How to become a Customs Broker

Customs brokers, acting under licences issued by the Australian Border Force, provide professional assistance and advice about customs, quarantine and import and export matters. Customs brokers provide advice to clients about a range of international trade matters including customs clearance, quarantine and biosecurity restrictions, trade mark requirements, indirect tax obligations and other import and export matters.

Personal requirements of a Customs Broker

  • Good communication skills
  • Good at mathematics
  • Good memory
  • High standard of personal integrity
  • Aptitude for working with computers
  • Good character, with no record of bankruptcy or criminal activity

Education & Training for a Customs Broker

To become a licensed customs broker you usually have to complete an accredited course in customs broking and be able to demonstrate adequate work experience in the customs broking industry. Entry to these courses usually requires Year 12. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. On completion of the course you will need to apply to the National Customs Brokers Licensing Advisory Committee (NCBLAC) for recommendation to the Australian Border Force for a customs brokers licence.

Duties & Tasks of a Customs Broker

Customs brokers may perform the following tasks:

  • provide information to importers about customs tariffs, including rates of duty and the methods of goods clearance
  • receive, prepare and process import documents
  • make reservations with shipping or airline companies for freight to be exported and arrange for the clearance of cargo (export declaration)
  • work with the Australian Border Force and other government authorities on the correct clearance of goods through customs and quarantine
  • advise on tariff classifications, tariff concessions, appraisals and overseas trade enquiries.

Working conditions for a Customs Broker

Customs brokers in small agencies may handle all aspects of the work, while in large agencies they may specialise in a specific area such as imports, exports or classifying. Customs brokers have a lot of contact with the public.

Employment Opportunities for a Customs Broker

Customs brokers are employed by customs brokerages, freight forwarders, couriers and other companies involved in the import and export of goods in and out of Australia. With experience, some customs brokers become partners or start their own businesses. Others move into management jobs or freight transport. Customs brokers are usually based at major receiving ports. Demand for customs brokers can fluctuate with the level of overseas trade (imports and exports).


Freight Forwarder

A freight forwarder administers the carriage of goods on behalf of a shipping company. Their duties include arranging cargo space on a vessel, providing documentation and arranging customs clearance.

Additional Information
In order to obtain a customs broker’s licence, applicants must meet integrity requirements outlined in the Customs Act.
Related careers