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COVID-19 update

11.17am 02 April 2020 | News

The New Zealand Government has placed temporary entry restrictions into New Zealand to assist with the containment of the COVID-19. Trade is an essential service, and during all COVID-19 Alert Levels Customs will continue to ensure that imports and exports clear the border.

Latest update: 8 April 2020

Advice for businesses and private importers

Visit the Government's central resource for COVID-19 business information with updates about COVID-19 and guidance to help businesses. 

Customs has implemented additional processes to assist the public and the business community during the COVID-19 lockdown period.  These will be updated on a regular basis as needs arise and as the situation changes. 


Urgent permits

Export CITES Permits for essential goods only which require a stamped hard copy.

For brokers based in Auckland please follow the following process:

  • The broker should scan the permit and email to along with all other required documentation.  Please mark as “Urgent export permit” in the message subject line and include telephone contact details in the body of the email.  The broker should then drop the permit in a dropbox that is located outside the ACIF building at Auckland Airport.  The drop box will be available between 8am – 12 noon each day. 
  • Once processed an officer at ACIF will call the contact details from the email and phone to organise a time that the original can be collected.  If your clearance is urgent and you have not received a response within 24 hours then please call the contact centre on 0800 428 786 for assistance.  

For brokers based in other regions:

Please phone the Customs Contact Centre on 0800 428 786 between 0800 and 1700.  Your request for clearance will be forwarded to the appropriate port and regional port officer.  You will be contacted as soon as practicable for further instructions.  


  • Please email requesting clearance and attach a scanned copy of the permit to the email and the TSW lodgement number. These will not be stamped, however the entry will be cleared.
  • The Department of Conservation has requested that where possible agents/importers or original CITES permit holders mail the original permits to DOC over this period

CITES Officer
Department of Conservation
Private Bag 68908
Wellesley Street
Auckland 1141

MOH permits:

  • Please email requesting clearance and attach a scanned copy of the permit to the email and the TSW lodgement number. These will not be stamped, however the entry will be cleared.
  • Please retain these permits as we will request hard copies after the Alert Level 4 lockdown period ends.

Police Permits (Firearms):

Until further notice these Lodgements will not be cleared. We will update when we have more information.


Please email requesting clearance and attach a scanned copy of the carnet to the email. Carnets will not be stamped, however the entry will be cleared. The stamping and processing of hard copy carnets will continue after the Alert Level 4 lock down period ends.

Customs will provide the broker with a cover letter for both export and import carnets.  The letter will state that the normal process could not be completed and to please accept that this letter is authorisation that the goods covered by this carnet have been finalised or processed by Customs.

If a Customs delivery order is required please also provide the shipment documents.  Please note that a Customs broker can also complete this process.

Live animals - Private

You must clear your pets through Customs when they arrive in the country.

Please email scanned copies of your documentation and note "Urgent - Live anmals" in the subject line.

If you require urgent after hours assistance or clearance please email your request to

Human remains

If you are bringing human remains into the country, please email scanned copies of your documentation and note "Urgent - Human remains" in the subject line.

If you require urgent after hours assistance or clearance please email your request to

Personal and household effects

Concessionary entry of household effects and motor vehicles for those who have returned to NZ earlier than expected will be looked at on a case by case basis. If you or your client has failed to meet the terms of the concession (ref 80) due to your early return then please email all details to  Evidence to support your case includes:

  • Evidence you were fully intending to be overseas for a period greater than 21 months, e.g an employment contract or similar, itinerary or rental agreements
  • For motor Vehicles evidence must be produced that the vehicle was owned prior to the current environment

Please note that this relates to clearance only.  Movement of personal effects are not deemed essential.  Visit MBIE’s website for more information on essential business and services.  

Medicines imported by visitors

Visitors who have entered NZ recently with their regular supply of prescription medicine for the duration of their stay may be running out of the medicine due to the COVID-19 situation and may require additional medicine until they can return to their home country.

Provided the prescription medicine is lawfully supplied, clearly labelled in the original or pharmacy packaging, is less than three months’ supply and is accompanied with a copy of a doctor’s prescription or letter, Medsafe will be able to assess the medicine at the border.

Visitors can email Medsafe at and are requested to supply the following information:

  • Who is the medicine for?
  • The reason for the delay in not returning to your home country?
  • Details of the medicine to be imported such as brand, active ingredient, strength, quantity and dosage instructions.
  • Details of how the medicine is to be supplied to the visitor in NZ such as dispensed from a pharmacy, supplied by a doctor or obtained and sent from family.
  • Provide evidence that the medicine has been supplied lawfully such as a doctor’s letter or prescription, or, a copy of the pharmacy dispensing labels on the medicine or pharmacy packaging.

Please note that this information doesn't apply to controlled drugs, these cannot be sent into New Zealand without a licence.

For further information please visit the Medsafe website.


All payments should be made online, or on deferred accounts. Cheques will not be accepted. 

Any other questions regarding payment for commercial clearances should be referred to the Revenue Management team.  Please email any questions or requests to:

Advice for freight forwarders, logistics operators and brokers

Movement of essential/non-essential goods

Companies that have non-essential goods blocking movement of essential goods may apply for permission to move those goods from the port to their CCA/ATF for storage. However, they are not authorised to unpack or deliver those non-essential goods to their customers.

All communications with Customs should be via View the full details.

Movement of non-essential goods from a port or a CCA

Moving non-essential goods from the port or your CCA – permission is needed under COVID-19 restrictions.

  • Permission is needed from Customs to move non-essential goods, and will only be granted where the movement is necessary to ease congestion.
  • If permission is granted, and the movement is from the port to your general CCA, or general CCA-to-general CCA, you should use the same authorities as pre-COVID-19 to keep the goods under Customs control i.e. continuous collector’s permit, paperless transhipment scheme.
  • However, if the movement you are seeking permission for is from the port or your general CCA to an area that is not licensed as a general CCA and ATF, you will need to simultaneously apply to MPI and Customs for a permit for the Temporary Removal of Goods from a Customs Controlled Area, in order for the goods to remain under Customs control.
  • You must first gain approval from MPI, which can be done by way of an email request submitted to before forwarding such approval to Customs together with a completed Customs Permit application (Customs’ form NZCS 244) for the Temporary Removal of Goods from a Customs-controlled Area.
  • This is generally a single use permit, and must only be used for the goods stated on the application. Customs will consider a issuing a multiple-use permit if the need can be substantiated.
  • The granting of permission to move goods does not excuse anyone from the obligation to lodge an import entry within the required timeframe, and any concerns over the ability to make payment should be raised with our Revenue Management team at  .

All communications with Customs should be via

Read further advice from Customs and the Ministry of Transport.

Contact for trade enquiries

If you require any support from Customs during this time, please email your individual Customs contact in the first instance, or use their cellphone number rather than their landline.

Where possible, we are working from home and we will respond to you as quickly as we can.

Otherwise, our contact centre will remain open 8am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, on 0800 428 786, or you can use our enquiry form. For urgent queries relating to freight, please call 0800 428 786 or email with Urgent in the subject line.

For any urgent clearances after these hours please call 09 927 8059.

Customs is doing everything it can to protect New Zealand from the further spread of COVID-19. Thank you for your understanding and patience during this difficult time.

Previous updates by Customs on COVID-19: