Fossils and meteorites must be assessed for their significance before they can be taken out of Australia.

Before you can export a fossil or meteorite from Australia, a nominated expert examiner must inspect the specimen to identify it and consider:

  • its actual or likely uniqueness, rarity or other scientific significance
  • if it is already adequately represented in public collections in Australia.

What do you need to do?

You will need to prepare documentation including provenance of the specimen. You will then need to send this information to an examiner.

  • for meteorites—arrange for an examiner to view it (or part of it)
  • for fossils—a good-quality photograph could be enough.

Contact us to ask for the list of examiners you can approach.

What does an expert examiner do?

After assessing the application for the specimen, the examiner will advise you on whether:

  • you do not need an export permit because the sample is either not significant or already well-represented in public collections, or
  • you do need to apply for an export permit because the material might be significant or it is not well represented in Australian collections. After you have completed an export permit application form, we will engage another expert examiner on your behalf who will complete a more detailed assessment.

When an export permit is not required

If the expert assessor tells you that no export permit is needed, then either we or the expert examiner will give you a letter stating that on the basis of the information you have provided, the material is not subject to export regulations under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986.

When an export permit may be required

If the expert examiner tells you that you need to apply for an export permit, you will need to have the fossil or meteorite assessed in more detail. A different examiner will usually do this in consultation with other experts. This examiner then provides formal advice to the National Cultural Heritage Committee on the export application.