Clearing overseas mail

Mail coming into New Zealand needs to pass strict biosecurity requirements to prevent the introduction of harmful pests and diseases. Incoming mail is screened using the required declaration, x-rays and detector dogs to detect items that may contain restricted goods.

Update – 19 July 2021

Proposed new import health standard (IHS) for personal consignments of products for human consumption and personal effects

From 19 July 2021 to 31 August 2021, MPI would like your feedback on the proposed new IHS for personal consignments of products for human consumption and personal effects.

The new requirements will consolidate existing standards and state on-arrival procedures. It will also clarify for passengers what and how much food products they can bring to New Zealand.

Find out more about the consultation


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.

Check what you may need to declare

Parcels and other articles being sent to New Zealand from overseas require a declaration sticker. This is issued by the postal service in the overseas country and usually contains the content's description, weight and value. No declaration is required for letters.

Before you mail something to New Zealand, find out about items considered risk goods, which you need to declare.

Risk goods will be inspected

Mail that may contain risk goods like food, souvenirs or seeds, will be opened and examined and may be detained at the border to ensure compliance with New Zealand's biosecurity requirements.

If your mail item is held because it poses a biosecurity risk, you should get a letter from MPI explaining your options.

Prohibited items

Make sure your mail doesn't contain any prohibited items and that you don't use packaging containing prohibited items. This includes:

  • plants, plant materials, and seeds
  • food
  • animal products
  • straw and rattan items
  • wooden items and products
  • live animals
  • endangered species.

You usually can't send anything in the post which is:

  • illegal
  • explosive
  • dangerous
  • destructive
  • inadequately packaged
  • containing cash.
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