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New Zealand - Customs and Import Duties

Negotiating to bring items through customs is not always easy, especially if you are moving household items to use in your new home. New Zealand customs have a few standard rules that must be adhered to, although their procedure is relatively straightforward. There are certain documents that need to be produced, and whether you are using a removal company or you are organising the move yourself the procedure is the same.

You will need to complete an ‘Unaccompanied Personal Baggage Declaration’ form which can be used for both customs clearance and agricultural clearance. A full inventory of everything that is being shipped will also be needed. If you are shipping items in separate containers then a list of what is in each container will be needed. It would also be helpful to itemise every item in individual boxes within the containers so that customs officers know what to expect when inspecting your shipment. You will need to have a copy of the shipping arrival papers that can be in the form of the Airway bill, the arrival advice or the Bill of Lading.

You will need to produce your passport and if you have someone dealing with the move on your behalf then you will need to give them written confirmation of your authorisation to deal with the shipment on your behalf. They should also have a photocopy of your passport (the photo and information pages). If you are shipping any firearms or other items that require a permit then a copy of the permit must be supplied to customs officials.

If you are shipping items that do not require a permit in your current country of residence but will require a permit in New Zealand then you must have that permit ready prior to your move and a copy should be supplied to the customs officials. New Zealand residents who have been out of the country for over 21 months and immigrants coming in to the country may find that they are entitled to certain concessions regarding the household items they want to bring into the country with them. However, items not covered under these concessions include motor vehicles, boats and private aircraft. Any commercial goods, such as stock for those looking to set up a business will also not be included in the concessions. You must be able to prove your right to residence within New Zealand so ensure you can produce documents such as residence visas or work visas as these will be needed by customs officials.

Do not attempt to take any drugs into New Zealand. If you are prescribed drugs then you must have certification from your medical practitioner to show those drugs have been legally prescribed to you. If you are caught trying to take any drugs into New Zealand that are illegal or banned substances then it will be likely you could face prosecution and a long prison term. The illegal importing of drugs (smuggling) is not taken lightly in New Zealand. As with entering and exiting customs at any country’s borders you will be asked if you packed the items yourself and if all the items you are carrying are your own. Do not ever carry luggage or items for anyone else across the border.

It is not just drugs that are considered illegal imports in New Zealand. They also have extremely strict regulations with regards to foodstuffs being brought through customs. Anyone found trying to bring food into the country are likely to have it confiscated, and prosecution sometimes occurs. You are wise to declare all items to the customs officials, especially if you are unsure of the regulations. This way you know anything that should not be brought into the country will not be allowed past the customs control and therefore you will avoid heavy fines and a possible criminal record.

New Zealand does not have limits to the amount of cash that can be taken into the country with you but for any amount over NZ$10,000 you will need to complete a Border Cash Report. This amount can be made up of cash, traveller’s cheques, banker’s drafts or money orders and postal orders.

GST (Goods and Services Tax) is about 15% but for many items there are concessions which mean that you may not have to pay very much for the items you are declaring. Gift items and personal items are not subject to the tax regulations as long as you can prove they are genuine.

Useful Resources

Customs Auckland
50 Anzac Avenue
Tel: +64 9 927 8000

Read more about this country

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