From 1 October 2018 Customs will have a new Act. The changes mainly affect our business customers. Find out what this may mean for your business.
Travelling to NZ
When you arrive in New Zealand, you need to fill out a passenger arrival card.
You don’t have to declare your clothing, footwear, jewellery, and toiletries. We regard these as “personal effects”, as long as you’re not:
- selling them
- exchanging them
- giving them away as a gift.
Please have any purchase receipts available.
You must tick “Yes” on the card if you’re bringing in:
- prohibited or restricted items, such as weapons, objectionable (indecent) articles or drugs/medicines
- items that total more than NZ$700
- tobacco and alcohol over the allowance
- more than 50 cigarettes, 50 grams of tobacco products or cigars, or 50 grams of a mixture of all three
- more than 4.5 litres of wine or beer
- more than 3 bottles (or other containers) of spirits or liqueur (each bottle or container can hold a maximum of 1.125 litres)
- items you want to use for business
- items you’re carrying for someone else
- NZ$10,000 or more in cash, or its foreign equivalent.
Hiding items you may have to pay duties for, or not declaring items on your arrival card, are serious offences. We will:
- seize your items
- impose substantial penalties
- prosecute you.
If you aren’t sure about whether you should declare an item, ask a Customs officer.
Searching your baggage
Customs and biosecurity officers can search anyone’s bags.
Prohibited and restricted imports
You won’t be able to bring prohibited items into New Zealand.
You may be able be able to bring some restricted items into NZ, but only if you have a permit for them, or after they have gone through treatments like fumigation.
Note: you can’t bring pepper spray into NZ – we consider it to be a weapon.
Border clearance levy
People coming and going over NZ’s border must pay a border clearance levy on arrival and departure
Air travellers and people on private craft must pay:
- NZ$15.79 arrival levy including GST
- NZ$2.94 departure levy including GST.
Cruise passengers must pay:
- NZ$18.10 arrival levy including GST
- NZ$4.72 departure levy including GST.
These charges are included in your ticket when you book air travel or a cruise. We’ll send an invoice to private aircraft and yachts.
Fees and charges
We charge duties based on how much you paid for items you’re bringing into NZ. We also charge GST (15%) on the total value, including duties.
If you don’t know how much it cost – eg it was a gift – we may have your item valued independently.
We only accept payments in NZ dollars. You can pay with cash, eftpos, or VISA/MasterCard credit cards.
Bringing money into NZ
You must complete a NZCS 337: Border Cash Report if you carry NZ$10,000 (or foreign equivalent) or more cash or equivalent into or out of New Zealand.
- physical currency
- travellers’ cheques
- money orders, postal orders, or similar
- bearer bonds
- a bill of exchange
- promissory notes
- any instrument prescribed by regulations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009.
It’s a criminal offence to lie on your report or to avoid making the report. If you do either, you could:
- be fined
- be imprisoned
- have your cash seized.
Learn more in Fact Sheet 13: Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (PDF 710 KB).
Clothing and personal effects
You won’t have to pay GST and duty on your clothing, toiletries, and personal jewellery (including watches). This only applies if:
- they’re for your own use or wear
- they’re not for anyone else (including gifts)
- you’re not going to sell, or exchange them.
The concession only covers new or used personal items you’re travelling with or bought on your trip.
Unaccompanied baggage doesn’t qualify for duty-free concessions and you may have to pay GST and duties.
The exceptions are personal clothing, toiletries, and jewellery.
If you’re bringing in items you intend to take back out with you, you may not have to pay duty on them.
To qualify as “temporary imports”, the items must:
- be in the same condition as when you brought them in
- be uniquely identifiable, eg with a serial number
- be for your personal use, and not for sale, exchange, distribution or as a gift
- be non-consumable
- leave NZ within 12 months of arriving here (yachts and small craft must leave within 2 years) - in some cases, we may grant an extension. You must apply at least a month in advance.
You will need a temporary import entry (TIE) if:
- you don’t have a carnet for your items
- your items aren’t household effects that came into NZ with you.
You must arrange a TIE with us before you arrive in NZ.
There is a fee of $49.24 (including GST) on any temporary import or TIE.
Financial security on temporary imports
We may require financial security for temporary imports. There are three forms of financial security:
- a cash deposit
- a financial bond
- a temporary import approval and undertaking (TIA)
Items which qualify for temporary import
Items which qualify for temporary import include:
- cameras (still, video, and motion picture) a supply of film, tapes, and accessories
- musical instruments
- sound and video devices (eg, tape recorders, CD players, mini disc players, DVD players, and dictating machines)
- portable radio receivers
- cellular or mobile telephones
- portable personal computers (laptops) and accessories
- baby carriages and strollers
- sporting equipment.
You can also bring in, as temporary imports:
- professional equipment and items for display or use at exhibitions, fairs, meetings or similar events
- items you’re importing for educational, scientific, cultural or humanitarian purposes
- tourist publicity material
- items you’re importing for sports purposes
- containers, pallets, packing and samples
- motor vehicles, private boats and aircraft.
Declaring items you owned before leaving NZ
When you arrive in NZ, you don’t need to declare any items that you had before you left the country (including duty-free bought before leaving).
If you’re worried that items you took overseas could affect your duty-free allowance, you can ask us for a Certificate of Export. This is proof that you owned the item when you left NZ.
You can get the certificate from us before you leave NZ. We can only issue it for uniquely identifiable items, eg with serial numbers.
If the items are new video or camera equipment, we suggest you carry documents proving you already owned them before you left.
Taking items back out of NZ
If you’re bringing items into NZ that you’ll be taking back out with you, you won’t have to pay GST and duties on some. These include:
- still, video, and movie cameras
- a reasonable supply of films, tapes, and accessories
- portable musical instruments
- portable sound and video players, eg tape recorders, CD players, mini disc players, DVD player
- dictaphones and portable recorders
- portable radio receivers
- cellphones (mobile phones)
- laptops/tablets and accessories
- baby carriages and strollers
- sports equipment.
If your items don’t match this list, we may need you to give us a cash deposit to cover GST and duties. We will refund you when you take the items out of NZ.