Shipping·Nov 4, 2022

How do I ship from the US to Australia?

attractive young woman with grey jacket and blue sydney opera house in backgroundArticle updated on Nov 4, 2022

International shipments can be tricky from time to time if you are not experienced in doing international shipments, but like every problem, this one has a solution too. Forwardme offers a complete guide on how to ship from the US to Australia, including customs regulations, needed paperwork, prohibited or restricted items, courier options, and shipment methods. You can easily shop and ship from the US to Australia after reading this blog.

Customs regulations of Australia

When shipping internationally, you always have to take the customs regulations of both countries involved in the shipment into account. The United States has very specific customs regulations that you need to be aware of before shipping anything overseas. These include items such as alcohol, tobacco, food, and drugs. You cannot ship these products out of the United States, and in addition to these items, you cannot also ship flammable, explosive, or hazardous items.

Australia has its own set of customs regulations. These include items such as animals, plants, and plant products. You can check out full Australia Customs Regulations too. You will need the following paperwork when shipping from the US to Australia:

  • A bill of lading - This is a document that lists the items being shipped, who is shipping them, and where they are going.
  • A commercial invoice - This is a document that provides customs with information about the transaction including a description of the goods being shipped and their value.
  • Proof of insurance - If you are shipping valuable items or items that are replaceable only by purchasing them again, you will need to provide proof of insurance in case something happens to them during transit.

Needed paperwork 

In addition to the import declaration form, you will need other documentation depending on the type of goods you are importing. For example, if you are importing food items, you will need an import permit from the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS). AQIS has a list of all the permits that may be required for different types of goods. 

You will also need a commercial invoice that details the purchase of goods between a buyer and a seller. The invoice should include a description of the goods being shipped as well as their value in Australian dollars.

Tax rates

International shipping has lots of details to consider, for example, taxes and de minimis value. Australia has a de minimis threshold of AUD1000. What the de minimis threshold means is that the importer must pay the minimum amount to be taxed. For Australia, if your package value is less than A$1000, you will not be bothered with taxes. Let’s say your package value is higher than A$1000. What would be the rate of tax? You will have to pay 5% of the total value of the package to customs if its value is higher than A$1000. Even though this is a piece of general information, we strongly recommend you contact your local customs office to get exact information on the items you will be shipping to Australia from the US.

Prohibited & Restricted Items

Certain items are prohibited from being imported into Australia, such as drugs and weapons. Some items are restricted, which means that an import permit is required before they can be brought into the country. 

Restricted items include plants, animals and animal products, used vehicles, and certain types of food. AQIS has more information on prohibited and restricted items. When shipping internationally, certain items are prohibited or restricted from being shipped. You can also check the Australian Government’s list of Prohibited items.

Here is a list of prohibited items list;

  • All Meat Products
  • All Wood Products
  • Paintball Guns and Paintball Ammunition
  • Health Supplements containing Hoodia, Yohimbe, and DHEA.
  • Pine cones
  • Wooden ornaments manufactured from plant material
  • Fresh fruit
  • Items of meat origin or containing meat (all types, e.g., beef jerky, etc.)
  • Items containing egg or dairy
  • Items of plant origin (e.g., decorations made from vine material, wreaths, flowers, potpourri, etc.)
  • Unpopped popcorn
  • Nuts

Here is a list of restricted items list:

  • Knives and daggers
  • Laser pointers
  • Pencils and paintbrushes, Haz
  • Pornography and other objectionable material
  • Woolpacks
  • Ceramic ware, glazed
  • Chewing tobacco and oral snuff
  • Cosmetics, Haz
  • Dog collars, protrusion
  • Erasers, novelty
  • Fly swatters/mosquito bats, electronic
  • Goods bearing an image of the Australian national flag and coat of arms
  • Goods bearing an image of the Australian state or territory flags and coat of arms
  • Incandescent lamps
  • Goods that are subject to import controls include but are not limited to, the following: Goods subject to censorship controls; goods, as identified by the United Nations, which are subject to trade restrictions; and goods that are regulated by the Consumer Affairs Division of the Department of Treasury.

Courier options

Various courier companies offer stellar shipping services from the United States to Australia, each with its unique rates and services. Among the renowned ones are FedEx, UPS, and DHL, all of which require a thorough comparison before making your choice.

  • Firstly, let's consider FedEx. They provide two notable shipment services to Australia - FedEx Economy and Priority. The Economy option is cost-effective, although it may take longer, while Priority is ideal for urgent shipments, albeit at a higher cost. The estimated delivery timeframe is 5-10 business for Economy, 2-5 business for Priority.
  • Next, we have DHL. They offer DHL Priority and DHL Express, both renowned for reliable and efficient services. DHL Priority is an optimal choice for time-critical deliveries, but it can be expensive. DHL Express, on the other hand, is a balance of speed and cost, but it might not be as fast as the Priority service. The estimated delivery time of DHL is 4-8 business days.
  • Lastly, UPS enters the scene with its Worldwide Expedited service, which stands as one of the fastest delivery methods currently on the market. This means your packages can reach your doorstep in Australia within a few business days, offering convenience at its best. However, it's worth noting that this speed comes with a higher price tag. The estimated delivery timeframe is 2-5 business days.

How Forwardme can help you?

Forwardme is your ideal partner when it comes to facilitating shipments from the US to Australia. Offering comprehensive assistance in every step of the process, Forwardme enables you to shop with ease from any US online store. But our services don't stop there. We also handle the often daunting task of managing the necessary paperwork for customs, ensuring a smooth, hassle-free passage for your goods. In addition, Forwardme prides itself on providing cost-effective shipping rates, allowing you to enjoy the excitement of online shopping without worrying about expensive international shipping fees. With Forwardme, you can focus on finding your desired items while we take care of the complexities of international shipping.

The cheapest way to ship your packages

As you can see, international shipping can be tricky if you are not familiar with it, and you might think shipping packages to Australia from the USA might be complicated, but rest assured, it is not! Forwardme, your shipping friend in the US, can help you with your shipments. Forwardme offers the cheapest way to ship to Australia by working with major international courier companies like UPS, DHL, and FedEx, offering cost-effective, fast transit times for you to save money. 

With Forwardme, you can get your items for your Australian customers or items for your store, saving you lots of expenses. Moreover, Forwardme will leave you no inquiry to handle; we will get your package, prepare it, prepare your paperwork, and ship your package to your doorstep!

Forwardme, your shipping friend in the US, offers many advantages for you. You can get a quote for your shipment, take advantage of our consolidation/repacking service, get insurance for your shipment, and you can get to know how to get a free US address to shop from with ease!

Article written by

Janet W.

Janet Woodjack
Janet is constantly drawn to fresh and engaging activities that pique her curiosity. That's how her current pursuits emerged: salsa dancing, stargazing, culinary experiments, content creation, and informing her readers about international shopping & shipping through her blogs. Content creation and informing readers about international shopping & shipping have become her primary interests at Forwardme.More links