Overseas purchases & travellers’ concessions

The general approach taken by Customs to goods purchased overseas and brought into New Zealand by travellers is to ask the question: Are these purchases of a genuinely personal nature; or are they for some other purpose?

The duty-free concession only covers articles such as clothing, toiletries and jewellery which a traveller may reasonably require for personal use during a journey. Or – in the case of a returning New Zealand resident – items that have been legitimately acquired in the course of an overseas trip.

However, clothing, footwear, jewellery etc, deemed to be in excessive quantities may well attract Customs charges. 

The onus is on you to prove the nature of the goods you are bringing in should you be questioned. For that reason it is worth retaining any documentation, such as receipts, which may help.

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

Detailed information related to Overseas purchases & travellers’ concessions

Goods bought at duty-free stores attract no duty provided you do not exceed your allowable limits. 

You can find duty-free stores and precincts at most international airports. You’ll also find duty-free shops in most major cities.  

To buy duty-free goods you will need to provide details of your departure to the store assistant. Usually this will be an airline ticket or booking confirmation. A city duty-free store will not give you your purchases, but will send them to the duty-free shop or agency at the airport, for you to pick up just before you board your plane. 

On arrival in New Zealand, you will not be charged duty on these goods, if they fall within the concession amounts.

In New Zealand the law prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products to persons under the age of 18 years. This restriction applies to New Zealand duty-free outlets.

This detail was last updated on Thursday, 12 May 2011

Accompanied goods are goods (excluding your clothing and other personal effects) that are travelling with you on the same flight or ship, and that are for your own personal use. When you travel with your goods you have a personal concession of NZ$700. If you are over this amount then you may have some Customs charges to pay.

Your charges will be worked out using the:

If the total you owe us in duty and GST charges is less than NZ$60, then no money will be collected. This does not apply if you are importing alcohol and tobacco products.

See also Types of duties, fees & charges and Allowances & duty-free concessions

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 03 April 2012

When entering New Zealand, travellers are entitled to a wearing apparel and personal effects concession which includes the following items:

  • Clothing.
  • Toiletries.
  • Personal jewellery (including watches).

The wearing apparel and personal effects concession covers the above items which may have been acquired duty free in New Zealand or overseas.

These will be admitted free of Customs duty and goods and services tax (GST) irrespective of whether they accompany you or are sent separately, provided they are:

  • intended for your own use or wear; and
  • personally owned by you; and
  • not intended for any other person or persons; and
  • not intended for gift, sale or exchange.

Commercial quantities of individual items of clothing (including footwear) are not allowed under this concession.

Visitors to New Zealand

Visitors to New Zealand may bring in the following additional items under the wearing apparel and personal effects concession provided that they take them with them when they leave:

  • Personal cameras, film, tapes and accessories.
  • Binoculars.
  • Portable musical instruments.
  • Portable sound and video reproduction devices including tape recorders, compact disc players, mini disc players, DVD players, and dictating machines with discs and tapes.
  • Portable radio receivers.
  • Cellular or mobile phones.
  • Portable personal computers (laptops, net books) and accessories.
  • Baby carriages and strollers.
  • Wheelchairs for invalids.
  • Sporting equipment.

If there is any doubt about a visitor’s intention to take the item out of the country, we may require a cash deposit to cover the duty and GST normally payable. The deposit will be refunded when the goods leave New Zealand.

Goods paid for overseas but not yet received

If you pay for goods while overseas, but receive them after you arrive in New Zealand, no Customs charges will apply if you can produce an appropriately dated receipt, and can prove that the goods qualify for the wearing apparel and personal effects concession.

Genuine personal effects qualify for the concession even if they are unaccompanied.

For example, made-to-measure clothing, which you paid for overseas but was not available for you to uplift at the time of your departure for New Zealand, will not attract duty if you can show valid evidence from the clothing supplier that it has been paid for.

You will also need to show Customs that your travel movements coincided with the date on the invoice.​

This detail was last updated on Wednesday, 20 July 2016

On entering New Zealand you are entitled to bring in the following quantities of tobacco products free of Customs duty, provided that you are over 17 years of age and that the goods:

  • Accompany you through the Customs arrival process.
  • Are for your own personal use.
  • Are not carried on behalf of another person.
  • Are not intended for sale or exchange.

If the above is applicable the following amounts are allowed duty free:

  • 50 cigarettes or
  • 50 grams of tobacco or cigars or
  • a mixture of all three weighing not more than 50 grams.

Any amounts over the above will be liable for Customs duty and goods and services tax (GST).

This detail was last updated on Tuesday, 25 November 2014

​On entering New Zealand you are entitled to bring in the following quantities of alcohol products free of Customs duty, provided that you are aged 17 years* or older and that the goods:

  • accompany you through the Customs arrival process
  • are for your own personal use, or intended as gifts
  • are not carried on behalf of another person.
  • are not intended for sale or exchange

If the above is applicable the following amounts are allowed duty free:

  • 4.5 litres of wine or 4.5 litres of beer.
  • Three bottles (or other containers) each containing not more than 1,125ml of spirits, liqueur, or other spirituous beverages.

Any amounts over the above will be liable for Customs duty and goods and services tax (GST). This includes bottles which are of greater volumes than the one described.

* Please note that New Zealand law prohibits the sale of alcoholic drinks and tobacco products to anyone in New Zealand under the age of 18 years. This restriction applies to New Zealand duty-free outlets.

This detail was last updated on Friday, 21 February 2014