Steps to get a facility approved

Transitional and containment facilities must meet certain requirements to get MPI's approval to operate. Find out what you need to do to get a facility approved.

Follow the steps


Find out about the approval process

Where to find requirements for getting your facility approved.



Due to Christmas and New Year, applications for new and existing transitional and containment facilities and facility operators, submitted after Friday, 24 November 2017 will fall outside our expected processing time of 6 weeks.  We will resume normal operations Monday, 22 January 2018.

Note: Should you have containers arriving it is recommended that you make alternative arrangements.

Get advice from MPI

Contact your local biosecurity inspector for information on setting up a facility before applying for approval.

You can also request a facility approvals information pack from the national facilities team.

Review the relevant facilities standard

To gain and maintain approval for your facility, it must meet specific requirements outlined in the relevant facilities standard.

For facilities receiving sea containers or general risk goods use the Standard for transitional facilities for general uncleared risk goods (TFGEN).

For all other types of facility, search for the relevant standard.

Requirements for multi-site transitional facilities

Importers who bring in low-risk sea containers – and don't want to have their own transitional facility – can apply for approval of a Multi-site Transitional Facility (MTF) System. This allows them to have containers delivered to their business subject to certain conditions.

Temporary Transitional Facilities follow the same approval procedures

For short-term events such as circuses, large concerts or V8 supercar events, MPI provides a Temporary Transitional Facility (TTF) option to deal with biosecurity risks associated with the event. TTF approvals follow the same procedures as other transitional facilities. Approval will be declined if a request is made for a container already at a port in New Zealand. MPI will also ensure that TTFs are run by a fully trained operator.

MPI to discontinue Temporary Transitional Facilities as of 1st January 2018

MPI has reviewed the Temporary Transitional Facilities (TTF) process and come to the conclusion that it has become difficult and not feasible to monitor compliance within the TTFs.

Importers in New Zealand go through a rigorous process to meet MPI biosecurity requirements for importing various goods. Such importers also have to bear a cost involved in that process, especially in becoming an Approved Transitional Facility.

The TTF option was given by MPI historically due to MPI systems not in existence which would allow importers to do one off projects/events.

MPI has introduced a Multi-Transitional Facility (MTF) Scheme where by a provider/business can apply to MPI to become an approved MTF service provider. As of today there are two MPI approved MTF service providers. It has been proven that the MTF system has been successful in maintaining compliance and hence achieve a highly reliant biosecurity system required in the Transitional Facilities.

If you wish to gain knowledge about the MPI approved MTF Scheme, please visit the MPI website for more details.

Due to new systems such as the MTF scheme and an already existing process of Transitional Facilities, MPI has decided to discontinue the TTF process as of 1st January 2018.

Should you have any queries please direct them to

Facility approval costs

You will be charged:

  • $887.70 (+GST) for processing an approval of a facility and facility operator
  • $887.70 (+GST) for processing an approval of a change of operator
  • $102.27 (+GST) per hour for inspection and auditing services
  • an annual fee of $298.05 (+GST) for an approved facility.


Prepare documentation

Complete forms and prepare supporting material.


Complete the required forms

You will need to complete an Application for approval of an MPI transitional or containment facility and/or operator regardless of your type of transitional or containment facility.

Download the application form for approval of a facility or operator [PDF, 282 KB]

Additional documentation that you will need to send with your application will depend on whether you are applying for:

  • approval of a new facility
  • a change in approval (change in facility location or type of goods)
  • a change of ownership or name of a facility.
Checklist of other required documentation

The application for approval form has a checklist of other required documentation, which may include the following forms:

Provide facility operator details

Every facility must have an approved operator who has overall responsibility for the facility.

Operators of transitional facilities approved to the Standard for general transitional facilities for uncleared goods and Post-entry quarantine for plants must complete a training course to be an approved operator.

You will need to provide the following operator details with your application for facility approval:

  • copy of the operator certificate of training, if required
  • operator's residential address, country of birth and phone number
  • copy of operator's photo identification (such as driver's licence or passport).

Prepare a facility operating manual

You will need to provide a facility operating manual with your application for approval of a facility. Check the relevant facility standard for guidance on preparing an operating manual.

For transitional facilities approved to the Standard for general transitional facilities for uncleared goods (TFGEN) or Post-entry quarantine for plants, MPI has guidance material to help you develop your operating manual.


Apply for facility approval

Send documentation and find out processing times.


Check you have completed all the application requirements by completing the checklist on the application for approval form.

Send your completed documentation to your local inspector and the national facilities approvals team.

What happens next?

Only completed applications can be processed. Applications with all the required information will be placed into the queue for processing. The approval process can take up to 6 weeks.

MPI will contact you to organise a site visit. Following completion of any recommended actions, you will be notified whether your facility has been approved or not.

Incomplete applications

If you don't provide everything we need, we will contact you to request the missing information. We won't start processing your application until we receive the remaining information.

You will need to provide the remaining documentation to MPI within 10 working days from the request from MPI.

If you don't provide everything we need, we'll decline your application and tell you why. You'll need to re-submit the entire application.


Who to contact

If you have questions about facility approvals:

To send an application for approval, change of approval, or to get advice about a transitional facility, contact the national facilities team:

To get advice about a containment facility, contact:

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