Import entry process

All goods brought into New Zealand for business or commercial use need to be cleared by submitting an “import entry” or Electronic Cargo Information (ECI). In most cases clearance is undertaken by a Customs broker on your behalf. Most freight or fast courier companies have in-house brokers who can undertake this clearance for you, and New Zealand Post Ltd can clear goods sent via the mail system.

There are two types of clearances:

  • Import entry – provides full details of the goods to be imported, including the classification of the goods under The Working Tariff Document of New Zealand. This is used for goods valued at NZ$1,000 or more.
  • Electronic Cargo Information (ECI) – provides summary details of single or multiple exempt-entry consignments. The tariff classification of the goods is not required.

The import entry clearance requires you as the importer (or the broker acting on your behalf) to provide us with detailed information about your goods. From this information we can determine any customs charges payable as well as any security or quarantine procedures that may need to be undertaken.

Brokers submit clearances electronically via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), or over the internet using TSW Online (www.tsw.govt.nz) or a third party provider. 

Clearances can only be submitted by registered customs brokers, or by importers who are qualified to compile an import entry and have the necessary Customs Declarant code to do so. More information on this can be found in the JBMS Fact Sheet: Applying to be a TSW registered user

If your goods are valued at NZ$1,000 or more, you will need a client code and the supplier code of the sender of the goods. These are unique numbers that identify you as the importer, and also the supplier.

The import entry clearance requires the broker acting on your behalf to provide us with detailed information about your goods. This information is used to determine any customs charges payable as well as security or quarantine requirements that may need to be undertaken.

The import entry clearance is a legally binding document and needs to be accurately completed. Entries that contain errors or omissions may result in administrative (financial) penalties or legal action. Consult with your broker beforehand to find out what information they need.

Your import entry clearance must be lodged within 20 days of the arrival of your goods in New Zealand. To minimise any delays after the arrival of your goods, your broker may also lodge the documentation in advance. 

Once your importation is cleared your broker will notify you.

This description was last updated on: Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Detailed information related to Import entry process

Your import clearance is required to be lodged within 20 days of the arrival of your goods in New Zealand. To minimise any clearance delays, you are encouraged to lodge your clearance in advance.

This detail was last updated on Friday, 03 May 2013

All goods imported for business or commercial use are required to be classified on your import entry.

We use the following import entry types:

  • Standard import entry – for goods with a value of NZ$1,000 or more.
  • Temporary import entry – for goods that are only to be in New Zealand for a temporary period (up 12 months) before being exported.
  • Simplified import entry – for goods with a Customs value of less than NZ$1,000 and Customs charges of more than NZ$60 payable.
  • Permit entry – for goods where an entry has already been made and duty paid, but are later found to be short-packed, short-shipped or short-landed.
  • Sight entry – for shipments where full details are not available to make an accurate, full or complete entry.
  • Electronic Cargo Information (ECI) – to account for goods with a value less than NZ$1,000 that have Customs charges of less than NZ$60 payable.

This detail was last updated on Wednesday, 19 March 2014

If you import non-consumable goods that will be re-exported within 12 months of importation, you may be able to clear the goods using a temporary import entry. In this case you may be required to provide some form of security (such as a cash deposit or other approved security) to cover any import duties and/or goods and services tax (GST) pending re-export. The deposit will be fully refunded if the goods are re-exported within 12 months from the date of importation.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A client code is a unique number that identifies individual importers and exporters. Client codes are only issued to New Zealand entities (such as registered New Zealand companies).

A client code is required as part of the import and export entry preparation for shipments valued at NZ$1,000 or more.

If you think you may already have a client code, please get in touch with our National Contact Centre to confirm.

If you don't have a client code your broker can apply for this on your behalf, discuss this with your broker, or you can apply for a client code yourself. To do this:

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A supplier code is a unique number that identifies the supplier of the goods. For imports valued at NZ$1,000 or more, a supplier code is required as part of the import entry preparation.

Your supplier may already have a supplier code. You can search our supplier code database to see whether your supplier is already registered and has a supplier code.

