Who does this notice affect?

This notice is for all airlines, freight forwarders, pet transport companies,and importers of cats and dogs to Australia from countries other than NewZealand and Norfolk Island.

What has changed?
COVID-19 impact on Cat and Dog imports to Australia

The department is continuing to handle a high number of enquiries due to theimpact of COVID-19. We appreciate your understanding and patience as werespond to these enquiries.

We are aware of the significant and world-wide disruption to air travelincluding flight cancellations and airline-imposed restrictions. This meanspet importers and owners are experiencing difficulties organising thetransport of their animals to Australia.

The current COVID-19 pandemic does not change the existing risks posed bydiseases of biosecurity concern to Australia or the need for cats and dogs tomeet import conditions in full. This includes the requirement for cats anddogs to hold a valid permit for import to Australia.

Cat and Dog Import Permits

We are continuing to process import permit applications and there are nochanges to import conditions for cats and dogs in relation to COVID-19 at thistime.

Frequently asked questions
Can I still import my cat or dog to Australia?

Yes. Cats and dogs can be imported to Australia with a valid import permit andveterinary health certification.

Any cats or dogs that arrive into Australia without a valid import permit andnecessary veterinary health certification will be considered non-compliant andsubject to action. This may include export from Australia or euthanising theanimal.

How do I apply for an import permit?

You can submit your application for a permit to import a live animal throughour import conditions database, BICON. The step-by-step guides on the Bringingcats and dogs to Australia website explain what you need to do to import youranimal to Australia, including how to apply for a permit.

You may ask us to consider commencing validity of the permit on a specificfuture date (up to maximum 6 months in advance). We will consider yourrequested start date, where appropriate, when deciding if a permit can begranted.

What fees do I need to pay when I apply for an import permit?

The applicant is responsible for payment of lodgement and assessment fees foran import permit application. You can find further information about fees forcat and dog import permit applications.

How long does it take for a decision to be made on my application?

We endeavour to decide whether to grant an import permit within 20 businessdays of receiving a completed and fully paid application. Submitting anapplication does not guarantee that we will grant a permit. We assess eachapplication independently and make our decisions based on the associatedbiosecurity risks.

The Biosecurity Act 2015 prescribes that a decision must be made on animport permit application within 123 days of receipt, however we may pause thedecision-making period if we require further information to complete theapplication or biosecurity risk assessment. This includes verification ofinformation, or undertaking of a Fit and Proper Persons test, at thedepartment’s discretion.

We recommend that you apply for an import permit at least six weeks beforeyour pet’s intended travel date.

Can my application be expedited so I receive my permit sooner?

No. We process all applications in the order received to provide a fair andequitable service to all clients. Subsequently, we process incompleteapplications according to the date all information is received.

You can reduce processing delays by ensuring you submit a fully completedapplication with all required and correctly completed supporting documents.

Can I change the information submitted with my permit application?

You can request changes to your application by emailing Imports andreferencing your application number, or by sending correspondence to usthrough your BICON account.

We will advise you if we require further information to assess the change.

Can I change the contact details on an import permit?

The person who originally applied for a finalised import permit can submit apermit variation request by logging into their BICON account. If the originalapplicant is no longer involved with your import, you will need to submit anew application, including all required supporting documentation.

We will advise you if further information is required for us to assess eachapplication.

Can I change the animal details on my application or import permit?

We require a veterinary history or microchip registration certificate thatverifies a cat or dog’s breed before we will consider changing the breedlisted on an application or finalised import permit.

How long is my import permit valid for?

As of 1 March 2021, an import permit for a cat or dog will be valid for 12months or until the Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) test expires(where applicable), whichever occurs first.

If your cat or dog’s RNAT is close to expiring, we recommend that you arrangefor a new test to be performed before the current test expires, and submitboth laboratory reports, with endorsement on an RNATT Declaration, with yourpermit application.

Can I extend the expiry date on my import permit?

No. If you do not import your animal before their import permit expires, youmust apply for a new import permit. You will need to submit all requiredsupporting documentation and pay applicable lodgement and assessment fees.

Why can’t the department waive fees for import permits during the

pandemic?

The fees and charges for import permit assessment are legislated in theBiosecurity Regulation 2016 and Biosecurity Charges Imposition (General)Regulation 2016. Therefore, we can’t waive permit application and assessmentfees.

The Australian Government’s Cost Recovery Policy requires the department torecoup the cost of providing its biosecurity services through theimplementation of fees for services provided. This means the individuals whobenefit from these services are responsible for payment of associated costs,reducing the burden to the Australian taxpayer.

Can I be refunded the import permit fees if I don’t use my permit?

As we operate on a cost recovery basis, the import permit application fee isnon-refundable once our officers process an application. The fees are for thelodgement and assessment of an import permit application, not the granting oruse of a permit. ​

Further information

We encourage importers to check our website or subscribe to our mailing listfor up to date information as import conditions can change without notice.

If you require further information, please call 1800 900 090 or email Imports.

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