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Entry to Australia

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Everyone arriving in Australia by sea on cruise ships and commercial vessels are subject to immigration clearance. This applies whether they disembark the vessel or remain onboard.

Everyone who arrives in Australia by sea without a visa in effect will have the same legal status regardless of where they arrive, unless they are an excluded class or otherwise exempted. This means, all arrivals in Australia by illegal maritime means cannot make a valid application for a visa unless the Minister personally finds it is in the public interest to do so. They are also subject to mandatory immigration detention, are to be taken to a designated regional processing country and cannot institute or continue certain legal proceedings.

Before arrival in Australia

As a general rule, vessels are required to provide passenger and crew reports to Australian Customs and Border Protection Service no later than 96 hours before arriving in Australia. These reports are available electronically from Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

For international cruise ships electronic passenger and crew reports are also required to be transmitted through the department's Advance Passenger Processing (APP) system.
See: Advance Passenger Processing

Proclaimed port

All vessels arriving in Australia are required to enter at a proclaimed port for their first port of entry. Australian Customs and Border Protection Service may grant permission for a vessel to enter Australia at a place other than a proclaimed port under specified conditions. Contact Australian Customs and Border Protection Service for more information on proclaimed ports.

Immigration clearance

On arrival all passengers and crew need to hold a valid visa and present a valid passport. Passengers are also required to complete an Incoming Passenger Card. Australian Customs and Border Protection Service officers undertake immigration clearance procedures on behalf of the department at Australian seaports.

Last reviewed Wednesday 27 August 2014