Follow the steps
What you need to know
An overview of exporting from start to finish.
To export live animals you must:
- register as an exporter or use the services of a registered exporter, if the purpose of your export is commercial
- be aware of relevant legislation
- check market requirements and whether there is a current Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMAR) document
- refer to the Operational codes for guidance
- check whether the destination country requires an import permit
- check whether an Animal Welfare Export certificate is required
- engage a recognised agency to supervise the export preparations
- access export certificate ('official assurance') templates (optional).
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. It will also pay to check the requirements for your destination country with the importing agent.
Learn more about export clearance procedures on the NZ Customs website
Official assurance programme (OAP)
Exporters should be familiar with the official assurance programme (OAP), which is supported by the Animal Products Act and related legal notices, especially those dealing with official assurance specifications, recognised agencies and persons, export-approved premises, and export verification requirements.
The programme is published as 2 types of document that set the standards and specifications for export. Those documents are:
- Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs)
- Operational codes.
The OMAR is the legal document that sets out the requirements for exporting your commodity from New Zealand to your destination country.
Find the OMAR for your commodity and browse other legal requirements
The Operational codes are the guidance material containing the recommended standards for exporters of live animals and germplasm.
Operational code: General Live Animal Export [PDF, 547 KB]
Restrictions on exporting some animals
The export of livestock (sheep, cattle, deer, and goats) for slaughter is prohibited in New Zealand. However, individual consignments may be approved on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of MPI's Director-General.
Refer to exporting livestock for slaughter
The export of many endangered species is also restricted. To find out more, refer to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES):
Some countries require animals to be prepared for export in an approved pre-export isolation or quarantine facility. They may be examined, vaccinated, and treated with antibiotics and anti-parasite drugs. Animals needing to be quarantined in New Zealand before export include horses to Hong Kong and Macau, and most exports of cattle, sheep, goats, deer, pigs, and alpacas. The OMAR for your destination country will tell you whether pre-export isolation or quarantine is needed.
Related export processes
Processes for exporting products related to live animals are set out elsewhere on this website. Follow these steps if you're exporting:
- day-old chicks and hatchlings (poultry)
- live bees
- germplasm (semen, ova, and embryos)
- inedible animal products.
If you are taking your pet overseas, refer to:
Recognised Laboratory Programme
Exporters should also be familiar with the Recognised Laboratory Programme. All laboratories that test live animals and germplasm for export must operate under this programme.
Find out more about the Recognised Laboratory Programme
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]
What you need to do
The tasks you need to complete.
Register as an exporter or use the services of a registered exporter
If you're exporting commercially, you must register with MPI or use the services of a registered exporter. Exporter registration can be done online, or by completing a printed form.
Find out how to register as an exporter
Check the list of registered exporters
If you have questions about registering as an exporter, email email@example.com
Non-commercial exporters don't usually have to register
If the purpose of your export is non-commercial, you don't have to register as an exporter or use the services of a registered exporter unless requested by your shipper (airline or shipping company).
Check overseas market requirements
You need to check the Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMAR) for your destination country. OMARs differ between countries and commodities. Check the OMAR to find out whether your destination country needs to issue an import permit.
If there's an OMAR for your export destination, you will need an 'official assurance' (export certificate) before you can send your commodity. Official assurance is the New Zealand Government's assurance to the destination country that your commodity meets the standards set out in the OMAR.
Find the OMAR and export certificate template for your animal and destination country
Ensure you're referring to 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. Early contact helps ensure there's enough time before export to make changes, or complete negotiations if needed.
For help or to ask questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 or new market access is requested, you'll have to pay MPI for these services. Complete the form to request services and return it to MPI's animal export team. MPI will recover all costs involved by invoicing the applicant.
Download the form to request services from the animal exports team [PDF, 312 KB]
For more information
- Download the market access decision tree for fees and charges [PDF, 58 KB]
- Read about the fees and charges
Find out if you need an Animal Welfare Export Certificate
Check whether you need an Animal Welfare Export Certificate (AWEC) and complete the extra steps if you do.
Find out more about AWECs and how to get one
Animals exported by air must be transported under conditions equivalent to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) live animal regulations. Airlines operating out of New Zealand are aware of these regulations and can advise exporters of the requirements for each species of animal. If you want your own copy of the regulations, they can be bought online from IATA.
Buy a copy of regulations for transporting live animals from the IATA website
This document outlines the likely conditions (requirements) that an AWEC for the export of cattle by sea will contain, and updated guidance around how to meet those conditions. Anyone intending to export cattle by sea needs to be aware of the information contained in this document prior to making an application for an AWEC.
Livestock export by sea: Guidance for cattle [PDF, 642 KB]
Consider using export certificate ('official assurance') templates
You may want to use the export certificate templates. You can either access these as a registered exporter, or a recognised agency can provide you with a copy of the template. Using the templates will save you time when completing other export documents.
Find the export certificate template for your commodity and destination country
Engage a recognised agency to supervise export preparations
Only MPI-recognised agencies can supervise the preparation of live animals for export, including quarantine and treatments where needed.
When the recognised agency's veterinarians are satisfied that your animals meet all export requirements, they complete the preliminary certification and send it to an MPI official veterinarian. The official veterinarian then issues the official assurance (export certificate) on security paper.
Are you using wood packaging and other plant materials?
If you use wood packaging products other than paper for your export, check that your wood packaging meets the phytosanitary requirements of the destination country. Some countries may require you to treat your wood packaging to make sure it's free of pests and diseases. Other plant materials, like those used as bedding or food, may also need to meet the importing country's requirements.
Getting your export documentation
How you know you've met MPI requirements.
You're officially ready to export live animals when you have these documents:
- an import permit for your destination country, if required
- an MPI 'official assurance' (export certificate), if required
- an Animal Welfare Export Certificate, if required.