To keep a native reptile, bird, frog or mammal as a pet you need to first have a biodiversity conservation licence granted under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 from the Office of Environment and Heritage (National Parks and Wildlife Service). The type of biodiversity conservation licence needed depends on the species and number of animals you want to keep.
You must be at least 16 years old to apply for a licence to keep native animals. If you are under 16 years of age the licence application must be in the name of your legal parent/guardian.
Some animals are only available to people who hold an advanced licence. These animal keepers have many years of experience keeping species that may be difficult and dangerous to maintain, or are of a higher conservation significance.
You do not need a licence to keep 41 native bird species.
Types of licences
Apply for a licence
You can apply online for a Companion Animal Keeper Licence or a Class 1 Native Animal Keeper Licence through Service NSW. To apply for an upgrade licence (i.e. from class 1 or 'basic'), you must download and submit an application form (PDF 606KB).
New applicants need to register with the site before completing the online application.
Make sure you:
- use capital letters when entering your name, for example John William Smith
- enter your phone number details in the format 0295856401 or 0401000000 for mobile numbers (no spaces)
- enter your address accurately using the Quick Address System provided by Service NSW.
If you apply online you receive a 15% discount on the current standard licence fee. Pensioners receive an additional 10% discount.
By phone, email or post
You can apply for your licence by:
Application forms are only available for advanced licences. Please allow enough time for your licence to be processed.
A 10% discount is available for pensioners. No other discounts apply.
How will I know if my application has been successful?
If you applied for a companion animal licence or an animal keeper licence (class 1) online you should receive your licence and your transaction receipt in separate emails within 48 hours.
If you applied by mail, it takes up to 21 working days for your application to be processed. You will receive your licence by mail.
If your licence has not arrived after 21 days, contact the Wildlife Team.
Give them your name, date of birth and the date you applied.
Please note that the Office of Environment and Heritage reviews all applications for animal keeper licences for compliance and enforcement purposes.
As soon as you receive your licence, read it thoroughly to check all the details are correct and that you understand the licence conditions.
If there are any errors, contact the Wildlife Team.