Temporary imports

​​​​Certain goods may be temporarily imported into Australia for a period of up to 12 months without the payment of duty or taxes, provided certain conditions are met.

The nature of the goods, what they will be used for while they are in Australia and who is importing the goods will determine whether the goods will qualify.

Goods that qualify as temporary imports may be imported either:

  • under carnet – where a security is lodged with an overseas carnet-issuing body
  • under security– where a security is lodged with us at the time of import.​​

There are three sections of the Customs Act 1901 under which temporary importation may be granted.

Section 162

This Act allows for the temporary importation of:

  • goods belonging to a prescribed class of person
  • goods included in a prescribed class of goods
  • goods intended for a prescribed purpose.

These prescribed classes or purposes are further defined within Customs Regulation 2015 – Reg 99 as the following:

  • Classes of persons are tourists and temporary residents.
  • Classes of goods are:
    • specialised equipment or tools to be used in exploration, production, manufacture, repair or modifications that are included in an intergovernmental agreement (convention)
    • goods imported for use at a public exhibition or public entertainment, other than cinematographic films for profit or theatrical costumes, scenery or property
    • testing or evaluation equipment.
  • Purpose is the testing and evaluation of goods.

Section 162A

This Act allows for the temporary importation of goods that are:

  • of a specified class
  • imported by persons of a specified class
  • of a specified class imported by persons of a specified class
  • imported for a specified purpose.

These goods are further defined within Customs (International Obligations) Regulation 2015 – Reg 20 as the following:

  • Goods included in a class of goods to which an intergovernmental agreement (convention) applies.
  • Goods imported by persons included in a class of goods to which a convention applies.
  • Goods imported for a purpose specified in a convention.

These goods are then further defined within a number of intergovernmental agreements (conventions) to which Australia is a signatory, each of which has specific eligibility requirements that must be met.

They include such goods as:

  • private touring vehicles
  • ​commercial samples and advertising materials
  • professional equipment
  • scientific equipment
  • goods imported for display or use at events, fairs and exhibitions.

Section 42

This Act allows for the temporary importation, or duty free importation, of certain goods that are eligible under Schedule 4 and the relevant by-law.​

Temporary importation conditions

Importers bringing overseas goods to Australia as a temporary importation must:

  • export the goods within the approved time frame
  • not sell, loan, mortgage, hire, give away, dispose of or alter the goods in anyway without permission from us
  • comply with all requirements of any by-law being utilised
  • comply with any other conditions imposed by us.

If you do not meet the above conditions, you must pay an amount equal to the duty and taxes that would have been payable if the goods had not been treated as temporary imports.