the aircraft is stored and if it is not entered into Australia within six months, we may dispose of the aircraft.

Clearing your aircraft

Your aircraft will become available once an Authority to Deal has been issued.

An Authority to Deal can only be issued once we are satisfied with the following:

  • import declarations and relevant documents are finalised and submitted to us
  • all applicable duties, taxes, GST and charges are paid on arrival
  • all other requirements, including biosecurity requirements managed by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR), have been met.

Aircraft have a duty rate of free, however GST is payable unless an exemption applies. We cannot issue an imported aircraft with an Authority to Deal until GST is paid.

We may refuse to grant your aircraft clearance if we are not fully satisfied that the import requirements have been met, or if we require further information from you.

On arrival, you will also be required to ensure registration requirements are met. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is responsible for registering imported aircraft into Australia. For more information, visit CASA’s website.​​

For more information on biosecurity requirements, visit ​​DAWR’s website.

Temporary importation

You may be eligible to import your aircraft temporarily into Australia, provided certain conditions are met. Sections 162 and 162A of the Customs Act 1901 allow for the temporary importation of aircraft into Australia for up to 12 months without payment of duties or taxes.

The nature of the aircraft, its intended use in Australia, and the identity of the importer will determine whether it will qualify.

For further information, see Temporary imports.