Taking Pets To New Zealand

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

Do you have a beloved family pet that you can’t imagine leaving behind when you emigrate? Then you’ll be happy to know that taking pets to New Zealand is possible.

The most important requirement to meet to directly import your cat or dog is to be from an approved country.

There is much more to know though. Below we’ll cover it all and give you links to detailed information:

  • Approved countries
  • The requirements
    The costs involved
  • Quarantine
  • Using a professional pet importer

Approved countries

At the start of this article that pets must come from approved countries. But what countries are approved and what does ‘approved’ mean?

To appear on New Zealand’s approved list of countries for pet import, a country has to be rabies free or rabies controlled. These countries are divided into three categories to indicate the permit, post-arrival inspection and quarantine requirements for each.

  • Category 1: Australia and Norfolk Island. If you’re importing your pet from here, a permit and quarantine stay are not required and neither are post-arrival inspections in certain cases.
  • Category 2 and 3: Permits are required if importing your pet from a category 2 or 3 country. Post-arrival inspections are also required, as is quarantine.

Should the country you’re importing from not appear on any of these lists, your pet won’t be allowed into New Zealand until it has spent 6 months in an approved country and you can provide a vet certificate.

You can download a document with the breakdown of all approved countries here.

The requirements

New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has published a step-by-step process for importing cats and dogs. This article includes a summary of the requirements, which is as follows:

  • Ensure your cat or dog is eligible for import into New Zealand. Checking if you’re from an approved country is the best place to start.
  • Ensure your dog is not a prohibited breed or type.
  • Note the restrictions around hybrid breeds.
  • Book an MPI-approved quarantine facility. This applies to all cats and dogs, except those from Australia.
  • Apply for a permit to import from the MPI at least 20 working days before you’ll need the permit. Again, this does not apply to cats and dogs from Australia.
  • Ensure all of the import requirements have been met.
  • Notify an official veterinarian in New Zealand:
  • At least 5 working days before arrival for cats and dogs from Australia.
  • At least 72 hours before arrival for cats and dogs from all other approved countries.
  • Declare any medication your animal is taking.

You can get the complete step-by-step process on the MPI website. If you want to import a pet that’s not a dog or cat, read this.

The costs involved

Taking pets to New Zealand is not necessarily cheap. You’ll have to pay for permits, inspections, and other costs as needed, for example quarantine fees.

The MPI lists some fees and charges you can expect to pay here. Don’t forget transport costs!


As explained, pets from Australia don’t have to stay in quarantine. Pets from all other approved countries have to stay in quarantine for a minimum of 10 days.

Please note that all cats and dogs must land in Auckland or Christchurch first. All other cats and dogs must be transferred to a quarantine facility.

Using a professional pet importer

The best piece of advice we can give you is to use a professional pet importer to get your pet to New Zealand successfully and safely.

In fact, most airline require that you use one when taking pets to New Zealand to ensure you’ve followed all the rules.

Professional pet exporters offers a wide range of services like arranging test, treatments, flights, permits, shipping crates and taking care of other requirements.

You can start your search for professional pet importers by looking at Global Paws, PETPort, and PetRelocation.

Please note: Intergate Emigration has not dealt with any of these providers. As such, this recommendation is not an official endorsement or guarantee of the services provided.

In summary…

If you’re bringing a cat or dog from Australia, you don’t need a permit. However, you do need a permit if your pet is coming from an approved country.

When you come from any other country, your pet will only be able allowed into New Zealand after it has spent 6 months in an approved country.

To get through all the requirements without a hitch and get your furry family member into New Zealand safely, strongly consider using a professional pet importer.

For any other immigration advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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