Guidelines for completing a nominee customs broker licence application

These guidelines will help you to provide all the information needed to fairly assess your application to be a nominee customs broker licence under the Customs Act 1901 (Cwth) (the Act).

The Nominee application checklist (217KB PDF) provides comprehensive information about all the documents you need to provide to complete your application. This includes various forms such as the B738 Application for nominee customs broker licence form (876KB PDF), official documents, such as your Diploma of Customs Broking (or other accepted relevant qualification), identification documents as per the 100 Points of Identification Guidelines (200KB PDF) and a detailed statement about your acquired professional experience. You need to prepare these documents carefully and in as much detail as possible.

Note that the application fee is not refundable.

Self-assessment before applying

Before lodging your application, think carefully about whether or not you have enough depth and breadth of experience. Most applicants who fail in their first attempt to gain a licence do so because they make their application too soon, and have not gained sufficient experience. We suggest that you review the information on Acquired Experience to help you assess your readiness. Significant gaps might indicate that your application would be premature.

You need to have a detailed discussion with your supervising broker(s) and seek their views on whether or not they think you are sufficiently experienced. Specifically ask them if they think you are ready to take on the full role, activities, responsibilities and obligations of a licensed nominee customs broker.

Statement of Acquired Experience

Detailed guidance on how to write your Statement of Acquired Experience is in the Nominee application checklist (217KB PDF).

Your referees must confirm, in the written reference, that they have read your Statement of Acquired Experience, and agree that it is a fair and accurate representation of your grounds to be granted a licence.

More information about what is required of your referees can be found in the Referee guideline for nominee broker licence applications. You need to provide your referees with a copy of the Referee Guideline, to assist them in the preparation of the references.

Requirements to be a customs broker

Sections 183CC and 183CD of the Act set out the criteria you must meet to be granted a nominee customs broker licence, the three core criteria being that you must:

  1. be a fit and proper person to hold a licence
  2. be qualified to be a customs broker through holding a Diploma of Customs Broking or other recognised relevant qualification (unless formally exempted)
  3. have sufficient acquired experience to carry out the work of a customs broker in a satisfactory and responsible manner.

1. Fit and proper status

Section 183CC of the Act specifies a list of things that the Comptroller-General of Customs must consider in determining ‘fit and proper’ status. This includes criminal convictions, bankruptcy and any false or misleading statements made. However, this list is not exhaustive and consideration can be given to any other matter seen as relevant.

We conduct a number of background checks, including police and criminal history, previous cargo importations and interactions with the department and other indications of general character and integrity. The General Consent provides us with the authority to perform these checks. An explanation of the various background checks is set out in the Privacy Notice for customs broker licence applications (496KB PDF) and National Police History Check documents.

Disclosing something adverse in your past, such as a previous conviction or non-compliance with customs law, might not automatically disqualify you from being granted a licence. However, failure to disclose such information might create doubt as to your integrity. You will be required to attest to the truthfulness and accuracy of all statements and documents in your application by signing a Statutory Declaration for customs broker licence (264KB PDF). Penalties apply for making a false or misleading statutory declaration, and for providing false or misleading information in a licence application.

2. Academic qualification

You must show that you have completed an approved course of study. The current approved course of study is TLI50816 Diploma of Customs Broking (the Diploma). However, if you have completed an earlier approved course of study, you might still meet the study requirement.

If you completed an approved course some time ago, you might need to demonstrate that you have the knowledge contained in the current Diploma, and/ or complete any additional units of study.

It is possible to apply for an exemption from completing an approved course. For an exemption to be granted, you need to clearly demonstrate that you have otherwise acquired the knowledge contained in the Diploma. This usually requires an interview with the National Customs Brokers Licensing Advisory Committee (NCBLAC).

Further information on the NCBLAC interview process can be found in NCBLAC interviews for licence applicants.

3. Acquired experience

Acquired experience is derived not from study, but from the practical implementation of your knowledge. You must show that you have sufficient breadth and depth of experience in broker-like functions and can carry out the responsibilities of a licensed nominee customs broker to a high standard with minimal supervision.

There is a wide variety of activities that a licensed nominee customs broker might be required to undertake. It is not expected that you will have had actual experience in every one of these activities. However, you are expected to have had actual experience across a sufficiently broad range of activities to give reasonable confidence that you are able to properly identify, research and undertake broker activities new to you. You need to demonstrate that you can rely on your experience, due diligence, the knowledge gained in your studies, and your general skills in performing broker duties in a satisfactory and responsible manner.

Experience in a limited range of broker-like activities is not sufficient to demonstrate that you have sufficient acquired experience to be licensed as a nominee customs broker.

You need to provide a Statement of Acquired Experience, detailing and demonstrating your relevant knowledge, expertise and experience; and how you have acquired these through your work in the industry. Your Statement of Acquired Experience needs to demonstrate the breadth and depth of your experience and responsibility in performing broker-like functions and how you applied due diligence in doing so. It is recommended that you use the information in the Nominee application checklist (217KB PDF) to help you write your Statement of Acquired Experience.

National Customs Brokers Licensing Advisory Committee (NCBLAC)

Once we have received your completed application it is provided to NCBLAC. NCBLAC will review your application and make a recommendation to the Comptroller-General of Customs about your suitability to be a licensed nominee customs broker.

If you do not adequately demonstrate that you meet the three requirements, NCBLAC might recommend that the Comptroller-General refuse to grant the licence.

Alternatively, you might be asked to attend an interview with NCBLAC.

Paragraph 273GA(1)(k) of the Customs Act 1901 states that decisions are reviewable by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. To have a decision reviewed you must apply to the Tribunal within 28 days from the date of the letter advising of the Comptroller-General’s decision, or any such further time allowed in accordance with section 29 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975.

We recommend that you complete the B319 (809KB PDF) ICS Client Registration form and forward it to the Cargo Information and Support Centre in Sydney at the same time as you submit your application to Broker Licensing.

Completed applications must be mailed to the following address:

Broker Licensing
Department of Home Affairs
5 Constitution Avenue
Canberra ACT 2601

More information

If you have any queries regarding application requirements email: brokers.licensing@homeaffairs.gov.au.