Pets & domestic animals

New Zealand has strict rules governing the importation of animals.

Both the New Zealand Customs Service and MPI Biosecurity New Zealand 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. Contact the New Zealand Customs Service or MPI Biosecurity New Zealand.

This description was last updated on: Monday, 03 September 2012

Detailed information related to Pets & domestic animals

In general, as with any importation, you are required to pay GST and transaction fees on imported animals, including cats and dogs.

If the animal is your domestic pet, and you are moving to take up residence in New Zealand, Customs charges may not be payable.

You will need to complete clearance documents, though. No animal is exempt from biosecurity clearance requirements.

This detail was last updated on Friday, 15 April 2011

  • An invoice or receipt  for the animal, or some form of evidence as to its actual value.
  • An air waybill or Bill of Lading showing the method and cost of bringing the animal to New Zealand.
  • A biosecurity clearance permit issued by the Ministry for Primary Industries.
  • Supplementary documentation such as vaccination certificates and evidence of ownership.
  • Personal identification of the importer such as passport or driver’s licence.

Additional document needed for dogs

  • A statutory declaration, made on Customs Form 15 Dogs by a vet in the country of export, that the dog is not a prohibited breed as specified in the Dog Control Act 1996.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The following breeds of dog may not be brought into New Zealand:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Brazilian Fila
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Perro de Presa Canario. 

The prohibition includes any embryo, ova or semen from these breeds.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 18 August 2011

The import prohibition controls on dogs do not apply to:

  • guide and hearing dogs
  • companion dogs for disabled people or for people formally engaged in training guide, hearing or companion dogs.

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 21 March 2017

For further information on the importation of domestic pets, including any charges, refer to Fact Sheet 28A – Clearance of cats and dogs.

This detail was last updated on Monday, 05 March 2012

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