On this page you will find answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Australia’s wildlife trade regulations and permit requirements, together with useful links to further information. Please note that these answers are subject to change.
Your permit application should be processed within 40 business days.
Once you have checked the relevant lists of plants and animals to determine whether you need a permit, you can apply using the online permit application form.
The Department has developed a fact sheet for rosewood trade.
The Department has developed a guide for Ivory, rhino horn and other elephant and rhino products. Because ivory comes from CITES listed species import and export of this commodity is restricted. New ivory can enter the country under very limited circumstances e.g. for the purposes of forensic or scientific research. You will require a permit to bring vintage ivory into or out of Australia. You can check if a permit is required for export by working through our Do I need a permit page, or you can apply directly for an export permit using the online permit application form.
Yes, if they contain either a CITES listed species or a regulated native species. You can check if the species is CITES listed here: Checklist of CITES species. You can check whether the species is a regulated native species on the Species Profile and Threats Database.
To learn more about CITES visit our CITES page. To learn more about the regulation of native species visit our Australian natives page. To learn more about vintage or antique items visit our Vintage or antique items page.
You cannot bring elephant ivory into Australia unless you have a pre-CITES certificate. These certificates tell us that the animal died before the species was listed on CITES in 1975.
If your pet bird is a native Australian species, you may be able to take it out of the country. Information about which native bird species can be taken overseas can be found on: Exporting and importing household pets.
Bird species that are not native and are not on the CITES list (Checklist of CITES species) can usually leave Australia.
If your bird is not a native species but is on the CITES list you will need to apply for an export permit.
Please remember to also check the permit and quarantine requirements of the country you are travelling to.
No. Export of live native Australian birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians is not permitted for commercial purposes.
You cannot bring whale teeth into Australia unless you have a pre-CITES certificate. These certificates tell us that the animal died before the species was listed on CITES in 1975.
Pets that may be brought into Australia are on the live import list. Pets that are not on this list cannot be brought into Australia.
If your pet is on part one of the live import list and also on Appendix II or III of the CITES lists (Checklist of CITES species), you will need a permit. All animals on part two of the live import list will need a permit.
Please make sure you check the conditions outlined on the live import list.
The most common reasons are:
- You did not have a valid wildlife trade permit.
- You had a valid permit but did not produce it for inspection at the border.
- You had a valid permit but did not meet all of the conditions of the permit.
- There is evidence that the item was brought illegally to Australia some time ago.
A wide range of products need wildlife trade permits, not just whole animals and plants.
Australia has stricter wildlife trade rules than most other countries. You may need an Australian permit even if you don’t need a permit from another country.
No. There are no on-the-spot fines for having your item seized. In rare cases we may charge you for storage or disposal.
No. We keep records when items are seized. We do not use the records to “black-list” you.
Yes, but only if you can prove the item was not involved in an offence, e.g. by sending us a copy of your permit.
You must apply in writing to us or bring an action against the Commonwealth in a court. You must do so within 30 days of the date of the seizure.
To apply please use our online application service.
CITES is an agreement by countries to manage trade of listed animals and plants (checklist of CITES species), including their parts and products. Its full name is the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. See our CITES information page and the CITES home page.
Australia adopts a stronger position on trade in certain species than is required under our international obligations. You can read about our stricter domestic measures on the CITES page.
The Australian Government is working constantly to identify suspects and prosecute offenders. We use our powers to monitor and search passengers, cargo and premises, and to seize trafficked wildlife. You can help by reporting suspicious events or behaviour to us.
The penalties include fines and imprisonment, which vary depending on the offence. The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment and a $222,000 fine. The table below contains a complete description of the penalties.
in order of severity
|Importing or exporting a regulated specimen without an authorisation (permit) or exemption||Imprisonment for 10 years or 1,000 penalty units ($222,000) or both||Sections 303CC, 303CD, 303DD, 303EK|
|Possessing an illegally imported specimen or the progeny of such specimens||Imprisonment for 5 years or 1,000 penalty units ($222,000) or both||Section 303GN|
|Importing a specimen to Australia contrary to the corresponding laws of a foreign country||Imprisonment for 5 years||Section 303GQ|
|Subjecting a regulated specimen that is a live animal to cruel treatment when importing or exporting||Imprisonment for 2 years||Section 303GP|
|Providing false or misleading information to obtain a permit or in response to a condition on a permit||Imprisonment for 2 years or 120 penalty units ($26,640) or both||Sections 489, 490|
|Providing false or misleading information to an authorised officer||Imprisonment for 1 year or 60 penalty units ($13,320) or both||Section 491|
|Contravening a permit condition resulting in the disposal or release of a live animal or plant||600 penalty units ($133,200)||Section 303GF|
|Contravening a permit condition||300 penalty units ($66,600)||Section 303GF|
|Removing or interfering with a mark that identifies a specimen||120 penalty units ($26,640)||Section 303EV|
*Refer to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
New application online portal
New wildlife trade permit applications now need to be submitted through the new online portal https://onlineservices.environment.gov.au/.
Before you can submit any new permit applications you will need to register an account. Instructions on how to register your online services account are available at: How to register for Online Services (or right-click to copy link address, and paste the link into your browser).
The new portal includes new features, including:
- keeping a record of applications that you have lodged (noting any applications lodged using the old system will not be accessible)
- storing organisation details that you frequently use in your applications
- storing draft applications that you can resume later
- being able to copy data from previously submitted applications
- entry of more than one species contained in an item (i.e. handbags with mixed skins)
- keeping a record of other interactions and communications you may have with the Department, i.e. other applications
We expect the improvements that we have made to the online portal will help us process your permits more efficiently; however the 40 business day processing timeframe (which excludes weekends and public holidays) allowed for under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 has not changed.
No, applications submitted through the old system cannot be transferred to the new portal. However, the new portal does have a ‘copy application’ function. Once you submit an application in the new portal for the first time you will be able to copy that information into a subsequent application (editing any details as necessary prior to submission of the new application).