What you should know about importing household goods to New Zealand

/ / Family Immigration, Tips for Your Move to New Zealand

importing household goods to New Zealand

Don’t know where to start with importing household goods to New Zealand? We have the information you need to get the process going:

  • How to avoid border clearance problems
  • Items to declare
  • Prohibited and restricted items
  • Importing vehicles and pets
  • Packing tips

Let’s start with the three things to do to get your goods through customs as quickly as possible.

1. Prepare an inventory

A detailed inventory listing all items in the consignment must accompany your shipment. You must also declare the necessary items. See our packing tips at the end of the article to making this process simpler.

2. Complete the necessary declarations

You’ll need to complete an Unaccompanied Personal Baggage Declaration form if your personal items are shipped by sea or by air.

Should your shipment contain goods that pose a biosecurity risk, it’s advisable to complete a Personal Effects Supplementary Declaration. This declaration provides more information about specific items and could change the risk status of your consignment.

3. Provide the required documentation

Personal goods being shipped to New Zealand must be accompanied by:

  • A completed NZCS 218: Unaccompanied Personal Baggage Declaration
  • A completed sea container Quarantine Declaration (for full container loads)
  • A detailed inventory
  • A completed sea container Quarantine Declaration, if you’re shipping a full container load
  • Valid treatment certificates for goods that have been fumigated, heat treated or cleaned
  • The shipping arrival papers, for instance Bill of Lading, Airway Bill or Arrival Advice
  • Supplementary declaration, which provides more information about specific items and could change the risk status of your consignment.
  • Any permits you need, for example:

Items to declare

New Zealand maintains the right to inspect certain items once these items have entered its borders to maintain the country’s strict health and safety standards. These items must be declared and include:

  • Fresh or dried fruit, vegetables, mushrooms or fungi
  • Any meat, fish, shellfish or poultry
  • Ingredients used in cooking, all milk products, cheese, eggs or eggs products, and milk-based baby foods
  • Hunting trophies or stuffed animals
  • Traditional or herbal medicines or remedies, health supplements and homeopathic remedies that include animal or plant parts
  • Dried flower arrangements or Christmas decorations made from plant material
  • Items made from wood
  • Items stuffed with seeds or straw
  • Items made from bamboo, cane, coconut or straw
  • Items containing hair, fur, unprocessed wool, skin, feathers or bone
  • All outdoor, camping, sports equipment, hiking boots and other sporting footwear that could be contaminated with soil, seeds or water
  • Animal grooming and veterinary equipment, beekeeping equipment, saddles, bridles, bird cages and pet beds
  • Gardening equipment and outdoor furniture

This is not an exhaustive list, so check with your importer or with customs if you’re unsure about any items that you’re planning to take with you.

Restricted and prohibited items

Some personal items are prohibited or restricted from entering New Zealand:

  • Any packets of food
  • Honey, pollen, propolis, honeycombs and other bee products
  • Plants, bulbs, cuttings, corms, rhizomes or tubers, commercially packed seeds and seeds for planting
  • Packaging such as straw or used fresh food cartons
  • Items restricted under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) such as coral, ivory, snakeskin or whale bone items, turtle shell and some sea shells.

It is best to leave these items behind when packing for you move, unless you can ensure that is accompanied by official certification.

We’ll also advise you to read up on New Zealand’s restricted and prohibited items. You can get the information you need from New Zealand’s Customs Service.

Importing vehicles and pets

You are allowed to take your car and your pets to New Zealand, but you’ll have to meet all the requirements to be able to do so.

You can find out more about importing cars from the New Zealand Transport Agency. To learn how to import your pet, consult the Ministry of Primary Industries.

Packing tips

If you pack properly when moving your household goods to New Zealand, you’ll minimize the time it takes to inspect your goods. Here are tips for achieving this:

1. Create a packing list:

Record all boxes and what is in each box. Also include a description of what the goods are made from. For example, metal bed frame or cane basket.

2. Label and number:

Number the packing boxes and match the numbers on your packing list. Be sure to use permanent marker to write on boxes when you’re labelling them. Don’t use sticky labels, as these often fall off during the move.

3. Cartons and packing materials:

It is best to not use second-hand boxes or bags, unless you’re absolutely certain these are free from animal or plant material. Additionally don’t use straw, sawdust, wood shavings or other plant materials as packing or filler.

4. Pack items in groups:

Pack similar goods together and group the boxes together.

5. Pack for safety:

Securely wrap sharp or breakable objects such as knives or ceramic items. Clearly mark boxes with medical items, dangerous goods, or any items that could pose a safety risk. Do not pack flammable items such as fireworks or paint thinners.

Summarising importing household goods to New Zealand

You have to create a packing list, ensure that you provide the required documents, and declare the necessary items to import your goods when moving to New Zealand. Please also refer to the Ministry of Primary Industries (MIP) and New Zealand Customs websites for more information.

You’ll also make your life much easier if you work with a shipping company that specializes in the import and export of household goods. Such a company would be able to advise on the costs, the forms, and the general requirements when shipping your family’s belongings.

Sources: MIP and New Zealand Customs

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