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Import animals

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

You may have to pay GST and duties on some animals.

Prohibited pets

Some animals aren’t allowed in NZ. You can’t bring in:

  • live birds (MPI is working on an import health standard for companion birds)
  • ferrets
  • guinea pigs (except from Australia)
  • mice and rats (except laboratory animals)
  • snakes and other reptiles (except some reptiles for zoos).

You also can’t bring in dogs if they’re:

  • American Pit Bull Terriers
  • Brazilian Fila
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Perro de Presa Canario.

This prohibition does not apply if your dog is Registered under the Dog Control Act 1996 (NZ Legislation).

If you aren’t sure whether you can bring your pet into NZ, contact Department of Internal Affairs.

If your dog is one of the listed breeds/types, you will also need to provide evidence that it has been certified as an assistance dog.

Required documents

  • Biosecurity clearance (MPI)
  • An invoice or receipt showing the price paid for the animal. If you didn’t pay for your pet, we need something to show their value
  • An air waybill or Bill of lading to show how you’re transporting your pet to NZ and how much it’s costing
  • Any extra required information, including vaccinations certificates and evidence you own the pet
  • Personal photo identification, eg a passport or driver’s license.

If you’re clearing a pet on behalf of their owner, you must have:

  • a signed letter from the owner, giving you permission to clear their pet(s) on their behalf
  • a copy of the owner’s photo identification
  • if the owner isn’t in NZ, a copy of their eTicket to NZ.

If you’re clearing a dog (or a dog embryo, ova or semen), you must have:

  • evidence that you’ve registered the dog in New Zealand (done with local councils), or
  • a vet certificate issued overseas saying that the dog semen is not from a Dangerous Breed, or
  • a Statutory Declaration witnessed in NZ by an Authorised Witness.

GST and duties on imported pets

We may charge GST on your pet(s) if they:

  • were purchased online and are worth NZ$1000 or more (including any shipping costs)
  • were sent as a gift and the value is more than NZ$1000 (animals valued over $1000 will have the gift concession of $110 of value deducted before GST is applied).

We may also charge you an import entry transaction fee.

There is no duty on animals, however, there is GST.

Concessions on imported pets

You may not have to pay GST and other charges if:

  • you’ve been away from NZ for 21 months or more
  • you’re in NZ on a work visa for more than 12 months
  • you’re moving here for the first time, as a resident and you have owned the animal prior to your departure for NZ.

To qualify for a concession, your pet must arrive in NZ on the same flight you do.

Getting a clearance

If you’re importing an animal for any commercial reason, you need to arrange clearance with a Customs broker. Commercial reasons include:

  • breeding
  • showing
  • racing.

If you’re bringing an animal in as a pet, you can get clearance from any Customs office in NZ - please refer to our guidance for private individuals. You can also use a Customs broker.

International airlines only transport animals to Auckland and Christchurch. 

We advise that Customs clearance is processed prior to the arrival of your pet in NZ to avoid unnecessary delays and additional costs.