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Guidance: Completing an application for a permit to import kava for medical and/or scientific purposes

Guidance for completing an application for a permit to import kava for medical and/or scientific purposes.

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The importation of kava for medical and/or scientific purposes is subject to Regulation 5 of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 and is prohibited unless the importer holds a licence and permit issued by the Narcotics Control Section (NCS). A permit is required for each consignment that is imported whereas licenses are issued annually. Information on obtaining a licence is available separately from the ODC website.

If you are importing kava for food use refer to Guidance for completing applications for a permit to import kava for food use.

Under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 permits cannot be granted to individuals for cultural purposes. However, recognising that kava has traditional ceremonial and cultural uses for people of South Pacific Islander descent, an incoming passenger (aged 18 years or over) into Australia may import of up to 4 kg of kava in their accompanied baggage. For more information, including answers to frequently asked questions regarding the import of kava, please visit the Office of Drug Control Website.

Permits are not granted to individuals for the purpose of obtaining medications for personal use. If you are an individual wanting to access medications that are prohibited imports you should consult your doctor and refer to the Special Access Scheme on the TGA website.

To apply for a permit to import kava for medical and/or scientific purposes the application form titled Application for a permit to import kava for medical and/or scientific purposes must be submitted to NCS. The guidance provided here will assist you in completing and submitting the application form.

Completing the form

The table below will assist you in identifying the required information for completing the permit application form.

Part of application form Explanation of required information
1. Importer information

Importers name

Permits to import controlled substances can only be issued to importers who hold a licence to import substances covered by regulation 5 of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956. State the name of the licence holder.

Company name

State your company's name.

Company address

State the physical address to be displayed on the import permit.

Postal address

State the postal address to which you would like the import permit sent. Permits will be sent by standard mail unless an express post envelope accompanies the application.

Import establishment ID number

Each establishment that has a licence to import is given a unique identifier by NCS, for example RN123 or CV987. State your import establishment ID number if known.

Approximate date of import

Indicate the expected import date for the consignment if the import permit is issued. If the exact date is not known, provide the approximate time period.

2. Exporter Information

Overseas exporter's full name

State the full name of the overseas exporter

Overseas exporter's address

State the physical address of the overseas exporter to be displayed on the import permit

Export establishment ID number

Each overseas exporter is given a unique identifier by NCS, for example O12345. State the export establishment ID number if known. There is an expectation that companies which conduct their business with the same overseas entity on a regular basis should be able to include this code on their application.

3. Kava Details - Food Use Only
Do not complete section 3.
4. Kava Details - Medical and Scientific Use Only

Form of kava

Indicate the form of the kava, for example root, powder or approved therapeutic good etc.

Pack type and size

Provide details on the pack type and the size

  • Raw material: for example, 25 kg drum
  • Finished goods: for example; 24 tablet blister pack; 100 mL bottle; box of 100 tablets; box of 6 x 2mL ampoules.


Indicate the concentration/strength of the controlled substance:

  • Raw Material: for assayable substances include the assay amount i.e. 98%
  • Finished goods: show the amount of controlled substance in the preparation, for example X mg/mL for liquids or Y mg/tablet for tablet products. The concentration should be in metric units.

Total number of packs in shipment

Specify the total number of packs (as defined above) that make up the proposed shipment. For example, 25 packs of 24 tablets; 100 bottles of 100 mL; 1000 boxes of 100 tablets, 250 boxes of ampoules.


The ARTG No. (Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods) refers to the number allocated to all TGA-approved therapeutic goods. The ARTG number must be provided for all imported finished goods that have a therapeutic claim. This is not applicable to raw materials or non-therapeutic goods.

5. Declaration and Consent

Make sure you read and understand the declaration and consent. Sign the application form. Complete the contact details of the person signing the form. The form must be signed by the licence holder or a person that the licence holder has authorised in writing to make applications under the licence.

Submitting an application

You can submit your application in the following ways:

Channel Details
Mail Narcotics Control Section
Office of Drug Control
Australian Government Department of Health
GPO Box 9848
ACT 2601

NCS endeavours to process applications for permits within 20 working days from the date of receipt. While a very high proportion of applications are processed within this target timeframe, there will be times where high demand for permits may result in slightly longer processing times. Applications forms that contain incomplete or incorrect information will be returned to you for amendment, resulting in delays in processing.

It is the responsibility of the importer to ensure that the triplicate copy of the permit is endorsed by the Australian Border Force and the importer at the time of importation.

It is responsibility of the importer to return the endorsed triplicate copy to NCS no later than 14 working days after the importation has occurred. Failure to comply with this condition may result in cancellation of import licenses.

  • Importers

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