All pet exports – except cats and dogs to Australia

To take your pet overseas you must meet several requirements. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved. Note, cats and dogs going to Australia follow a different process.


Follow the steps

Step1

What you need to know

An overview of exporting pets (other than cats and dogs that are going to Australia) from start to finish.

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Types of pets included in this process

This process covers all pets, except for cats and dogs that are travelling to Australia.

What is defined as a pet?

Mostly, pets are cats, dogs and other small animals kept for companionship. If your pet doesn’t fit the mould for the usual companion animal, check out our guide to exporting live animals.

To export your pet successfully you must:

  • check if your pet needs to be microchipped. Note, that all cats and dogs that require an export certificate must be microchipped
  • ensure your pet meets all of the import requirements set by the destination country (including if you need an import permit). Note, that each destination country has different requirements for each animal species
  • ensure that the import requirements match our export requirements (OMAR’s)
  • use a pet exporter (recommended)
  • ensure all the necessary documentation is completed correctly
  • check whether you need an animal welfare export certificate from an MPI official veterinarian
  • get an export certificate from an MPI official veterinarian. Most countries require an export certificate
  • be aware of relevant legislation.

If you're planning to later bring your pet back to New Zealand, make sure you check the requirements for bringing pets into New Zealand before you leave.

Consider using a registered pet exporter

MPI recommends you use a registered pet exporter to help arrange tests, treatments, flights, import permits, crates and other requirements. Most airlines will only deal with a pet exporter as this adds assurance that all requirements will be completed at the appropriate time before departure. Fees and charges apply.

Export certificates and Animal Welfare Export Certificates (AWEC)

Export certificates are different to Animal Welfare Export Certificates – and you may need both.

  • Talk to your pet transporter or vet about the OMAR. All the requirements mentioned in the OMAR are detailed in the export certificate and it is signed off at the time of export. An export certificate is a security controlled document that is held by MPI official vets.
  • Your pet may also require an Animal Welfare Export Certificate (AWEC). An AWEC is also signed by an MPI official vet at the time of export certification. There are some exemptions to AWECs. Note, the minimum age requirement for a cat or dog AWEC is 12 weeks.

Veterinarians involved in animal export

Any New Zealand-registered vet can prepare a pet for export and give them all the treatments they need.

However, official vets sign and issue export certificates and animal welfare export certificates. An official vet is employed by MPI. Their job is to make sure all live animals that we export meet export and animal welfare requirements. They work close to the places animals leave New Zealand from, like airports and ports.

Advice on supplying pre-export, pro-forma documents or certificates

Some overseas competent authorities may ask for information about a consignment before they issue an import permit. Sometimes airlines may also ask for this information.

They may want it supplied in the same format as the relevant export certificate template. However, issuing a document that looks like an export certificate (official assurance) could pose some risk to exports if done incorrectly.

MPI has published a document, which provides guidance and advice to exporters when preparing pro-forma certification for live animal, semen and embryo exports.

Download the guidance document [PDF, 139 KB]

Step2

What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

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Check your destination country's import requirements

You need to check the overseas market access requirements (OMAR) for your destination country. OMARs (export requirements) differ depending on the destination country and species of animal. Check the OMAR to find out the destination country requirements, including:

  • if an import permit is required
  • what vaccinations your pet will need
  • what parasite treatments are needed
  • whether any tests are needed
  • when the treatments and tests need to be done
  • pre-export quarantine

If there's an OMAR for your destination country, you'll need an 'official assurance' (export certificate) before you can send your pet. Official assurance is the New Zealand Government's assurance to the destination country that your pet meets the standards set out in the OMAR.

Early preparation is recommended. Some countries require vaccinations to be done months before your pet leaves or they might have to be quarantined before they're exported. Your vet might also have to order in some infrequently used treatments.

If you can't find an OMAR for your pet, work directly with your importing agent to find out the requirements.

