Declare or dispose: What you need to know
To make sure your arrival in New Zealand goes smoothly you'll need to know about:
- Passenger Arrival Cards – these are usually given to you to complete by your crew on your way to New Zealand. The cards tell you what we consider are 'risk goods'
- declaring all risk items on your card – goods like food, plants, wooden products, soil, water, outdoor equipment, and animal products. Declared risk goods may then be inspected
- disposing of undeclared risk goods in marked amnesty bins on your arrival
- prohibited and restricted items like products from endangered animal or plant species
- infringement fees, fines and penalties for not declaring risk items on your Passenger Arrival Card.
New Zealand Traveller Pass needed
All air travellers must complete the New Zealand Traveller Declaration before travelling to New Zealand and be issued a New Zealand Traveller pass.
Start your declaration early to ensure you have enough time to complete it before you travel. You can start your declaration 28 days before your flight.
You need to show your Traveller Pass when you check in at the airport, and to Customs when you arrive in New Zealand. It can be printed out or saved on your mobile device.
If you were issued a Travel Pass through Nau Mai Rā, it will remain valid for entry into New Zealand.
Note: Existing biosecurity requirements to declare or dispose food and other risk items on arrival still apply.
People who are travelling or who recently entered New Zealand should check the Ministry of Health website for up-to-date advice on COVID-19.
Included on this page:
Watch our inflight biosecurity video. It reminds all international visitors about the importance of protecting Aotearoa from unwanted pests and diseases.
Video – Welcome to Aotearoa (1:23)
Welcome to Aotearoa.
Our lakes, rivers, lands and seas.
This fragile place is all we’ve got.
It’s vulnerable to pests and diseases.
That’s why we guard it, as if our way of life depends on it… Because it does. But we need your help.
Fruits, vegetables and eggs like these can’t be brought into New Zealand.
Nor can most meats, honey, cooking ingredients, herbs, and seeds or spices…
Anything made of plants or wood can carry unwanted pests or diseases that could destroy our natural environment.
Put any items you aren’t sure about in the airport amnesty bins.
Used outdoor equipment is a problem too.
If in doubt, declare it for inspection, on the arrival card.
Or ask a biosecurity officer like me.
Because once you arrive, your bags may be x-rayed and inspected.
And if you haven’t declared, you’ll be fined $400.
As a visitor here, I’ll be asking one thing of you:
Look after it. Protect it.
Declare or dispose risk items.
Avoid a $400 fine.
You must declare risk goods
When you arrive in New Zealand, you'll have to complete a Passenger Arrival Card and declare any biosecurity risk items. The Customs website has an example of the card.
Note, the Passenger Arrival Card is a legal document. If you make a false or incorrect declaration – even by accident – you are breaking the law and you can be fined or put in prison.
It's not possible for us to list all the goods considered a risk. This is because an item's risk isn't always the same. It depends on things like the country it comes from, its ingredients, or packaging.
As part of the declaration process, an officer is likely to ask you questions to clearly establish what you are carrying. The answers you give in this interview are part of your declaration. If you give incomplete answers about your risk goods, you can still be fined or prosecuted if any are found during an inspection – even if you declared them on the Passenger Arrival Card.
Use our tool to help you find out
We've got a tool to help you quickly get an answer about whether your food or other item is allowed into New Zealand. We don't have everything listed in the tool but it covers the food and other items we most frequently get asked about. The tool will also tell you whether there are any weight or quantity restrictions.
Your Passenger Arrival Card lists the kinds of items considered a potential risk to New Zealand:
- Any food – cooked, uncooked, fresh, preserved, packaged or dried.
- Animals or animal products – including meat, dairy products, fish, honey, bee products, eggs, feathers, shells, raw wool, skins, bones or insects.
- Plants or plant products – fruit, flowers, seeds, bulbs, wood, bark, leaves, nuts, vegetables, parts of plants, fungi, cane, bamboo or straw, including for religious offerings or medicinal use.
- Other biosecurity risk items –including animal medicines, herbal medicines, biological cultures, organisms, soil or water.
- Equipment used with animals, plants or water – including for gardening, beekeeping, fishing, water sport or diving activities.
- Items that have been used for outdoor or farming activities – including any footwear, tents, camping, hunting, hiking, golf or sports equipment.
- on arrival in New Zealand, your bags may be sniffed by detector dogs, x-rayed or searched.
- detailed information about the requirements for bringing goods to New Zealand is in documents called import health standards.
What happens when you declare risk items?
Some of the risk items you declare may be allowed into the country:
- if a quarantine officer at the border is satisfied your items pose no risk
- after treatment of the risk items.
However, some items may not be allowed into the country under any circumstances and may be confiscated or destroyed.
Items that require treatment are sent to private independent treatment companies. You can collect items sent for treatment at a later date.