11 Tips for Travelling or Sending to NZ

customsWith queries around travelling to and sending parcels to New Zealand, the New Zealand Customs Service has come up with 11 helpful tips which can help with many of your questions.

1. SmartGate

SmartGate is a faster way for New Zealand ePassport holders to enter or leave New Zealand. By using SmartGate, you can self-process through passport control. All you need is your ePassport, SmartGate will do the rest.

SmartGate uses advanced facial recognition technology that compares the passenger’s face with the digital photo in their ePassport. Australian, UK, USA, and Canadian ePassport holders can also use SmartGate.

You will still need to complete a Passenger Arrival Card if you use SmartGate on arrival. More information on SmartGate is available here.


2. What’s My Duty?

Are you sending something to New Zealand and want to know how much duty and/or GST may need to be paid? Check out the Whats My Duty? website or download the app to estimate how much the receiver may need to pay.


3. Duty-free concession on items you carry with you

You have a personal concession of NZ$700 for goods that you have purchased overseas and are bringing with you for your own use. If you are over this amount then you may have some Customs charges to pay. More information about concessions can be found here.

As a rule of thumb, personal items such as your clothing and your jewellery are unlikely to attract fees or duties when you bring them into New Zealand with you. However, large quantities of goods, or goods with a commercial aspect to them, will probably attract duty, even if you are bringing them in personally.


4. Tobacco limit

If you are bringing tobacco with you to New Zealand the duty free allowance is either 50 cigarettes, or 50 grams of tobacco products. If you have more that the allowance you will have to pay duty and GST on your excess tobacco, or you can dispose of it in a tobacco disposal bin at the airport.

There is no allowance for tobacco sent by mail or cargo, and no gift allowance for tobacco products. All are subject to duty, GST, and an Import Entry Transaction Fee which must be paid before your package can be released.


5. Cash limit you can bring into or out of NZ

Did you know that there is no limit on the amount of cash you can bring into or out of New Zealand? However you do need to declare anything over NZ$10,000 (or another foreign currency equivalent) including any money that you receive from overseas. To do this you will need to complete a Border Cash Report which can be found here.

Cash means physical currency (coin or paper money of New Zealand or any other country) or bearer-negotiable instruments which could be any of the following:

- Bill of exchange
-  Cheque
- Promissory note
- Bearer bond
- Traveller’s cheque
- Money order, postal order, or similar order
- Any instrument prescribed by regulations.

Customs’ role is to ensure that the money is legitimate and is being carried for legitimate purposes. Movement of large sums of cash can and has been linked to illicit activities and criminal networks.

Not declaring cash or providing false information is an offence under the Anti Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act and a range of penalties can apply, including fines or prosecution.


6. How to contact New Zealand Customs

- Free phone within New Zealand: 0800 428 786 (0800 4 CUSTOMS)
- Calling from Australia free phone: 1800 301 861
- Calling from overseas: +64 9 927 8036
- Fax within New Zealand: 09 927 8019
- Fax from overseas: +64 9 927 8019
- Email: feedback@customs.govt.nz
- Postal address: New Zealand Customs Service, PO Box 2218, Wellington 6140, New Zealand


7. Did you know NZ Customs is on social media?

You can get the latest updates or send in a query to Customs through its social media channels. You can send a private message through Facebook or a direct message through Twitter for any Customs-related enquiries you may have. You can also follow Customs on Instagram for exclusive photos of Customs’ detector dogs at work and at play.


8. Bringing household items into NZ?

If you are a resident returning to New Zealand after 21 months or more overseas, you will be entitled to certain concessions on household items and similar possessions that you wish to bring in.

You are also entitled to concessions on private motor vehicles, boats and aircraft that either accompany you or are sent separately. It is possible to import more than one motor vehicle, motorcycle, motor scooter, boat, or aircraft, duty free, if you are able to meet all the concessionary requirements for each vehicle, boat or aircraft.

In order to claim concessions, you will need to establish certain qualifications – such as your right to residence. Check Customs’ website for more information.


9. Bringing pets into NZ?

New Zealand has strict rules governing the importation of animals. Both the New Zealand Customs Service and the Ministry for Primary Industries share responsibility for ensuring the rules are observed. Before imported animals, including cats and dogs, can be released to their owners, Customs charges will need to be paid and a biosecurity clearance issued.

Make sure you have full information, well in advance, on the documentation and clearance processes needed. This will prevent unnecessary delays and disappointments. Information can be found on the New Zealand Customs Service or the Ministry for Primary Industries websites.


10. Prohibited items

Customs’ role in managing the border includes a responsibility to enforce, or assist in the enforcement of, a wide range of import and export prohibitions and restrictions on behalf of a number of government departments and agencies.

These prohibitions and restrictions have been introduced over time to protect the community, environment and economy of New Zealand, and to enable the country to comply with our international agreements and obligations. Examples of prohibited items are firearms, knives, knuckle dusters, etc. A guide to the range of prohibited and restricted imports and exports is available here.


11. Bringing medicine into NZ?

If you are carrying prescription medicines or controlled drugs you should:

- Have a prescription or letter from your doctor
- Carry the drugs in their original containers
- Only carry up to three months’ supply of prescription medicine or one month’s supply of controlled drugs

Further information on prescription medicines can be obtained at www.medsafe.govt.nz or for further info on importing controlled drugs, see www.moh.govt.nz.