Presenting your documentation

Here is some information to help with Customs formalities when you arrive in New Zealand. Being well-prepared should prevent problems and reduce the time needed to get through Customs and Immigration.

If there is anything you are not quite sure about, contact any Customs office or talk to a Customs officer when you arrive. Remember, if you don’t have the right papers you may be delayed, have goods impounded or even be prevented from entering the country.


To enter New Zealand you must have a current passport and it must be valid for at least three months past the date that you intend to leave New Zealand. 

Visitor’s visa

If you are a citizen of a visa-free country, you will not need a visa; unless you intend to stay longer than three months (six months if you are from the UK).  

All others will need some form of visa to visit New Zealand. The general length of time allowed by a visitor’s visa is up to nine months. For details of the different types of visas, and where to get one, go to

This description was last updated on: Monday, 05 March 2012

Detailed information related to Presenting your documentation

Before you disembark from your ship or plane you will be given a New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card to fill in.

This Arrival Card must be completed before you get to passport control. On it you will declare what you are – or are not – bringing into the country.

You do not have to declare your clothing, footwear, jewellery, and toiletries – these are regarded as “personal effects” if they are intended solely for your own use.

You must tick ‘Yes’ in the Customs section of your arrival card if you are bringing any of the following into New Zealand:

  • Goods that may be prohibited or restricted, such as weapons, bongs, hash pipes, objectionable (indecent) materials, wildlife products or illicit drugs (Prohibited and restricted items).
  • Goods in excess of the $700 allowance and the tobacco and alcoholic beverages allowance (Allowances and concessions).
  • Goods for commercial, business, or trade purposes.
  • Goods carried on behalf of another person.
  • NZ$10,000 or more in cash, or foreign equivalent (Border Cash Report).

Translations of the arrival card are available in the following languages:

Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Cook Island Māori, Czech, Dutch, Farsi, Fijian, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Māori, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Samoan, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Tongan, Urdu, Vietnamese.  

You may get the translation you need either from Forms (click Passenger Arrival Card in the category box) before you leave home, or from a Customs officer when you arrive at Immigration. 

Either way, your Passenger Arrival Card must be completed in English.

This detail was last updated on Friday, 31 October 2014

Anyone carrying NZ$10,000 or more (or foreign equivalent) in cash on their person or in their baggage, into or out of New Zealand, must complete a Border Cash Report as part of their entry or clearance procedures.

Cash means physical currency, bearer-negotiable instruments, or both. A bearer-negotiable instrument means: 

  • a bill of exchange
  • a cheque
  • a promissory note
  • a bearer bond
  • a traveller’s cheque
  • a money order, postal order, or similar order
  • any instrument prescribed by regulations.

Legislation does not prohibit the import or export of cash sums of NZ$10,000 or more – it simply requires that these sums are reported. False, misleading or non-reporting of cash may result in its forfeiture and a fine.

For further information on border cash reporting, including penalties, refer to Customs Fact Sheet 13.

This detail was last updated on Monday, 05 March 2012

New Zealand accepts ATA Carnets as security for the temporary importation of commercial samples, advertising material, and certain other materials and equipment.

Please enquire at your local Chamber of Commerce for further details of the ATA Carnet system. If clearance has not been obtained prior to travel, the goods will be held until a clearance has been arranged. For further information contact your local Customs office

This detail was last updated on Monday, 05 March 2012