When travelling to New Zealand, it is important to read the customs rules carefully. Certain products such as food may not be carried into New Zealand. In addition, starting 2019 an online New Zealand visa (NZeTA) must be applied for before departure.
New Zealand visa and tourist tax
Starting October 2019, it is no longer possible to travel to New Zealand without a visa or travel authorisation (NZeTA). The New Zealand immigration service has introduced the New Zealand electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) to save travellers from having to apply for a visa at the embassy to travel to New Zealand. In addition to the costs of the NZeTA, a tourist tax, the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy, has to be paid. This fee is already included in the cost of the New Zealand visa. The tax is used for projects to protect the environment and make tourism in New Zealand more sustainable.
Customs rules in New Zealand
Certain products may not be imported into New Zealand, or only to a limited extent. Perhaps the most important products that should not be carried are foodstuffs because, according to the customs authorities, they can transmit diseases or vermin to New Zealand and thus harm the environment and the economy. Do not take fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products with you when you travel, because you could be fined or even prosecuted for this. Aside from foodstuffs, there are restrictions for the following categories:
TTobacco and alcoholic beverages
Travellers aged 17 and over may carry tobacco and alcohol into New Zealand, but only in limited quantities. 50 cigarettes, 50 grams of cigars, 50 grams of tobacco or a combination of the three may be imported per person, as long as the total weight does not exceed 50 grams. These travellers (aged 17 and over) may also import three bottles of spirits with a maximum capacity of 1 ¼ litres each and 4.5 litres of wine or beer.
Clothing and personal effects
Clothing, jewellery, toiletries and other personal items may be imported freely as long as the products are for personal use and will not be sold or exchanged in New Zealand. Fur garments may only be brought if the traveller has owned the garment for at least 12 months. Gifts with a maximum value of 110 NZ Dollar may also be imported. It is allowed to carry several gifts with a maximum value of 110 NZ Dollar each, as long as the gifts are intended for different people.
All cats and dogs brought to New Zealand must have an identification chip. Three categories have been established for dogs and cats. Dogs and cats imported directly from Australia or Norfolk fall into the first category. They do not require an import licence and do not have to be quarantined upon arrival. The second category includes animals from countries that are completely free of rabies. These are islands in the Pacific Ocean, Japan, Hawaii, islands in Oceania, Iceland and Singapore.
The third category includes countries where rabies is absent or well controlled. Travellers from countries in this category, including the United Kingdom, Ireland and most European countries, are allowed to bring dogs and cats with import licences. The animals are examined on arrival and must then spend at least 10 days in quarantine. Animals from countries which do not belong to one of these three categories may not be imported.
Starting 1996, customs in New Zealand are authorised to search electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops and digital cameras at border checkpoints on suspicion of criminal offences. This means that on arrival in New Zealand, customs officers may ask travellers to enter the passwords for their devices and, if necessary, detain the devices for further investigation.
Local and foreign currencies may be imported up to an amount of 10,000 NZ dollars. Higher amounts must be reported. The same applies to the export of currency from New Zealand. Here, too, a maximum value of 10,000 NZ dollars applies, which may be freely exported.
Border control fee
All international travellers arriving in or departing from New Zealand must pay a fee: the Border Clearance Levy. This fee is between 16 and 18 NZ dollars for arriving travellers and between 2 and 5 NZ dollars for travellers departing from New Zealand. The fee is included in the air ticket or ticket for the cruise. Travellers do not have to pay these fees separately again. Children up to and including 11 years of age and travellers making a stopover or connecting flight in New Zealand will not have to pay the fee.
In addition to checking whether the luggage carried by travellers can be imported into New Zealand, customs officers will also check if travellers have a valid New Zealand visa. Travellers without a valid visa may be denied entry to New Zealand. Remember to apply for an NZeTA before departure.