Wildlife import and export permit information

Important notices for importers and exporters

From 14 September 2014, CITES permits will be required to internationally export or import any part or derivative (e.g. fillets, fins) of the following species: Scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), Smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena)...
Advice on the online permits application system which enables exporters to apply for their permit using a smart form. Using the online system, exporters are able to apply for CITES export permits for specimens sourced from an approved fishery.
Proposal to grant permits for export of plants harvested in Queensland under exceptional circumstances public comment period closed 5pm Friday 2 May 2014.
Release of the Management Program for the Saltwater Crocodile in the Northern Territory of Australia, 2014–2015
Permits are not required for the export of non–CITES listed Australian native coral species where they are harvested from commercial fisheries approved under the EPBC Act. Permits will still be required for the export of CITES–listed corals and exporters should ensure acceptable taxonomic names are used.
Musicians that wish to bring musical instruments, that are made from CITES-listed species, into or out of Australia are required to apply for the relevant import and export permits. Australia does not implement the 'passport' system as described in CITES Resolution Conf. 16.8
Fees for wildlife trade permit applications have changed. For further information see the new fee structure.
The Australian simplified list of CITES species has been updated to reflect changes to the species listed on the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Do you need a permit?

Australia strictly controls the international movement of wildlife, wildlife specimens and products made or derived from wildlife.

When you need a permit

You will need a permit under national environment law to:

If you do not obtain the relevant Australian export or import permit you may be breaking the law, and this may lead to the item being seized. Please be aware that retrospective permits cannot be issued for specimens that have already arrived or departed Australia.

When you don't need a permit

You do not need a permit to:

  • import non–CITES listed plants or animals that are included in Part 1 of the list of plants and animals suitable for live import
  • carry some plant or animal products as personal effects (baggage) when you are travelling to Australia from overseas
  • export a plant or animal (including products) if it is on the list of exempt native specimens
  • import or export a plant or animal (including products) if it is non–live, non–CITES and is not an Australian native species
  • export a plant or animal that is live, non–CITES and not an Australian native species.

Please note that permits may be required from other government agencies such as Department of Agriculture - Biosecurity. You should ensure that you contact all relevant agencies before you import or export a wildlife specimen or product.

Commercial or Non–commercial?

For non-commercial trade in live Australian native animals, native specimens and CITES–listed specimens such as research, education, exhibition or conservation breeding programs.

For commercial trade (such as buying and selling of plants and animals or items made from them).

Internationally endangered plants and animals

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) helps to ensure that international trade does not threaten species with extinction, protecting of species of animals and plants.

CITES places species into three appendices based on their conservation status and risk from trade.

Get permits before importing or exporting

Because retrospective permits are not issued, it is important you get a permit before importing or exporting.

  • If you do not obtain an Australian permit before consignment, your item may be seized.

Note: There are special requirements when exporting to the United States of America (USA).

Types of permits available

Single Use Permits

Single Use Permits are available for most transactions. They are valid for a single specified consignment, for a period of six months up to twelve months (six months in the case of CITES specimens). Single Use Permits for the export or import of live specimens (including household pets) require a welfare assessment. See Fees.

If you are unable to apply for a permit online – please contact this office to discuss an alternative method for submitting an application.

Wildlife Trade Regulation Section
GPO Box 787
Telephone: (02) 6274 1900
Email: wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au

Multiple Consignment Authorities

Multiple Consignment Authorities (formerly known as Multiple Use Permits) authorise an unlimited number of consignments of a particular range of specimens, for a period of up to three years (six months in the case of CITES specimens). Holders of Multiple Consignment Authorities are issued with uniquely numbered Specimen Export Records or Specimen Import Records. For each individual consignment, the permit holder must complete a Specimen Record describing the consignment. A photocopy of the Multiple Consignment Authority and an original Specimen Record should accompany the shipment. See Fees.

If you are unable to apply for a permit online – please contact this office to discuss an alternative method for submitting an application.

Wildlife Trade Regulation Section
GPO Box 787
Telephone: (02) 6274 1900
Email: wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au

Testing permits

Testing permits are available for some scientific purposes. They are valid for six months. More about Testing permits.

If you are unable to apply for a permit online – please contact this office to discuss an alternative method for submitting an application.

Wildlife Trade Regulation Section
GPO Box 787
Telephone: (02) 6274 1900
Email: wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au

Pre–CITES (or pre–Convention) certificates

Pre–CITES (or pre–Convention) certificates certify that a CITES specimen was acquired before the application of CITES to the species in question, and so is exempt from normal permitting requirements. There is no fee for a pre–CITES certificate. More about Pre–CITES certificates.

If you are unable to apply for a permit online – please contact this office to discuss an alternative method for submitting an application.

Wildlife Trade Regulation Section
GPO Box 787
Telephone: (02) 6274 1900
Email: wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au

Certificates of origin

Certificates of origin certify that a CITES Appendix III specimen was acquired in Australia, and so is exempt from normal permitting requirements. There is no fee for a certificate of origin. More about certificates of origin.

If you are unable to apply for a permit online – please contact this office to discuss an alternative method for submitting an application.

Wildlife Trade Regulation Section
GPO Box 787
Telephone: (02) 6274 1900
Email: wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au

Personal baggage permits

Personal baggage permits are available for the export of CITES Appendix II specimens in accompanied baggage for personal use. They are often ordered by manufacturers and wholesalers of tourist souvenirs, for supply at point of sale. You will need to complete some fields on the reverse side of these permits at the time of export. Please note that personal baggage permits do not apply to items sent via mail and/or freight—a valid CITES permit will be required for items that are not personally accompanied. See Fees. More about CITES specimens as personal effects.

If you are unable to apply for a permit online – please contact this office to discuss an alternative method for submitting an application.

Wildlife Trade Regulation Section
GPO Box 787
Telephone: (02) 6274 1900
Email: wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au

Statistical information on import and export permits for wildlife specimens

Certain information (excluding any personal or company details) on permit applications and decisions is available upon request. Enquiries may be forwarded to wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au.

Note that reports on Australia's trade in CITES-listed specimens are submitted annually to the CITES Secretariat, as required under Article VIII of the Convention. The data in these reports are maintained by the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre and available from the CITES Trade Database.

See also

For more information contact:

The Director
Wildlife Trade Regulation Section
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone: (02) 6274 1900

Facsimile: (02) 6274 1921

Email: wildlifetrade@environment.gov.au