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New Zealand – Importing a Pet

Moving to New Zealand with your pet can be an exciting experience, but it is crucial to understand the rules and regulations for importing pets into the country. This article provides information on importing pets to New Zealand, including restrictions, vaccination requirements, paperwork, quarantine, licensing, and relevant government websites.

Restrictions on importing pets to New Zealand

New Zealand allows the import of pets, but there are strict regulations and requirements to ensure the safety of the country’s unique flora and fauna. The type of pets that can be brought into New Zealand is limited, and some species are prohibited. The restricted and prohibited species are determined by the Biosecurity Act 1993.

Dogs, cats, and rabbits are the only species allowed to be imported into New Zealand as pets. Other species such as rodents, reptiles, and birds are subject to specific regulations and permits. For example, birds must undergo pre-export testing and be accompanied by a health certificate from a government-approved veterinarian.

Vaccination Requirements

All pets imported to New Zealand must have a valid import permit, which includes vaccination requirements. Dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies, distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus. The vaccination must be administered at least six months before the pet’s arrival in New Zealand and must not be older than 12 months.

Additionally, all pets must be microchipped and have a current rabies antibody test result. The test must be done at least six months before the pet’s arrival in New Zealand and must be performed by an approved laboratory.

Application procedure and paperwork

To import a pet to New Zealand, you must follow specific procedures and complete the required paperwork. The first step is to obtain an import permit from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). The import permit application must be completed online and includes information about the pet’s species, health status, and country of origin.


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Once you have obtained the import permit, you must ensure that your pet meets all the requirements, including vaccination, microchipping, and testing. You must also obtain a veterinary certificate from a government-approved veterinarian in the country of origin.

Furthermore, all pets must undergo a mandatory inspection by a government-approved MPI inspector upon arrival in New Zealand. The MPI inspector will verify the pet’s paperwork and may require additional documents or inspections, depending on the circumstances.

Quarantine Requirements

All pets imported to New Zealand are subject to quarantine requirements to ensure that they do not bring any diseases or pests into the country. The quarantine period varies depending on the pet’s species, health status, and country of origin.

Dogs and cats from certain countries, such as Australia and the UK, may be eligible for a reduced quarantine period of 10 days. However, pets from other countries may face a quarantine period of up to 180 days. The quarantine must be performed at an approved quarantine facility in New Zealand, and the owner must bear the associated costs.

International travel schemes for pets

New Zealand is not part of any international travel scheme for pets, such as the PETS travel scheme in the EU. Therefore, all pets must comply with the specific regulations and requirements for importing pets into New Zealand.

If you are traveling from a country that has a similar animal health status to New Zealand, you may be eligible for a reduced quarantine period or exemption. You should check with the relevant authorities in your country of origin and the MPI for the specific requirements and procedures.

Licensing Requirements

In New Zealand, there is no specific license requirement for owning a pet. However, if you own a dog, you must register them with the local council and ensure that they wear a collar with an identification tag.

Additionally, certain dog breeds are subject to specific regulations and restrictions, such as the American Pit Bull Terrier, which is prohibited in New Zealand. It is essential to check with the local authorities in your area for the specific regulations and requirements.

Relevant Government Websites

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is the primary government agency responsible for regulating and overseeing the import of pets to New Zealand. The MPI provides useful information and guidelines on the requirements and procedures for importing pets to New Zealand.

The MPI website includes information on vaccination requirements, paperwork, quarantine, permits, and other regulations. You can also find information on the specific requirements for importing dogs, cats, and rabbits.

To access the MPI website, visit https://www.mpi.govt.nz/importing/live-animals/pets/steps-to-importing-cats-and-dogs/.

Importing your pet to New Zealand can be a challenging but rewarding experience. The regulations and requirements for importing pets are strict to protect the country’s unique flora and fauna.

To ensure a smooth and hassle-free import process, you must obtain the necessary paperwork, including a valid import permit, health certificate, and vaccination records. You should also ensure that your pet is microchipped and has a current rabies antibody test result.

If you are traveling from a non-PETS scheme country, you may face a quarantine period of up to 180 days. It is essential to check with the relevant authorities in your country of origin and the MPI for the specific requirements and procedures.

By following the regulations and requirements, you can ensure the safe and comfortable travel of your furry friend and enjoy your new life in New Zealand.


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