Submitting your import entry clearance

Customs requires that all import entry clearances or Electronic Cargo Information (ECI) be lodged electronically on the internet. You can do this using the Customs Online Declarations website or by buying or installing software and submitting using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

The clearance can be done either by yourself or on your behalf by a customs broker, agent or freight forwarder. See guidelines for when goods have been sold for export to New Zealand on a Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) or similar basis.

Our online declarations website is more suitable for smaller importers, whilst EDI is more suitable for larger, more frequent importers. You must be registered to use both.

Before you can submit your import entry clearance or ECI electronically, you need to have the following:

  • A client code if your goods are over the value of NZ$1,000.
  • A declarant code and unique user identifier (UUI).
  • Registration with Electronic Commerce Network (ECN).
  • A supplier code if your goods are over the value of NZ$1,000.

Find out more about how to get yourself ready to submit import entry clearances.

This description was last updated on: Friday, 12 April 2013

Detailed information related to Submitting your import entry clearance

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.

To apply for a client code:

The proof of identity varies depending on your business:

  • For applications from companies and charitable trusts – Certificate of Incorporation.
  • For applications from individuals – passport or driver's licence.
  • For applications from other than charitable trusts (applied for in the name of the trustee) – passport or driver's licence.

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

This detail was last updated on Monday, 18 August 2014

To lodge import or export entry clearances using the Customs Online Declarations website or EDI, you need to be registered. Once registered and approved you will be issued with a Customs declarant code and a unique user identifier (UUI), which works like a PIN number. Under the Customs and Excise Act 1996, as the registered user you will be responsible for all entries made under your UUI.

You may only have one declarant code and one UUI. The UUI may be transportable if you move from one business to another.

As a registered user you are required to take all reasonable precautions to keep your UUI confidential. If you consider your UUI number has been compromised, you will need to get in touch with your local Customs office or the National Contact Centre to arrange its cancellation and the issue of a new UUI.

To become a registered user of our online declarations website or EDI:

You may also be required to provide evidence of your ability to use the Customs computerised entry processing system – or undertake an assessment of competency with a Customs officer. 

If approved, we will let you know in writing and supply you with your Customs declarant code and unique user identifier (UUI), along with conditions for use.​

This detail was last updated on Friday, 15 November 2013

Once you have received your declarant code and unique user identifier (UUI), you need to register with the Electronic Commerce Network (ECN) to handle your electronic transmissions. ECN is contracted by Customs to manage our online declarations website and to carry electronic declarations and responses between the website and you.

There is no charge to register, but you will be charged by ECN for the clearances that you submit.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 08 March 2012

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

To apply for a supplier code:

  • include evidence to support the supplier's name and country of supply (eg, the supplier’s invoice)
  • email or fax to Customs via the email or fax number provided on the Application for Supplier Code form. 

Your supplier may already have a supplier code if they are being used by another importer is bring goods into New Zealand. You can search our database to see whether your supplier is already registered and has a supplier code.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 08 March 2012

​The Customs Online Declarations website allows you to clear your imports and export entry clearances over the internet. It is designed for regular importers and exporters, who have sufficient knowledge of Customs requirements – such as tariff classification, value or permit requirements.

Before using our online declarations website you need to have the following:

  • A client code if your goods are over the value of NZ$1,000.
  • A declarant code and unique user identifier (UUI).
  • A supplier code if your goods are over the value of NZ$1,000.

You can also use a freight forwarder or customs broker to lodge import and export clearances on your behalf.  

The Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation (CBAFF) offer training courses which will allow you to lodge your own entries. Contact them on +64 9 419 0042 or email freighttrain@cbaff.org.nz for more information.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 08 March 2012

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) allows you to lodge your import or export entry clearances using software which is directly linked into our systems.

As a user of EDI, you are required to:

  • develop or purchase EDI software which contains features necessary to transmit CUSDEC (Customs declaration) messages and receive CUSRES (Customs response)
  • test proper functionality with Customs prior to use
  • pay for the EDI link and associated messaging costs.

EDI is most likely to be used by high-frequency importers and exporters. Messaging costs are cheaper than using the Customs Online Declarations website – but there are greater initial outlays.

You can find more information in EDI Message Implementation Guidelines.

For more information about EDI connections and network issues contact the Electronic Commerce Network directly.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 08 March 2012

You can register to receive email notifications regarding Customs Online Declarations website and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). You will be told of planned and unplanned outages and receive all other important information.

To join, go to http://www.nzcustoms.u1.co.nz/webforms/registration.htm to register. You can also use the form to change or update your details.

There is also an "Update profile" link at the bottom of each email you will receive that can be used to proceed.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 08 March 2012

You may engage the services of a customs broker, agent or freight forwarder to complete your import or export entry clearances.

If using a service you must be aware that any declarations or actions undertaken by them will be deemed also to have been made you. As the importer or exporter you may also be liable for any or all penalties or additional duties that are incurred by the broker in this clearance process – for example, additional duties where payment is not made by the due date.

Customs brokers and freight forwarders are listed in New Zealand business directories under those headings. A list of those affiliated to Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation of New Zealand is available on their website.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 08 March 2012

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