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Import pets and 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)
  • a guide or hearing dog
  • a companion dog.

If you aren’t sure whether you can bring your pet into NZ, check with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Required documents

  • Biosecurity clearance (MPI)
  • An invoice or receipt showing how much your pet is worth. 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
  • A completed NZCS 231: Imported Animal Clearance Form (DOC 252 KB).

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:

Charges when importing animals

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

  • were purchased online and are worth NZ$400 or more (including any shipping costs)
  • were sent as a gift.

We may also charge you an import transaction fee.

Concessions on imported pets

If you're moving here for the first time or returning after more than 21 months away you may not have to pay GST and other charges if you can prove you have the right to live in New Zealand and that you’ve owned and personally cared for the animals prior to their arrival in New Zealand. However, a transaction fee of $55.71 will apply for this animal to be imported.

You can prove you are allowed to live here with a:

  • New Zealand passport
  • Australian passport
  • New Zealand residence or Returning Resident’s Visa
  • Australian permanent residence or Resident Return Visa
  • NZ Work Visa valid for 12 months or more
  • NZ Work Visa in these 2 categories:
    • Work to Residency (Skilled Migrant Category) OR Long Term Business Visa
  • NZ Visitor’s Visa valid for 3 years or more (this does not include a 3 year multiple entry visa).

Getting a clearance

If you’re importing an animal for any commercial reason (ie. for breeding/racing purposes or animals being imported for shows) GST will be due on the whole value of the animal including freight and insurance costs that were paid to send the animal to New Zealand. 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. You can also use a Customs broker.

International airlines are only transporting animals to NZ’s main airports. Customs offices at these airports are Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Bringing in pet(s)

You may be able to bring your pet with you. They must meet specific health and quarantine standards, and you might need a permit.

Some species (MPI) and dog breeds (Department of Internal Affairs) aren’t allowed in NZ.