Heard, 29, came under fire in April for failing to declare Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo to authorities on their arrival in Brisbane, reported Time.
This week she was charged with two counts of illegally importing the dogs into Australia and one count of producing a false document.
Penalties range from a hefty fine to more than 10 years in prison.
Heard, the star of "Friday Night Lights" and "Magic Mike XXL", has been issued with a summons to appear in a Queensland court on September 7, the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions said.
Under importation charges, the actress could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of 102,000 Australian dollars (USD 48,000).
The prosecutor's office would not answer questions about why Depp was not charged, citing the ongoing nature of the case.
Depp is currently filming the latest instalment of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise in Australia's Gold Coast.
Australia has strict animal quarantine laws to prevent importing infections such as Rabies.
Boo and Pistol are understood to have arrived in the country on Depp's private jet in April this year.