Lodge your import entry

Importers send electronic declarations (import entries) covering the details of their import before we release their goods.

Customs clearance

You need to send us an electronic lodgement before we clear your goods – ie before you can receive them. We don’t provide electronic lodgement services directly. However, you can:

  • use a Customs broker
  • use a freight forwarder
  • use TSW (for some lodgements) 
  • use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) software.

You must submit your import entry clearance within 20 days of your items arriving in New Zealand. You can submit your documentation in advance.

Types of import entry

Standard import entry for items worth NZ$1000 or more.

Temporary import entry for items that will only be in NZ for 1 year or less before being exported.

Simplified import entry:

A simplified entry is used for:

  • commercial imports with a VFD of less than $1000
  • unaccompanied passengers baggage, personal and household effects (excluding motor vehicles which must be cleared on an import entry) regardless of VFD
  • private imports with a VFD of less than $1000.

A simplified entry may also be used by brokers or importers to:

  • account for goods that are short landed, short shipped or short packed
  • account for "write offs" that could not be cleared on an ECI.

In all cases where the VFD of commercial imports exceeds $1000, a full import entry must be used.

A simplified entry does not require the use of importer or supplier codes although these can be input however if a broker or importer wants to utilise a deferred payment account then the client/broker codes can be used.

Permit entry for items where you’ve made an entry and paid Customs duties and GST, but the items were short-packed, short-shipped or short-landed from the original shipment, and have arrived separately from it.

Sight entry for items where you can’t make an accurate, full or complete entry because of missing details.

Electronic Cargo Information (ECI):

  • for items worth less than NZ$1,000, and
  • for items less than NZ$60 total of Customs duties and GST.

Bringing in commercial items as luggage

Sometimes you may want to bring your commercial items into NZ as part of your luggage.

We treat these items the same way we treat all commercial imports, and you must declare them on your passenger arrival card.


If you arranged clearance for your goods before you arrived in NZ, you can leave the airport with them. You will need your import delivery order or import delivery order number.

You must submit an electronic lodgement – Customs brokers and freight forwarders can help you do this.

Clearance when you arrive

If you haven’t arrange pre-clearance, and:

  • your items are worth less than NZ$1000, a Customs officer at the airport will submit an electronic lodgement for you. This will take extra time
  • your items are worth NZ$1000 or more, the airline will hold your items until we have processed your electronic lodgement and cleared your items.

Your airline may charge you for storing items until we’ve cleared them.

Temporary imports

Sometimes you are importing goods that you’ll be exporting again. If they aren’t consumable and will be in NZ for less than a year, we call them “temporary imports”.

You may not have to pay Customs duties and GST on temporary imports.

These could include:

  • samples which aren’t for sale
  • camera gear you’ll be using in a film.

There are 2 options for declaring temporary imports:

  1. an ATA carnet
  2. submitting an electronic temporary lodgement through a Customs broker or freight forwarder (you may need to give us security in the form of a cash deposit, financial bond or temporary import approval and undertaking).

ATA carnet

An ATA carnet is an international Customs document which guarantees you will take out the items you’re bringing in. You use the carnet at both the port of departure and the port of arrival.

ATA carnets are valid for 1 year.

Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to find out about getting an ATA carnet:

Completing your TIE entry

If you’re completing your TIE by a single export/import entry, record the TIE number in the “completion entry” field on the export/import entry.

If you’re completing your TIE by multiple export/import entries, record the TIE number in the “completion entry” field of the final export/import entry. Record the other completing entry numbers in the ‘miscellaneous remarks’ field.

Learn more in our Guide to temporary admissions of goods (PDF 608 KB).