Household items

If you are an immigrant, or a resident returning to New Zealand after 21 months or more overseas, you will be entitled to certain concessions on household items and similar possessions that you wish to bring in.  

These household concessions do not apply to motor vehicles, boats, aircraft, or commercial goods.

In order to claim concessions you will need to establish certain qualifications – such as your right to residence.

For further information contact any Customs office

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

Detailed information related to Household items

The term ‘document authorising residence’ means any of the following:

  • a New Zealand passport
  • an Australian passport
  • a current New Zealand residence visa, or a current New Zealand returning resident’s visa
  • a current permanent residence visa (including a resident return visa) issued by the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia
  • a current New Zealand work visa issued for a minimum of 12 months
  • a current New Zealand work visa issued under the Work to Residency (Skilled Migrant Category) policy or the Long Term Business Visa category
  • a current New Zealand visitor’s visa issued for a minimum of three years.*

* Note. A visa issued for three years is a document which permits the holder to stay in New Zealand for a full three years. This is distinct from a three-year multiple entry visa. This type of document permits travel to New Zealand within a given three year period, but for no more than six months at a time, and for no more than 18 months overall. A three-year multiple entry visa does not meet the requirements to be a document authorising residence.

This detail was last updated on Monday, 05 March 2012

Removal companies, airlines and shipping companies will usually provide arrival papers for your imported household and personal effects. Some freight forwarders or removal companies will also help you with Customs formalities. They may charge a fee for their services. 

To get clearance for your goods you need to do all of the following:

  • Complete an Unaccompanied Personal Baggage Declaration (NZCS 218) form. This form is a declaration for both Agriculture and Customs.
  • Obtain an agricultural clearance for the shipment through the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
  • Obtain any permits that may be needed, for example, a Police Permit to Import if you have firearms in the shipment.
  • Arrange for a Customs clearance. To get a Customs clearance, you will need to supply:
    • a completed Unaccompanied Personal Baggage Declaration
    • the agriculture clearance
    • permits from other agencies (where applicable)
    • your passport
    • a full inventory of what is in the shipment
    • the shipping arrival papers (such as the Bill of Lading, Airway Bill, or Arrival Advice).
  • A Personal Effects Supplementary Declaration should also be completed for consignments containing items that might pose a biosecurity risk. This provides more information about specific items that may affect the risk status of the consignment. Completion of this declaration is not mandatory but MPI strongly advises that this is done.

This detail was last updated on Monday, 14 January 2013

If you are overseas at the time your goods arrive in New Zealand, you will need to authorise somebody to arrange Customs clearance on your behalf. This will require: 

  • Your written permission for the person to act on your behalf.
  • A photocopy of the head/biographical page of your passport.

If the goods are cleared prior to your arrival by somebody else, duty may be payable.

This detail was last updated on Friday, 15 April 2011