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Paperwork & Customs

Shipping your treasured belongings half way across the world from the UK to Australia is likely to feel like a daunting task and it’s often difficult to know where to start. There are many companies out there who will offer you their shipping to Australia services; most of these companies are highly efficient and reliable, but it can be time-consuming to sort the reputable from the unreliable when there are so many to choose from, especially if you don’t have much experience in the field. This is where Shiply can help.

The most common reason for people to ship their possessions from the UK to Australia is when they come to relocate. Relocating to Australia is a growing trend; Australia offers some fantastic career opportunities and a greater quality of life for families. However, the actual relocation process can be a very stressful time as a family or individual prepares to say goodbye to their friends.

There is also a huge amount of paperwork to get through in order to ensure that visas and work permits are completed accurately. In the lead up to your relocation, it’s important that you spend time getting familiar with the shipment process because this will enable you to follow the correct procedures to guarantee your belongings to safely reach your new home.

Australia has a very strict set of customs laws that you must follow in order for your shipment to be allowed into the country. There are some sad cases where families have misunderstood the Australian customs laws and have suffered serious penalties for their mistake. The strict customs laws safeguard the country by preventing disease to enter the country via plants and animals.

We decided to put this guide together to assist people looking to ship their belongings from the UK to Australia. Our aim is to provide hints and tips that will ensure your shipment reaches Australia as smoothly as possible.

Cargo on ship being transported internationally to Australia

Choosing the Shipping Company

There are hundreds and hundreds of companies out there offering shipping to Australia services; some are based in the UK whilst others operate from Australia.

Selecting a shipping company is often a difficult decision because you must entrust them with your possessions. The shipping requirements from one person to the next can vary dramatically and the guidelines and information that you find will not necessarily be tailored to your needs. The following list should provide a checklist of questions to ask each shipment company before you select their services.

ReviewsA good place to start is by checking the Internet for reviews of each shipping company. If an individual has had a terrible experience with a particular shipping company then they are likely to use the Internet to vent their anger and to warn others to stay clear.

On the other hand, a reputable company is likely to showcase positive customer testimonials on their website. It may also be advisable to ask the shipping company to provide a reference.


It is recommended to choose a shipping company who will help you with your packing. Export packing is time-consuming and using a fully trained packing and wrapping service can really smooth the process and guarantee that your belongings arrive safely. It is necessary to produce an inventory list to go along with your shipment and a specialist packing company will put this together on your behalf.


When choosing a shipping company, it’s also worth considering whether they offer an additional import service. Australian customs are notoriously strict. By choosing a service provider who is experienced with the customs process you will likely save time and money, as they will be able to handle any customs issues on your behalf


It is vital that you check that your chosen shipping company has the necessary insurance policies in place to compensate you should your shipment get lost or damaged. There are several kinds of insurance available and your shipping company should offer you personal advice depending on the nature and value of your shipment.

Customer service

When moving abroad, the last thing you want is to be presented with an uncooperative and unhelpful team. You should look for shipping companies who have a permanent office address, are easy to get hold of and who are always happy to answer your questions.

Trading Standards

When selecting a shipping company, look for organisations that meet approved trading standards, such as the British Association of Removers or the International Furniture Movers Association.

Completing Shipping

When your shipment arrives at the destination port in Australia, a member of your shipping to Australia company should contact you to arrange your shipment to go through customs. If your chosen shipping company also supply import services then your import agent will help you to complete the necessary Customs Declaration Forms. A Customs Officer will check every item in your shipment before it is cleared to enter the country.

All shipments that arrive in Australia are subject to a Quarantine Inspection Service and your shipping company will make an appointment to have your goods inspected. If your belongings are deemed to need fumigation or steam cleaning then your shipping company will get in touch with you to approve the extra costs. On average, the customs and quarantine process should take between two and three weeks.

Once your goods have been cleared to enter the country they are ready to be delivered to your new home. Your shipping company will contact you to arrange a delivery day. On arrival, they should help you to unpack your shipment. We advise that you follow your inventory list to check that each belonging has reached your new home in its original condition.

In the unfortunate instance that any item has been damaged during transit then you should contact your shipping company to make an insurance claim. Your shipping company will also assist you by removing any unwanted packing boxes or debris, leaving you to start your new life down under!

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