Import and export control on weapons

Importing weapons

The importation of certain weapons is controlled under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the PI Regulations). Importers must obtain permission to bring weapons into Australia.

For a full description of each weapon controlled on import, see Schedule 13 of the PI Regulations.

Import permission must be approved in writing by the Minister, or an authorised person, before the importation of the goods. There are strict tests detailed in Schedule 13 of the PI Regulations that define the circumstances under which import permission for controlled weapons may be authorised.

An overview of the tests applicable to importing weapons is available at firearms and weapons.

Applications for permission to import can be made by governments, individuals and private companies. They will only be considered when the importation complies with one of the tests. The documents required vary depending on the type of weapon and the applicable tests.

For items that are subject to the police certification test, import permission can be approved by your state or territory police firearms and weapons registry.

Some of these items might also be subject to the public or national interest test which is applicable in very limited circumstances.

Goods that are imported without a valid permit might be subject to seizure, disposal and/or prosecution.

Validity of the documents

Permission documents generally apply to one importation only and are usually valid for six months to twelve months dependant on end user requirements.

Ongoing permissions are considered if certain application conditions are met that is supply, under contract, to the government of the Commonwealth, State or Territory.

How to apply

All applications must be made in writing using Form B710 – Application for Permission to Import Schedule 13 Weapons (779KB PDF).

Applications must be made prior to the importation of the goods. The assessment process takes approximately four weeks from receipt by the processing office and might be extended if additional information is required or the application is considered incomplete.

In addition to the B710, supporting documents must accompany an application to demonstrate that the importation satisfies the relevant test.

Lodgement of an application does not guarantee permission to import will be granted and goods should not be forwarded to Australia until notified of the approval in writing.

Required supporting documents

You must provide the following supporting documents with your application:

  • a copy of a licence or authorisation that demonstrates the importer is authorised to possess, use and/or deal in the goods for the importer's intended use in accordance with the law of the state or territory in which the goods are to be used, if required
  • Form B711 – Evidence of Government Use for the Import of Schedule 13 Weapons (576KB PDF), if required
  • a copy of purchase order, supporting letter, contract, if ordering for a third party (such as a government); and
  • any other documents specific to the type of test you are applying under.

Certain countries are subject to sanctions when importing certain goods. The countries and goods subject to a sanctions regime can be confirmed by visiting the sanctions regimes webpage on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

Exporting weapons

Certain weapons are controlled on export out of Australia under Regulation 13E of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 and might be subject to export permit requirements and conditions.

Export requirements apply to goods listed on the Defence and Strategic Goods List, these include:

  • military goods
  • stun guns
  • body armour
  • anti-personnel goods and
  • military-grade lasers.

Certain countries are subject to sanctions when exporting certain goods. The countries and goods subject to a sanctions regime can be confirmed by visiting the sanctions regimes webpage on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

For information on obtaining export permission, or to determine if an item requires export permission, see Defence Export Controls website.


The maximum penalty for importing or exporting restricted weapons without import permission is a fine not exceeding 2500 penalty units or 10 years imprisonment, or both, for each offence.