An email scam is currently circulating New Zealand involving Customs. Read more about it and be on the alert.
Before you leave NZ, check the SafeTravel website for information on:
- disability information
- health and travel
- passports and visas
- travelling to Australia
- travelling with a criminal conviction
- work and income benefits
- travel advisories.
When you leave
Once you’ve checked in, you must move through a Customs area to get to duty-free shops and the departure lounge.
You must complete an NZ passenger departure card. You must also complete a NZCS 337 Border Cash Report (PDF 46 KB), if you’re carrying NZ$10,000 or more in cash or foreign equivalent.
Leaving on cruise, commercial or small craft
There are specific rules if you’re leaving NZ on:
You may not be allowed to leave NZ until you have paid any outstanding fines.
This may include:
- criminal convictions
- student loan defaults
- Family Court maintenance avoidance.
Check with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Collections Centre if you’re unsure whether you have any unpaid fines or defaults.
Taking items into other countries
You don’t need to declare personal items when you leave NZ. You can also take or send out many food items, but not all.
If you’re leaving NZ with expensive equipment – eg a laptop or camera – and want to bring it back in with you, you can get a Certificate of Export. This will make bringing your item back in simpler, as you might otherwise have to pay Customs duty and/or GST on it.
Your item must be uniquely identifiable, eg with a serial number.
Present your item to a Customs office before you leave. There may not be a Customs office at your place of departure – check beforehand.
To find out what items – including food – you can take into other countries, ask:
- your travel agent
- your destination country’s Embassy or High Commission (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade).
There are some items you can’t take out of NZ, or need permission to take out.
If you’re going to use your items for commercial purposes, you must:
- complete the required documentation
- pay any necessary export clearance and other charges.
eGates allow travellers in some airports to process themselves – ie their passport doesn’t need to be checked by a Customs officer.
You can use eGates if you:
- are 12 years or older
- have an e-Passport from:
- New Zealand
- the United Kingdom
- the United States of America
- the Netherlands
You can’t use eGates if you have outstanding fines or you’re not allowed to travel.
Check the Aviation Security Service website to see what you can take with you when you travel by airplane. Check with the airline you’re travelling with, too, for any requirements they have.
X-ray machines don’t damage film and electronic equipment except, in some cases, if there’s repeated exposure.
You can’t get GST refunds on items you purchased in NZ.
If you want to buy something and not pay GST on it, you must:
- buy it from a duty-free shop
- arrange for the retailer/supplier to export your item
- arrange for the retailer/supplier to deliver your item to an airside location – ie a place in an international terminal after Customs and security – for departing travellers.
Border clearance levy
You must pay a border clearance levy when you leave NZ.
If you’re departing by:
- air or sea, it’s $3.37
- cruise ship, it’s $3.57.
If you bought a plane or cruise ship ticket, the levy will be built into your ticket price.
The following people don’t have to pay the levy:
- children under 2 years old
- commercial passenger plane and cruise ship crew
- military and diplomatic staff
- government crisis workers
- crew on commercial air and sea craft, including cruise ships.
Exporting your items
You must submit an electronic export entry at least 48 hours before you leave NZ. There is a fee of $17.94 (including GST).
If you’re taking the items out with you as luggage on a plane and have a carnet, you must give us 2-3 days’ notice. A Customs officer will then complete your carnet at the airport check-in counter.
Once you have proved the items have left NZ, we will release any financial security you gave us - this may take a few days.