Moving to New Zealand with pets can be done if you take the time to learn about the process and what’s involved. This article will provide you with some helpful information and tips about moving to New Zealand with your pets in order to get you started.
What is the process?
Before bringing your cat or dog to New Zealand, you need to be sure that your pet meets all of the the health requirements and standards. Unless you are coming from Australia, your pet will have to be put in quarantine for at least ten days.
Pet transport companies
A professional pet exporter can help you navigate your way through the process and make sure that your pet arrives safely. Services offered include arranging for health tests, treatments, flights, permits, and shipping crates. Here is a list of some of the reputable pet export services that you can choose from.
- AirCare Pet Services (Auckland)
- Dogtrainers (Auckland)
- Donquest on Jessons Limited (Christchurch)
- Jetpets Animal Transport (Auckland)
- Pet Transport (Auckland)
- Qualified Pet Services (Auckland)
- Aero Pets NZ Limited (Auckland)
Steps to take
If you opt to make your own arrangements rather than using a service, there are several steps you must take. Here is a list of the requirements that you must follow in order to move your pet to New Zealand.
- Obtain a copy of the import health standard (IHS) guidance documents and checklists for cats and dogs and read it carefully. Use this guide to determine whether or not your pet is eligible for import to New Zealand.
- Arrange for your pet’s quarantine, if required, by booking a facility. All dogs and cats, except from Australia, must be quarantined at a facility approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
- Apply for a permit from MPI. This should be done at least 20 working days before your departure date. You probably won’t need a permit if you are bringing a cat or dog from Australia, but your pet will undergo an inspection upon arrival. If you are moving from an approved country other than Australia, you will need a permit to bring your pet.
- When moving from a non-approved country, your pet must first spend at least six months in an approved country and obtain a veterinary certificate before being allowed into New Zealand. You will be responsible for all costs for permits, inspections, quarantine fees, etc.
- Be sure that you meet all of the import requirements.
- If you are importing a cat or dog from Australia or an assistance dog from an approved country that has met the MPI criteria, notify an official veterinarian in New Zealand.
- Check inspection times for biosecurity clearance for pets from Australia.
- Declare your pet’s medications, if any.
- When you arrive, you must present the required documents as you go through customs, and you might have to pay a fee. Pets from Australia will be cleared for entry into New Zealand, but all other pets will be transferred to a quarantine facility.
In order to import your pet in New Zealand, you will need to be in possession of the following documents.
- Biosecurity clearance
- An invoice, receipt, or some document that shows the value of your pet
- An air waybill or bill of lading that shows the method and cost of transport
- Personal photo identification, such as a passport or driver’s license
- Vaccinations certificates and evidence of ownership
- A completed Imported Animal Clearance Form
Certain breeds and types of dogs are not permitted for import to New Zealand under any circumstances. These include the American Pit Bull Terrier, Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa, and Perro de Presa Canario.
Hybrids, offspring of dogs or cats crossed with other species, are also not permitted. The only exception is a Bengal cat with documentation showing five generations of domestic ancestry.
These restrictions do not apply for dogs registered under the Dog Control Act of 1996, guide or hearing dogs, and companion dogs.
You may not bring horses, birds, ferrets, mice, rats, reptiles, snakes, or ornamental fish. Chincillas are permitted only if from the United Kingdom. Guinea pigs and rabbits are only permitted only if coming from Australia.
Since October 2017, cats and dogs from countries other than Australia are not allowed to fly into Welling Airport.
If you are importing a pet that you do not own, you will need a signed letter from the pet’s owner granting you permission to clear the pet, a copy of the owner’s identification documents, and a copy of their ticket to New Zealand.
To clear a dog, you must have evidence that the dog is registered in New Zealand or a declaration that the dog is not a prohibited breed. Other documents might be required by the Import Health Standard.
You might be charged GST on pets purchased online, worth more than NZ$400, or pets sent as gifts. You also might be charged an import transaction fee.
If you are moving to New Zealand for the first time or returning after over 21 months of absence, and you can prove your right to live in New Zealand and that you have owned and cared for your pet before your arrival, you might not be charged GST. However, you will still be required to pay a transaction fee.
If you are bringing an animal for commercial purposes such as breeding, showing, or racing, you will be required to pay GST on the value of the animal including shipping and insurance costs involved in transporting it. Clearance must be arranged with a Customs broker.
Although it can be complicated to bring a pet to New Zealand, in most cases, it can be done. If you plan carefully and understand the regulations, you should be able to get your pet(s) into New Zealand on your own, but we would highly recommend using a specialist pet transport company. Pet transport companies have the experience to get the job done, and they can save you a lot of time and frustration.