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Q: Can I take 3 computers on my trip to Sydney? ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Can I take 3 computers on my trip to Sydney?
Category: Computers
Asked by: sherpaj-ga
List Price: $12.00
Posted: 28 Feb 2003 18:09 PST
Expires: 30 Mar 2003 18:09 PST
Question ID: 169034
I am going on a consulting project to Sydney, Australia to see a
client.  I’ll be staying 4 days and then returning on the same flight
as my client.  I need to bring 3 computers down there with me.   Here
is the list.

- There is my laptop, which I will be bringing back.
- There is a secondary laptop that belongs to my client and that they
will be bringing back
- There is a desktop (tower or minitower) that I will be giving to my
client and leaving at his house.

I have 2 questions.
1 – Is there any restriction on the amount of computer that I can
bring in?
2 – For the desktop one, can I just put it into my suitcase and stuff
clothes?   I haven’t bought it yet, maybe I can get something more
portable.  My budget is around $700.

Clarification of Question by sherpaj-ga on 28 Feb 2003 20:24 PST
PS - I need to leave in a few days.
Subject: Re: Can I take 3 computers on my trip to Sydney?
Answered By: angy-ga on 28 Feb 2003 22:30 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi, Sherpaj !

There's no restriction that I can find that says you cannot bring
three computers into Australia, but you will need all documentation
relating to them and you will need to declare them to Customs. A
letter from your client would be a big help, especially if the
machines are new rather than secondhand, or they may assume you are
importing commercial samples.

Unless packing the third one in your luggage is the safest way to pack
it to protect the machine , it is probably better to travel it in its
commercial packaging because the scanners are sure to pick it up, and
Customs will probably think you're smuggling if they see a minitower
among your socks. Not so likely with a laptop or notebook.

The Australian Customs' own Website is at:

Here they state, under information for Business Travellers:

"Laptop computers and other similar electronic equipment for personal
use may also be brought in duty/tax free provided Customs is satisfied
you are taking these goods with you on departure."


"Temporary importation of commercial goods
Carnets may be obtained for temporary duty/tax free entry of goods
such as commercial samples, jewellery, goods for international
exhibitions, equipment for sporting events, professional television
and film equipment etc. Contact your International Chamber of Commerce
for application details.
For more information on importing goods, contact a Customs office or
an Australian mission overseas or refer to the Customs brochure
Customs Information for Importers available at Customs offices in
Australia or at Australian missions overseas."

They can be emailed direct at
You can also contact a Customs Information Centre on 1300 363 263 from
anywhere in Australia or +61 2 6275 6666 from outside Australia. If
you do enquire this way, I suggest print out the email response and
bring it with your documentation, or make a note of who you spoke to
and when.

On their site there is also a Customs' Guide to importing and
exporting is available for download as a pdf file from:

It includes contact details for Customs Information Centres in each
state. For Sydney (New South Wales) you would phone +61 2 9213 4043.
Remember Sunday in the US is Monday in Australia, as well as the time

So your own laptop should present no problem. You may be given a
document to present at the time of departure. The second laptop -
which is leaving with your client but on the same flight as you -
shouldn't be a problem, but they could decide to hold it in bond for
your collection on the day of departure.

The computer that is to remain in Australia will almost certainly be
subject to taxes, both duty and GST, payable on entering the country.
They do take credit cards. Expect to pay about 20 -22% of value for

Are you sure it is economical to bring these in for your client? If
the laptop is new, it might be just as useful to buy one in Australia
duty-free before leaving the country, and you would not have the
hassle of transporting and explaining it.

Muecke's website has some useful advice at:

"Imports of low value will generally be released by Customs for
delivery direct to consignees. In all other cases, importers are
responsible for obtaining:
	formal Customs clearance by customs entry for goods above set value
limits, currently:
	$250 for goods imported by sea and air cargo .....
	either formal or informal clearance for consignments valued at or
below these amounts - the goods may be cleared on an approved form -
Informal Clearance Document.
Australian Customs impose cost recovery charges for the processing of
entries - this presently ranges from a minimum of $26.00 to $35.00,
and will increase with the number of entry lines required.
Customs duty and/or sales tax are levied on many items entering
Australia. Rates vary and depend on a number of factors such as type
of goods and country of origin.
Customs does not require companies or individuals to hold an import
licence. However, depending on the nature of the commodity and
regardless of value, owners may need to obtain permits to clear the
goods. "

Your local Australian Embassy can probably advise on permits.

Muecke go on to say:

"Documents required for customs clearance and delivery 
Documents must be in ENGLISH, or have an acceptable translation, and
should include:

	Commercial Invoice 
	This must be prepared by the seller (not freight forwarder or
similar agent). The values must be the true commercial values, even if
the goods are no charge.
	It must include: 
	name of owner 
	level of price (eg: FOB, CIF, etc) 
	separate line for each different type of goods, with each line
showing a full description of those goods and the individual quantity,
price and total for that line
	any discount must be fully described 
	total cost of all goods 
	amount of royalties (if any) payable in respect of the goods 
	particulars of all arrangements or undertakings that have, or may
have, the effect of varying the selling price of the goods whether by
way of discount, rebate, compensation or any other means
	costs of forwarding, freight and insurance separately specified "

The page also gives details of the GST (Goods and Services Tax)
payable on all imports for home use in Australia.

GST is calculated as 10% of the Value of the Taxable Importation
(VoTI). This is the sum of the:
	customs value 
	the amount of customs duty paid 
	the amount paid or payable to transport the goods to Australia
('overseas freight')
	the amount of insurance paid or payable to insure the goods for the
transport ('overseas insurance') "

It is generally payable at the time of import.

Australian Customs Officials are generally fairly reasonable, as long
as you are straightforward with them and declare everything openly.
You will be given a Customs Declaration form on the plane. Expect to
spend some time clearing Customs, especially if you have not obtained
permits in advance and are therefore filling our paperwork on the

Good luck, and enjoy your stay in our beautiful city.
sherpaj-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Can I take 3 computers on my trip to Sydney?
From: serenata-ga on 28 Feb 2003 19:00 PST
Hi Sherpaj ~

I don't know about regulations, but you might want to think about
shipping one or two of those separately ... I can't even begin to
imagine the problems trying to carry them in luggage or aboard a plane
is going to cause going through customs and airline security.

In any case, I'd call the airlines for starters to find out their
policies on carrying three computers with you and returning with one.

Subject: Re: Can I take 3 computers on my trip to Sydney?
From: angy-ga on 01 Mar 2003 00:46 PST
I forgot to list my search strategy. It was:

Australian Customs and Excise

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