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Household effects

If you're travelling to New Zealand and you're bringing your used household items with you, please read the information on this page.

  • This page includes a list of some items that might be considered household effects.
  • There are several criteria you must meet to qualify for a household effects concession.
  • If you do not qualify for a concession, duty and GST will apply.
  • This page outlines the steps you must follow to import household effects.

Visit the Prohibited and restricted items section and the Ministry for Primary Industries website for biosecurity regulations before you consider shipping your household effects to NZ.

List of household effects

Household effects can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Caravans (other than motorised)
  • Chinaware, glassware, silverware, cutlery, household utensils and ornaments
  • Furniture
  • Hand-tools and equipment of a kind normally owned and operated by householders.
  • Equipment a person may have in their garage and can include such equipment as:
    • Automotive or garden tools
    • Electric saws, drills and lathes
    • Hobby tools
    • Lawn and property maintenance equipment
    • Air Compressors
  • Household appliances (e.g., washing machines and refrigerators)
  • Household linen and bedding (e.g., sheets, pillowcases, blankets and quilts)
  • Household electronics, personal computers, sound systems and ancillary equipment
  • Professional tools, such as:
    • a mechanic’s tool box or plumbers tools
    • a photographer’s cameras and equipment
  • Personal sporting equipment
  • Trailers
  • Pianos and other musical instruments
  • Wine "cellars" and other collections
    • You may bring your wine collection into NZ under concession provided you can prove the purchase of these items occurred over an extended period of time and is consistent with domestic consumption or collection.
    • Other alcoholic beverages (e.g., spirits) may be considered for this concession.

Criteria for household effects concession

You must meet the following criteria to qualify for household effects concession:

  • You must hold a document authorising residence in New Zealand. This can be one of the following:
  1. a New Zealand passport
  2. an Australian passport
  3. a current New Zealand residence visa or permit, or a current returning resident’s visa or permit
  4. a current permanent residence visa (including a resident return visa) issued by the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia
  5. a current work visa or work permit that was issued for a minimum of 12 months
  6. a current work visa or work permit, issued under the Work to Residence (Skilled Migrant Category) policy or the Long Term Business Visa/Permit category
  7. a current visitor’s visa or permit that was issued for a minimum of 3 years (excludes a visitor's visa that allows multiple visits up to six months per visit)

Note: Student visa holders do not qualify; however, you may bring items necessary for you to complete your studies (e.g., a desk, text books or a computer).

  • You must have resided or been domiciled outside of NZ for the whole of the 21-month period preceding your arrival (except for brief holidays or business trips to NZ)
  • Your household effects must have been “personally owned and used” by you before you depart for NZ
  • your household effects must be for your own use and not be intended for any other person, for gift, or for exchange

If the household effects are not for you, then Duty and GST will apply.

If the effects are brand new/ unused you must declare them, because Duty and GST will apply.

If goods falling within the description and criteria listed above are imported into NZ more than five years after the arrival of the passenger into NZ, the goods may be admitted under this concession only with the consent of a Customs officer.

Download the concessionary requirements documentation

If the effects are valued over NZ$1000, you will have to pay an Import Entry Transaction Fee. Visit the Goods Clearance Fees webpage for more information.

Depreciation rates for household effects

If you do not qualify for a concession, Duty and GST will apply. Customs will consider depreciating the value of your goods, based on how long you have owned the household effects.

We calculate depreciation from the time you took possession of your household effects until they arrived in NZ.

Period of ownership and use overseas Depreciation deduction
0-3 months 10%
3-6 months 20%
6-12 months 33%
12-21 months 50%

Importing household effects

Step 1

The shipping company that has transported your household effects should contact you when your effects arrive or are due to arrive in NZ.

This company may complete your Customs clearance on your behalf, you can contact a Customs broker of your choice to manage the Customs clearance or you can obtain clearance through the New Zealand Customs directly.

No matter who you choose to complete your clearance you will be required to provide the documents in Step 2.

Step 2

  For a Customs clearance to be completed, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • NZCS 218 Bringing Personal Household Items into NZ
  • Copy of your passport (photo ID)
  • Document authorising residence in NZ (only if you don’t hold a NZ or AU passport)
  • Packing List (a list of all the household effects you are shipping to NZ)
  • Shipping document which states your household effects have arrived in NZ
    • Airway bill (air freight)
    • Bill of lading (sea freight)
    • Arrival notice (from your shipping company)
    • Consignment note (from a courier company)
    • Notice or letter from NZ Post
  • Any permits that may be required for Prohibited and restricted items
  • Any other relevant supporting documents, e.g. receipts for new items     
  • MPI Supplementary Biosecurity Declaration (PDF 865 KB).

Note: Customs will not prepare or complete a clearance without all documents being received by our clearance team.

Step 3

Customs will prepare your clearance provided the above documents have been emailed to us.

Customs may examine your shipment to verify any of the details you have provided, this may delay your clearance.

Customs will send you an email once clearance has been finalised advising you of the next step:

Amount payable

  • You will receive an email from Customs with an invoice/statement attached.
  • You will be required to pay this amount online prior to the release of your shipment.
  • Visit the Paying Customs webpage for information on making a payment.
  • Once you have made payment, your shipping company will receive automatic notification from Customs that your personal effects can be released to you.

Nothing to pay

  • If there are no Customs charges, you will receive an email from Customs confirming your shipment is cleared.
  • Contact your shipping company to arrange delivery of your  personal effects.
  • If you have general enquiries, visit the Contact us page.

Additional Forms