Your broker can apply for supplier code on your behalf, or you can apply for a supplier code yourself. To do this:

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 01 September 2015

You can use an electronic cargo information (ECI) to clear your goods in  cases where the import or export entry does not apply.

When importing,  ECI can be used to account for goods valued at less than NZ$1,000, with Customs charges of less than NZ$60.

When exporting it can be used for goods with a value of less than NZ$1,000.

Goods that are exempt from an entry are still subject to any import or export approval requirements that may apply.

The following rules apply:

  • a single ECI report can only cover shipments to be imported or exported on a single flight or voyage, or where imported or exported by post, on one date
  • consignments for any number of exporters may be declared on one ECI report.

Inward and outward cargo transaction fees will apply.

This detail was last updated on Friday, 11 February 2011

As part of the import entry clearance, you will need to provide the registered name of the craft or vessel bringing your goods into the country.

You can search for a craft or vessel name or flight number using our craft and vessel names search tool. We also have a full listing in spreadsheet form available for download.

This detail was last updated on Wednesday, 18 May 2011

When you import goods, you are required to specify the Customs value on the import entry clearance. This is important as the rate of duty will be charged based on the valuation you provide.

The usual method for establishing the Customs value is by using the transaction value.

Transaction value

The transaction value is the price paid or payable for the imported goods, with certain additions and deductions.

Additions to the price paid or payable for the goods include:

  • Commissions.
  • Packing costs.
  • Assists (materials supplied by the buyer).
  • Proceeds of resale accruing to the seller.
  • Foreign inland freight charges (paid to or for the benefit of the seller).
  • Royalties.
  • Licence fees.

Possible deductions include:

  • Overseas freight and insurance charges (to the extent that they are included in the price paid or payable) are deducted to establish the transaction value.

The acceptance of transaction value by Customs is subject to certain conditions. Two of the main conditions are:

  • There must be a sale for export to New Zealand. Goods that have not been sold for export (such as goods on consignment or supplied free of charge) cannot be valued by this method.
  • It must be shown that the price paid or payable has not been influenced by any relationship between the importer and the seller.

Alternative methods for determining the Customs value

Where the transaction value cannot be used, there are alternatives for determining the Customs value:

  • Identical or similar goods value – the transaction value of identical or similar goods sold for export to New Zealand.
  • Deductive value – the sale price of the goods in New Zealand adjusted for costs incurred after shipment.
  • Computed value – value based on cost of production, general expenses and profits in the country of origin relating to the imported goods.
  • Residual basis of valuation – value determined by Customs based on a flexible interpretation of one of the previous methods.

Methods of valuation that cannot be used

Goods may not be valued using the following:

  • The price of similar goods produced in New Zealand.
  • The price of the same goods sold for export to another country or on the domestic market of the country of export.
  • Minimum Customs values.
  • Arbitrary or fictitious values.

Inland Revenue NZ – Transfer pricing rules

Inland Revenue plays an important role in monitoring and enforcing transfer pricing rules. For more information please click here.

This detail was last updated on Friday, 12 June 2015

Because Customs value is required in New Zealand dollars, the invoiced amount will need to be converted into its New Zealand dollar equivalent. This can be done using the Customs exchange rate in force on the date the import entry clearance is lodged to us.

Customs exchange rates are set for two-week periods. Advance notice of each upcoming period is advertised in our Customs Release. If you wish, you can subscribe to receive these notices by email.

Note. Customs exchange rates may differ slightly from the currency rates published by overseas trading banks.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 06 March 2012

When your goods are cleared you or your customs broker, agent or freight forwarder will receive an electronic delivery order from our online declarations website or through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

You will need the delivery order to collect your goods from the freight forwarder, shipping agent or whomever you have used to transport your goods.

This detail was last updated on Monday, 14 March 2011

Inland Revenue plays an important role in monitoring and enforcing transfer pricing rules for income tax purposes relating to cross-border transfers of goods and services between associated parties. To find out more about the processes you need to follow and the documentation requirements to comply with these rules, please refer to the Inland Revenue website at www.ird.govt.nz/transfer-pricing/.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 11 June 2015