How To Breeze Through The Arrivals Process
Before you leave home
Speed up the arrivals process before you even leave the house! Before you travel, remember to...
- Pack a pen in your carry-on bag
- Pack your prescription in your carry-on bag if taking medication.
- Clean any sports gear (hiking boots, golf clubs etc) before you travel.
All done? Now it's time to board the plane...
Learn more about Getting a Flight to Australia
When you board your flight to Australia...
Don't sit down just yet! Before stashing your bag in the overhead locker, grab the following items and place them in the seat pocket in front of you:
- Your passport
- Your boarding pass
- Your pen (black or blue ink)
- Address details for where you’re staying on your first night
What are these for? Well, you will need these items so that you can fill out...
The Incoming Passenger Card
While you're in the air, a flight attendant will hand you a blank Incoming Passenger Card to complete. You can only use black or blue ink to do this.
You'll need to fill out:
- Your personal information
- Details about your visit to Australia
- Dour Quarantine and Customs information.
Since you probably haven't memorised your passport number, flight number, or the address of your first night's accommodation, you'll need access to this information during the flight.
This is why stashing them in your seat pocket makes sense.
What if you're asleep when the cards are handed out? Don't worry - you will still be able to obtain a card at the airport when you land.
But it saves time if you can complete the incoming passenger card while you're in the air.
Arriving in Australia: Passport Control
You've finally landed on Australian soil! So what's next?
It's time to present your passport and completed Incoming Passenger Card at Passport Control.
Leave the plane and follow the Passport Control signs - they'll lead you to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Checkpoint.
Here, you will show your travel documents in one of two ways:
- Present your passport to a customs & border official at the desk or kiosk, or...
- If you have an ePassport from an eligible country, you can scan your passport at an automated Smart Gate.
How do you know if you have an ePassport? It will have an electronic chip in it (which you can usually feel), and you'll see a small camera icon on the front cover.
If in doubt, ask a customs official if you are eligible - they'll be happy to help.
Pro tip: don't use your cellphone in the passport control area: if you do, you will be asked to put it away.
More information on Passport and Visa Requirements for Australia
Collect your bags from the baggage carousel
After Passport Control, it's time to reunite with your luggage.
Follow the Baggage Claim signs to the arrivals hall, where you will find the carousels. There will be display screens to inform you which carousel you need to go to: look for your flight number on-screen and the carousel number will be displayed next to it.
While you're waiting, there may be sniffer dogs and their handlers patrolling the carousels. If they give you a quick sniff, this doesn't automatically mean that you have done anything wrong!
Simply place your bag on the floor if the dog's handler asks you to - if you're not carrying any prohibited items, the dog will do its job and move on to the next person.
Pro tip: If you require assistance removing your luggage from the carousel, contact your airline before you travel - they may be able to arrange for someone to help you when you arrive.
Need tips on what to pack? Our Australian Holiday Packing Guide has the answers.
Clearing Customs and Border Protection
Proceed to the Quarantine checkpoint.
Before you reach the checkpoint, here's what you need to do:
Dispose of any food you have brought with you from the plane
Carrying a leftover banana? A ham sandwich you saved for later? You can't bring these into Australia.
Place them in the biosecurity bins provided, or treat yourself to a quick snack before moving on!
Check if you are carrying anything that’s a biosecurity risk
Biosecurity risks include anything with soil on them: shoes, camping gear, golf clubs, prams... make sure these are clean before you travel.
If you are bringing pre-packaged food that hasn't been opened, it may be allowed in, but it's best to check first.
Check that you’re not carrying anything above your duty-free allowance
Bringing alcohol or tobacco with you?
There are limits the amount you can bring in to Australia tax-free.
If you're carrying more than the allowance, you will have to declare it and pay duty. Certain other goods may be subject to limits too. For example, there is a limit
Find up-to-date information about duty-free allowances in Australia on the Australian Border Force website.
At the Quarantine Checkpoint
At the quarantine checkpoint, you may be required to present your bags for an x-ray or inspection.
If you answered "yes" to any of the biosecurity risk item questions on your Incoming Passenger Card, a customs officer will ask you about the items and may wish to see them.
Biosecurity risk items will be inspected: don't worry, if they are safe they will be returned to you!
Pro tip: If you are carrying items with soil on them (e.g. recently-used hiking boots), a customs officer may take them away for washing while you wait. It's much quicker to clean them yourself before you travel.