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Control Permit

Information for yachts travelling to Australia – introduction

The information contained in this booklet applies to the non-commercial use of yachts, motor sailers and motor cruisers and provides an outline of the procedures and legal requirements which apply to the Master of these vessels arriving in and departing from Australia.

If you are in charge of any of the above mentioned craft, you are considered the Master of the craft, even if you are not its owner and the owner is on board.

Whether you are a returning resident, migrating to Australia or a visitor, you need to comply with entry requirements. You can help speed this up if you follow these simple steps:

  • Make sure each person on board has a valid visa and passport;
  • You are required by law to notify Customs before you arrive. Let us know you are coming!

information for yachts travelling to australia – let us know you’re coming

The Master of a vessel arriving in Australia is required by law to give notice of impending arrival not later than 96 hours before arrival. Penalties may apply for failure to do so.

If the journey, from a place outside Australia, is likely to take less than ninety-six (96) hours then the below sliding scale is used based on the steaming time from the previous foreign port (section 64(5)(b)(i) of the Customs Act- Customs Regulations section 27).

Item Likely duration of journey Specified period
1 72 hours or more but less than 96 hours 72 hours
2 48 hours or more but less than 72 hours 48 hours
3 24 hours or more but less than 48 hours 24 hours
4 Less than 24 hours 12 hours

There are several agencies interested in your arrival – principally Customs, Quarantine and Immigration.

96 hours notice may be given by either;

  • Sending an email to
  • Sending a fax to +61 2 6275 5078
  • Phoning the Australian Customs National Communications Centre on +61 3 9244 8973

You will need to provide the following information:

  • The name of your craft
  • Craft’s Country and Port of Registration
  • Your intended first port of arrival
  • Your estimated arrival time
  • Your last four ports
  • The details of people on board including name, date of birth, nationality and passport number
  • Details of any illness or disease recently encountered
  • If you have any animals on board
  • If you have any firearms on board

Clearly display the International Pratique Q-flag and travel directly to an appointed boarding station;

Complete the Arrival forms and Incoming Passenger Card.

Australia has strict laws to protect its citizens and natural environment. Penalties may be imposed if you breach those laws by illegally importing:

  • Drugs;
  • Animal or plant material;
  • Firearms, weapons or ammunition;
  • Protected wildlife and products made from them;
  • Some food items; and
  • Some medicinal products including Performance Enhancing Drugs.

Please read this information carefully

Information for yachts travelling to Australia – your stay

When you arrive in Australia, there are a number of clearance options depending on when you intend to leave. If you intend to leave within twelve months, you may be granted a control permit, asked to provide a security for temporary importation or to formally import the craft. See the Clearance Options for Visting Smallcraft factsheet for more information.    Both options provide access to Australian waters and lands.

Control permits

A control permit will be issued to the Master of the craft if Customs is satisfied the craft is transiting Australia for non-commercial purposes. Control permits may be issued for a period of 12 months, or the length of the Master’s visa, whichever is less. Extension of the permit may be granted on application, provided that you meet eligibility requirements and have an appropriate visa.

You will be required to comply with certain conditions attached to the issue of the permit.

Cruising permits will not be issued if:

  • The vessel is owned or operated by an Australian resident unless exceptional circumstances apply;
  • The vessel is to be used for commercial purposes (eg charter, hire or lease);
  • The vessel, or parts of the vessel, are to be sold or listed for sale.

If circumstances of the craft’s presence in Australia change, you are required to advise Customs. Failure to do so can result in a cruising permit being revoked and the vessel being deemed imported at which time payment of duty and tax will be required.

What if the Master wants to fly home and come back later?

This is possible but you must advise Customs and make arrangements for appropriate control over the vessel. Further information can be obtained from the Customs office at your intended port of arrival. See details on the Ports of Entry page.

Temporary importation of vessels

If your visa allows you to reside in Australia for a limited period you may be required to temporarily import a craft into Australia. Temporary importation without paying Customs duty and tax is subject to:

  • The vessel being exported within 12 months of arrival; and
  • A security in cash or an appropriate bank guarantee being provided equal to the duty and tax that would otherwise be payable.

When do I get my security back?

If a cash security has been given and a cash refund is sought it will be necessary for you to give advance notice to Customs at the proposed port of departure before you leave.

Further information can be obtained from the Customs office at your intended port of arrival. See details on the Ports of Entry page.

Formal Importation

If you are an Australia citizen, permanent resident of Australia or migrating to Australia on a craft purchased outside Australia, importation of the craft is required. Customs duty and tax are payable on any craft imported into Australia upon its arrival.