Steps to exporting live poultry

To export poultry day-old chicks and hatching eggs you must meet several requirements. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved – all in one place.

When to alert MPI

As an exporter you're responsible for telling MPI within 24 hours if the certified chicks or hatching eggs:

  • don't have the required export documents – for example, if they are removed or lost
  • fail to meet relevant Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs)
  • are refused entry by a foreign government.

Who to contact

If you have questions about exporting live poultry, email

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Follow the steps

Step 1
What you need to know

An overview of exporting from start to finish.

To export day-old chicks and hatching eggs 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 – is there a current Overseas Market Access Requirements document (OMAR) available?
  • make sure that the day-old chicks or hatching eggs are exported from premises registered as Export Approved Premises
  • refer to operational codes for guidance
  • check if an import permit is required by the destination country
  • check if an Animal Welfare Export Certificate is required
  • engage a recognised agency to assess your operation
  • access export certificate templates (optional).

In addition, you may have to meet other requirements. These might be of a commercial nature, or requirements set by other government agencies like the New Zealand Customs Service. It will also pay to check with the importing agent in your destination country that you haven't overlooked any requirements.

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 code: Export poultry.

The Overseas Market Access Requirement (OMAR) is the legal document that lays out the requirements for exporting your commodity from New Zealand to your destination country.

Operational Code

The Operational code is the guidance material containing the recommended standards for exporters of live poultry. Download the:

Operational Code: Export Poultry [PDF, 1.2 MB]

In addition, the Export Verification Programme document outlines operational details of the performance based verification process for export approved premises (semen centres, embryo teams, and poultry hatcheries).

 Export Verification Programme [PDF, 81 KB]

Preparation for export

Some countries require the poultry source flock to be inspected, tested, or vaccinated. In some cases the day-old chicks will be examined, and sometimes vaccinated or treated, to make sure they're ready to export. For some countries, hatching eggs need to be examined and fumigated. The Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMAR) document for your destination country will tell you whether inspection or treatment is needed.

Exporting related products

Processes for exporting products related to live poultry are elsewhere on the website. Follow these steps if you're exporting:

If you are taking your pet bird 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 the 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]

Step 2
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.

If you have questions about registering as an exporter, email

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 the overseas market requirements

You need to check the overseas market access requirements (OMAR) for your destination country. OMARs (export requirements) differ for countries and commodities. Check the OMAR to find out whether the destination country must issue an import permit.

If there's an OMAR for your export destination you'll need an 'official assurance' or 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.  

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

Work with your importing agent if there is no OMAR

If there is no OMAR for your destination country, work directly with your importing agent to find out what requirements apply.

If negotiations are required or new market access is requested, you'll have to pay MPI for these services. You should complete the Request for Services Form and return this to MPI's animal export team. MPI recovers all costs from the applicant.

Download the form to request services from the animal exports team [PDF, 312 KB]

For more information:

Register your premises as Export Approved Premises

Poultry day-old chicks and hatching eggs, for export, must be from Export Approved Premises. The premises must operate a quality assurance system that ensures compliance with the 'Export Poultry Code of Practice' and the OMAR for the destination country. These premises also usually employ an approved poultry veterinarian.

Contact an MPI-recognised agency first

Producers of poultry day-old chicks and hatching eggs need to apply to an MPI-recognised agency to initiate the process. The recognised agency audits the premises and, if satisfied, will provide an audit report that will allow the premises to apply to MPI for listing as an Export Approved Premise. Once registered, the premises must be audited according to the Export Verification Programme. The listing must be renewed if you wish to continue exporting after 2 years.

For more information:

If you're the exporter of another producer's poultry day-old chicks and hatching eggs, you need to make sure the producer's premises are registered.

Find out if you need an Animal Welfare Export Certificate

You must check if you need an Animal Welfare Export Certificate (AWEC) and complete extra steps if you do.

Be aware of live animal transport regulations

Poultry day-old chicks and hatching eggs 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 requirements specific to each commodity. If you want your own copy of the regulations, they can be bought online from IATA.

Use export certificate templates (optional)

You may want to have access to the export certificate templates. You need to be a registered exporter to get access to the templates, or the recognised agency can provide you with a copy of the template. Use of the templates will save you time when completing other export documents.

Download form to apply for access to the export certificate template

Get poultry vet to complete and sign declaration

Export Approved Premises usually employ an approved veterinarian (poultry veterinarian) who is able to complete and sign a declaration using the export certificate template. This declaration is also called a poultry declaration. The veterinarian then passes the document on to an MPI Official Veterinarian who issues the export certificate (Official Assurance) 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. Most countries require you to treat your wood packaging to make sure it's free of pests and diseases. Often other plant materials, for example for use as bedding or food, also need to meet the importing country's requirements.

Step 3
How you know you're ready to export

Getting your export documentation.

You're officially ready to export live poultry day-old chicks and hatching eggs when you have an:

  • import permit for your destination country, if required
  • MPI export certificate (Official Assurance), if required
  • Animal Welfare Export Certificate, if required.
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