Who does this notice affect?

Importers of animals, biological and animal-based goods.

This temporary change relates to the import of goods where there is currentlya reliance on original paper health certificates (HCs). It does not applyto imports of goods where exporting countries already provide original HCs inelectronic format.


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the movement of airfreight andcourier mail in multiple countries.

The department has received notice from some exporting country CompetentAuthorities advising that they are unable to provide original paper-basedhealth certificates with consignments of animals, biological and animal-basedgoods exported to Australia.

Interim arrangements

We are extending our interim changes to import certification requirements forimporters of animals, biological and animal-based goods commodities until 30June 2022.

Where an importer has previously supplied original paper health certificatesfrom the exporting country Competent Authority and is now unable to do so as aresult of the COVID-19 pandemic, the department’s assessors will accept anelectronic copy of the health certificates as lodged by customs brokersthrough our standard lodgement process.

Our assessors may, in some cases, request verification of documentationdirectly from the exporting country Competent Authority or use an online toolprovided by that Authority to authenticate documents.

The department will pursue any evidence of fraudulent documentation as per ourstandard compliance practice.

We will advise stakeholders of any further extension to these interimarrangements closer to 30 June 2022

Please note:

  • Please do not email individual HC copies to the department. Our assessors will access them from our Cargo Online Lodgement System (COLS).
  • If the assessor requires verification of documentation, they will:
    • request, via the importer or broker, that the exporting Competent Authority email documents directly to our relevant regional office, or
    • use an online tool managed by the exporting Competent Authority.
  • Where a paper original is issued by the exporting Competent Authority, we recommend that it is attached to the goods and/or consignments to minimise potential delays at inspection.
Eligibility for interim arrangements

This arrangement applies where the exporting country Competent Authority doesnot already use an electronic means of transferring HCs, and

  • the exporting Competent Authority has asked to use alternatives to original paper PCs, and
  • they have provided a point of contact or an online tool so that we can verify the electronic copy before releasing the goods.
  • Point of contact information (not Health Certificates) can be emailed to us at [email protected] (note, we will only accept information provided by an official government email address).
Further information

If you have questions or need further information, you can contact our ImportServices team on:

  • Email at imports
  • Phone (from within Australia): 1800 900 090
  • Phone (from outside Australia): + 61 3 8318 6700

Visit the department’s COVID-19 information hub for current information andadvice on changes to our services due to COVID-19.

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