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Accessing your personal information

Under the Privacy Act you can request access to personal information an organisation holds about you.

What information can I request?

Information Privacy Principle 6 of the Privacy Act 2020 gives every person the right to request access to their personal information. Personal information is any information that is about you or could identify you.  Apart from a few exceptions, you can only ask for information that is about you.

Will I receive everything I ask for?

Sometimes Customs may withhold some of the personal information it holds about you. Sections 49-53 of the Privacy Act 2020 list the reasons why we may refuse access to some or all the information we hold. Information can only be withheld if, for example:

  • the disclosure would involve the unwarranted disclosure of the affairs of another individual or of a deceased individual;
  • the disclosure would create a significant likelihood of serious harassment to an individual;
  • the disclosure may prejudice the maintenance of the law by any public sector agency, including the prevention, investigation and detection of offences or the right to a fair trial;
  • the disclosure would breach legal professional privilege.

We have 20 working days from the date we receive your request to provide a response. Where information is withheld, we must provide you with the reason why.

If we need more time to make a decision on your request, for example if you are requesting a lot of information, we are able to extend the time limit for providing a response to you. If an extension is required, we will let you know and give you an idea of how long it will take for us to respond.

If you have asked for information which Customs believes is held by another agency or is more closely connected to the functions of another agency, we are required to transfer your request to the appropriate agency no later than 10 working days after receiving your request. 

We also need to make sure that we only provide personal information to someone who is entitled to receive it. That means before we release your personal information to you, we may ask you to provide proof of your identity. To verify your identity, Customs accepts the following documentation:

  • the biographical page of your passport with your signature (current or recently expired); or
  • or driver licence (front and back)

Please provide copies, not the original document(s). Copies can be supplied as JPEG, PNG, PDF, or document (.doc or .docx) format. Note, we cannot accept links to drop-boxes or external drives, for example Dropbox or Google Drive.

How much will it cost me?

There is no charge for making a request for information under the Privacy Act 2020.

In exceptionally rare circumstances, where a request covers a large volume of information and responding to it will impact business operations, Customs may seek permission from the Privacy Commissioner to charge for the additional resources needed to answer the request. We will discuss this with you first, so you can decide how you wish to proceed.

Can I ask for information about someone else?

In some circumstances, you can request information about someone else if you can show you have their permission to act on their behalf, for example, where the person has completed a privacy waiver authorising the release of your personal information to them.

If you are seeking information about someone else, and you don’t have authority to act on their behalf, you will need to make an Official Information Act request. The Official Information Act requests page explains how to do this.

How do I make a request?

If you wish to request access to your personal information, please email:

If you wish to make a request for  your travel movements, more information is available on the Travel movements requests page.

More information on requesting access to your personal information held by public sector agencies is available through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, visit the Privacy Commissioner’s website.