Common questions

Sometimes similar questions are repeated often enough to indicate important areas of interest.

We have gathered together a few of these questions here in the hope that we can make some of this information more easily accessible and readily understandable.

To aid your search further, the questions have also been classified under simple headings available through the filter function.

This description was last updated on: Friday, 15 April 2011 .

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There are various reasons why a container may be held by Customs. If you want to find out what has happened to your goods and when you can expect to uplift them, you are best to get in touch with our National Contact Centre on 0800 428 786.​

Last updated: Thursday, 08 December 2011

The basic requirement is the ability to do the job. For some jobs in Customs there may be medical or fitness tests.

Last updated: Friday, 15 April 2011

No, individual ports may not wish to receive electronic delivery orders from clients. You will need to contact the relevant port directly to obtain the code.

Last updated: Friday, 15 April 2011

If you use EDI to lodge your export entries and reports, your software will most likely allow adjustments to be made.  Some brokers/exporters prefer to cancel and re-lodge an entry where adjustments cannot easily be made using their EDI software. Cleared entries and ECI reports made over the online declarations website cannot yet be adjusted.

If you are an online declarations website user, or your EDI software does not provide for adjustment, you will need to request the Customs client service section at the processing port to amend the entry. This should be done by email or fax (refer to numbers under Contact us). ECI reports will have to be cancelled and re-entered, as Customs cannot adjust these. 

Last updated: Friday, 15 April 2011

​Customs is unable to answer any specific questions that relate to agricultural or biosecurity items eg, the types of foods you can bring into New Zealand. For this information you should contact the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

In general, however, any food or plant material whatsoever being brought into New Zealand must be declared on arrival to the Ministry for Primary Industries.

If you wish to know more go to Prohibited Imports, or contact MPI 0800 00 83 33, or via their email info@mpi.govt.nz, or visit the MPI website.

Last updated: Tuesday, 02 December 2014

​There are no restrictions for persons wishing to import a placenta, a human foetus, or human tissue. However please make sure you travel with relevant documentation to save any undue delay or problem at the border.

Last updated: Thursday, 08 December 2011

You need approval to bring firearms into New Zealand. A deposit may also be payable, but this will be returned if the rifle is re-exported within 12 months.

For further information and a Visitors Firearms License and Permit to Import  - see Importing Firearms on the New Zealand Police  website.

Last updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2011

​Yes, but there are requirements. Prescription medicines may only be brought in if they fulfil certain criteria and meet certain conditions. If you need to know more about this, and about having medicines brought in from overseas, check out Prescription medicines in the Prohibited Imports section.

Remember, if you arrive in New Zealand carrying prescription medicine on your person or in your luggage you may only bring it in if you declare the medicine on your passenger arrival card.

Further information regarding the importation of medicines can be obtained from the Medsafe website, or via their email medclearance@moh.govt.nz, or by phoning +64 9 580 9141.

Last updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The New Zealand Customs Service is unable to provide information about the Customs requirements that apply in other countries. To source this information, contact the appropriate consulate or embassy representative - the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade can provide contact details.

Last updated: Friday, 15 April 2011

There is no provision for drawback (refund) of GST for travellers purchasing goods in New Zealand.

Last updated: Friday, 15 April 2011

No. The importation of utensils that may be used to administer cannabis is prohibited. This includes new as well as used utensils, regardless of whether you intend to use them for smoking or ornamental purposes.

Last updated: Friday, 15 April 2011

Yes. There are no Customs, health, or agriculture restrictions.

If you bring the ashes with you, or have them sent to New Zealand, we recommended they are accompanied by a copy of either the death certificate or the cremation certificate.

Also, please check with the carrier of the goods if they are able to transport them.

Last updated: Thursday, 23 January 2014

Yes, the New Zealand Customs Service Working Tariff Document is available online.

Copies of the Working Tariff Document are also available to purchase in hard copy and searchable electronic format. Please contact our Corporate Support Team.

Last updated: Friday, 15 April 2011

​This is not dealt with by the New Zealand Customs Service, but is a matter for the Australian Government Department of Agriculture – please visit the Arriving in Australia – Declare It! page on their website, or phone 0061 2 6272 3933.

However, if you would like to know more about the rules and regulations that govern taking food out of New Zealand, you should visit Taking food out with you.

Last updated: Thursday, 20 March 2014

​This is not dealt with by the New Zealand Customs Service but is a matter for HM Revenue & Customs in the United Kingdom.

However, if you would like to know more about the rules and regulations that govern taking food out of New Zealand, you should visit Taking food out with you.

Last updated: Thursday, 08 December 2011

Grandparents may travel with their grandchildren providing all have valid travel documents.

Last updated: Friday, 15 April 2011

Working out fees and charges can be complex. Numerous factors need to be taken into account such as concessions, duty-free allowances, preferences, valuation, depreciation, and the goods and services tax (GST).

To understand the range of fees and charges, go to Types of duties, fees and charges.

To understand how fees and charges are assessed, and to see some everyday examples of calculations on commonly imported goods go to How to determine your fees.

For further assistance please contact our National Contact Centre on 0800 428 786 to enquire.​

Last updated: Tuesday, 03 April 2012

​Yes. If you think you may already have a client code but are unsure, please contact our National Contact Centre on 0800 428 786 to confirm. If the code you require is for a business entity, please have your company’s GST and registration number available.

Last updated: Thursday, 08 December 2011
Of course. All you need do is contact our National Contact Centre on 0800 428 786 to enquire.​ Last updated: Thursday, 08 December 2011

Due to an international agreement on carnets, carnet holders are not required to electronically clear a carnet consignment. On export, when the carnet holder lodges the carnet with Customs for stamping of the export counterfoil, Customs will create an electronic clearance number for the freight forwarder/carrier to record in their Outward Report. The carnet holder must present the resulting delivery order to the airline/freight forwarder with the bill of lading/air waybill. On import, the current manual process continues unchanged.

Last updated: Friday, 15 April 2011

Ports and Air Cargo Terminals are required under their Procedure Statements to advise Customs if goods are not exported as entered.  Ports will need a valid Customs clearance for the new vessel or port of loading before they can load, thus you will need to amend the vessel name or port of loading on the entry or Consolidator's Outward Report to enable this. Some brokers/exporters may prefer to cancel and re-lodge the entry, depending on how easily adjustments can be made via your EDI software.   

Cleared entries and ECI reports made over the Online Declarations website cannot yet be adjusted, thus users need to request the Customs Client Service section at the processing port to amend the entry. This should be done by email or fax (refer to numbers under Contact Us). ECI reports will have to be cancelled and re-entered, as Customs cannot adjust these.  

Shipping companies need to advise their clients about vessel or port changes as soon as possible to ensure the right port has the clearance for the right vessel as early as possible. 

For airfreight, there is currently a problem for the Air Cargo Terminal Operator (CTO) in identifying the individual consignments that have been offloaded, as a consolidation is likely to be loaded across various "units", and the CTO does not receive a consignment-level load plan. Customs intends to work with consolidators, integrators and CTOs to resolve this, but in the meantime, does not require the Customs clearance to be amended for airfreight unless it is a master waybill consignment. CTOs will need to advise such consignors as soon as possible about the change of flight to enable adjustment of the clearance in time for loading.​ 

Last updated: Friday, 15 April 2011

Customs suggests that as soon as you confirm the other details required on the entry, you make an entry that omits container numbers and container status, and note in the "Remarks" field that the goods declared on the entry are to be containerised. This will at least alert Customs that you intend to export. As soon as you know the container numbers, adjust the entry by adding them. Some brokers/exporters may prefer to cancel and re-lodge the entry, depending on how easily adjustments can be made via your EDI software. Alternatively, you can take the risk that Customs will not require to examine the shipment, and wait till the container numbers are known before lodging the entry.

Last updated: Friday, 15 April 2011
Yes. All you need to do is contact our National Contact Centre on 0800 428 786 to enquire.​ Last updated: Thursday, 08 December 2011

Yes, empty containers for discharge in New Zealand, for transhipment in New Zealand, or in transit to the United States (whether as a destination or transit point) must be included in the inward cargo report.  

Fact Sheet 6B  – Completing an Electronic Cargo Information Report has more information on supplying the correct container status.

Last updated: Friday, 15 April 2011

If a sea freight consolidator lodges a consolidator’s outward report for a container, Customs will reconcile its clearance number with the freight forwarder’s bill number. Therefore, at this stage, all that is required is to retain advice of the clearance number and evidence that the freight forwarder’s bill number relates to the physical consignment. However, when more secure supply chain provisions come into force, tighter controls will be applied to freight forwarders who are not approved.

Last updated: Friday, 15 April 2011