Confirm if quarantine is needed

Whether your pet needs to be quarantined in New Zealand (before it goes) or the export country (once it arrives) depends on the species of your pet and the destination country. You can find out about any pre- export quarantine requirements in the OMAR for your pet and export destination. It is ideal to check with the destination country if a post-export quarantine is required as not always it is mentioned in the OMAR.

Make sure you're using the latest requirements

OMARs published by MPI are the latest requirements as understood by MPI. But they may not be up-to-date. This is because importing countries don't always tell MPI about changes. And while import permits issued by the importing country often contain their latest import requirements – these won't always have been agreed with MPI.

Don't start pre-export preparations until you've checked if there's an OMAR. Where an import permit is required, exporters should also:

  • get the permit before beginning pre-export preparations
  • check the permit requirements match the OMAR.

Where permit requirements don't match an OMAR, contact the animal exports team immediately.

Work with your importing agent if there is no OMAR

If there's no OMAR for your destination country, work directly with your importing agent to find out the requirements.

If negotiations are needed with the overseas government or new market access is requested, you'll have to pay MPI for these services. Note, that cats and dogs are not charged for negotiating new access requirements for overseas markets. But charges apply to all other pets. Complete the form to request services and return it to MPI's animal export team. MPI will recover all costs involved and send the applicant an invoice.

Find out more

Use a registered pet exporter (recommended)

While MPI doesn't require you to use a pet exporter, most airlines will only deal with pet exporters. MPI recommends you use a registered pet exporter – they know the exporting system and can help make the process a lot smoother for both you and your pet.

Note that pet exporters will be able to give an idea of the total cost of exporting your pet. MPI can only provide you with information about the fees we charge.

Commercial exporters

If you're exporting commercially, you must register with MPI as an exporter or use the services of a registered exporter. Exporter registration can be done online, or by completing a printed form.

If you have questions about registering as an exporter, email approvals@mpi.govt.nz

Get a suitable crate and other provisions for travel

Your pet will need to travel in an approved crate and have other provisions to comply with International Air Transport Association (IATA) requirements, unless it's travelling on a personal boat or yacht. Your pet exporter can arrange this for you. It's a good idea to get your crate early and get your pet used to being in and around it.

Apply for an animal welfare export certificate, if needed

You'll probably need an animal welfare export certificate (AWEC), unless your pet is travelling for less than 6 hours, or travelling with you on your personal boat or yacht.

Get an export certificate

You'll need an official MPI vet to sign the export certificate and AWEC at the international airport (Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch) your pet is departing from. You'll need to take the completed “Supporting declaration form for export certification and AWEC form” with you to the MPI official vet. The supporting declaration form must be completed by the owner and a New Zealand registered vet. This form supports the issuing of an export certificate and an AWEC by the official MPI veterinarian.

Registered exporters and recognised agencies can access export certificate templates

Registered exporters and recognised agencies can access export certificate templates for overseas countries – a template version of the export certificate. Using the templates will save time when competing other export documents.

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are exempt from export certificate fees. Assistance dogs have to meet all the requirements of the destination country.

Pet ashes

If you're planning to export pet ashes, contact the destination country for the requirements. You may also have to meet other requirements. These might be commercial requirements or requirements set by other government agencies like the New Zealand Customs Service. 

Be familiar with the official assurance programme

MPI's official assurance programme (OAP) for exporting live animals helps exporters meet the import requirements of their destination country. The focus is on the export of live animals for commercial purposes. However, pet exporters and vets should be aware of all aspects of the OAP for live animals.

Step3

How you know you're ready to export

Getting your export documentation.

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You're officially ready to export your pet when you have:

  • an import permit for your destination country, if needed
  • an MPI export certificate, if needed
  • an animal welfare export certificate, if needed.

When to alert MPI

If you're exporting a pet, you're responsible for telling MPI within 24 hours if the pet:

  • doesn't have the required export documents – for example, if they're removed or lost
  • fails to meet relevant overseas market access requirements (OMARs)
  • is refused entry by a foreign government.

Who to contact

If you have questions about exporting your pets, email animalexports@mpi.govt.nz.

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