- 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 import their belongings duty-free, provided they’ve owned them for 12 months. Many of the country’s major cities are positioned on the coast, and most have ports that are efficient and well managed.
That said, shipping to a country as far removed as Australia can be expensive and can take a long time.
Shipping furniture to Australia
Furnished housing is less common in Australia, but it’s relatively easy and affordable to kit out unfurnished accommodation – much cheaper than shipping over goods and furniture from abroad, in any case.
Expats who do decide to ship their goods to Australia will have to jump through a number of bureaucratic hoops and spend quite a bit of money.
Shipping cars to Australia
A Vehicle Import Approval (VIA) is necessary to ship a vehicle into Australia and a customs duty will also have to be paid. If the owner of the vehicle is staying in the country for less than 12 months, they may be exempt from these requirements.
Cost of shipping to Australia
Shipping, both by sea and air, can be incredibly expensive. In many cases, expats’ employers foot the shipping bill, or at least provide a relocation allowance.
Shipping by sea is generally less expensive than by air, but it takes much longer. We recommend using a combination of both, shipping essential goods by air and other possessions 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 an overview 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.
We recommend buying insurance from a company other than the shipping company, 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 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 cats, dogs and horses from selected countries can 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 also 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.
►See Relocation Companies in Australia for more on moving abroad
►For an overview of the country, see Moving to Australia
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.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.