Arriving in NZ
Make sure you’ve got the right visa and documents when you arrive in NZ. Also check you haven’t got anything that you shouldn’t bring into NZ – like honey or fruit.
Visas and passports
If you're coming to NZ on a holiday you might not need to apply for a visa before you arrive. If you plan to work or study in NZ, even for a short time, you might need a visa.
Passenger arrival card
When you arrive in NZ, you’ll be given a passenger arrival card. This is where you list items you have with you that you need to declare to the authorities.
If you don’t correctly fill in your card, you can be fined or prosecuted — talk to a customs officer if you're unsure about anything.
What you can’t bring into NZ
You won’t be allowed to bring in:
- hazardous materials
- endangered species (without a permit)
- weapons (without a permit)
- objectionable publications, including videos and digital images, or
- controlled drugs.
What you must declare
You have to declare:
- food of any kind
- alcohol and tobacco, if it's more than you're allowed to bring in duty-free
- plants or parts of plants (alive or dead)
- animals (alive or dead) or their products
- equipment used with animals
- camping gear, golf clubs and used bicycles
- biological specimens.
Anything you declare will be examined to see if it's OK to keep. Some things might need cleaning or treatment before being allowed into NZ.
Declare anything you're not sure of on your arrival card and get it examined. Put anything you know you can't bring in into the bins at the airport when you get off your flight.
Alcohol and tobacco
You can bring alcohol and tobacco with you into NZ if you're 17 or older.
You can bring in more tobacco and alcohol than the duty-free allowance, as long as you pay the duty fees and it's for personal use.
Take care to only bring as much as you're willing to pay duty for.
Alcohol duty-free allowance
You’re allowed to bring in some alcohol duty-free:
- 4.5 litres of wine or beer, and
- 3 bottles of spirits or liqueur — each bottle can hold up to 1.125 litres.
If you bring more than 3 bottles of spirits or liqueur, you’ll have to pay a fee, even if it's less than 3.375 litres (the total amount you can bring in 3 bottles).
For example, if you bring in 5 bottles of spirits that hold 500 millilitres each, or 2.5 litres in total, you'll have to pay a fee.
Tobacco duty-free allowance
You can bring in one of the following, duty-free:
- 50 cigarettes
- 50 grams of tobacco products
- 50 grams of cigars, or
- a mixture of all 3, as long as it’s not more than 50 grams.
If you bring in a lot of tobacco or alcohol you'll have to pay the duty fees, and Customs staff will ask if you’re planning to sell it. There are rules and fees if you’re importing tobacco or alcohol for commercial use.
The amount of duty you pay depends on the kind of alcohol or tobacco you’re bringing in.
Declare prescription medicines you have with you. You’ll need to have:
- a copy of the medicine’s prescription or a letter from your doctor stating that you're being treated with the medicine
- the medicine in its original pharmacy container, with your name on the label and strength and dosage details shown
- no more than 3 months supply (except for oral contraceptives, where a 6 month supply is OK).
You don't need to declare medicine that's not on prescription.
If you're bringing in more than NZ$10,000 (or the equivalent in a foreign currency), you have to declare it.
If you're bringing in more than NZ$700 worth of goods (not including your clothes, jewellery and toiletries), you'll need to declare it as you may have to pay duty fees or GST.