Steps to importing fibre and feathers

If you want to import animal fibre and feathers, you need to meet specific requirements to help reduce any biosecurity risks. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

Follow the steps 

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What you need to know

An overview of importing fibres and feathers from start to finish.

To successfully import fibre and feathers into New Zealand you need to know about:

  • the import health standard (IHS) and meeting the requirements
  • types of animal fibre
  • approved feathers and products containing feathers
  • New Zealand Customs Service requirements
  • applying for a permit to import, if required
  • getting a veterinary certificate from the origin country, if required
  • getting a manufacturer's declaration, if required
  • possible treatment of your fibre or feathers
  • fees and charges.

Importing related products

Processes for importing products related to fibre and feathers are elsewhere on the website. Follow these steps if you're importing:

Are you using wood packaging?

If your consignment is shipped to New Zealand on wooden pallets, or wood has been used to package any part of your consignment, you'll also need to comply with requirements for importing wood packaging.

What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

Comply with import health standard requirements

The import health standard (IHS) for your animal fibre and feathers will tell you what you need to do to import your product into New Zealand.

Importing your product under equivalent measures (equivalence)

If your product doesn't meet all of the IHS requirements (for example, if it has been treated using a different method from that listed in the IHS), you can ask MPI to assess your product under equivalent measures. This is known as 'equivalence'.

You'll need to supply information to show how the risks managed by the IHS will be managed to an equivalent level (for example, by providing information about scouring times and temperatures, and other processing details).

You'll also need to provide MPI with supporting information, as listed in the IHS. If your equivalence request is approved, MPI will issue a biosecurity import permit.

To ask about equivalence, email

Get a veterinary certificate, if required

You may need to get a veterinary certificate confirming your fibre is free from disease and/or has been processed in a specified way. This needs to be filled out, signed and stamped by an official veterinarian from the country of export.

Refer to the IHS or guidance document for more information about your type of fibre, and for a model veterinary certificate.

Get a manufacturer's or fibre certifier's declaration, if required

You may need to get a declaration from the manufacturer or a fibre certifier confirming your fibre has been treated in a specific way.

Check the IHS or guidance document for more information about your feather or fibre product, and for a model manufacturer's declaration.

Arrange storage and treatment at a transitional facility, if needed

All imported fibre and feather products that require further processing need to go a transitional facility (which must be listed on your import permit) and be treated according to the requirements of the IHS.

MPI approves transitional facilities to hold and manage goods that are imported into New Zealand that may have some associated biosecurity risk. You or your customs broker need to arrange for your products to be transferred to an approved transitional facility.

Apply for an import permit, if needed

The IHS will tell you if you need to apply to MPI for a permit to import your product into New Zealand.

Download permit application form to import animal products:

Prepare documentation for your fibre and feathers

The IHS tells you what documentation you'll need to accompany your fibre and feathers on arrival in New Zealand. Documents may include:

  • an import permit, if required
  • a veterinary certificate, if required
  • a manufacturer's or fibre certifier’s declaration– if applicable.

Check import restrictions of other agencies

Check with the New Zealand Customs Service whether:

  • you can import the product without restriction
  • the product will be subject to duties or tariffs
  • a New Zealand Customs permit is needed.

Visit the New Zealand Customs Service website to:

Get a CITES permit, if needed

Some products are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and cannot be transported between countries, or can only be imported with a CITES permit.

Comply with on-arrival inspections

An MPI inspector will check your documentation and may examine the consignment when it arrives in New Zealand to make sure it complies with the IHS. 

If contamination (such as live organisms) is found in a container or your fibre or feathers, an MPI inspector will tell you your options for the consignment. Depending on the type of pest or disease found, you may:

  • treat your product (for example, by fumigation)
  • identify the organism (and treat it if it's a restricted pest)
  • ship the product to another country
  • destroy the product.
Getting your import documentation

How to know you've met MPI requirements.

Your consignment will be cleared when the MPI inspector is satisfied all documentation is complete and the import conditions of the import health standard (IHS) have been met.

Your consignment will be authorised to be moved to the transitional facility listed on your permit if it needs further processing.

Fibres and feathers that do not meet the requirements of the IHS will need to be either treated, reshipped, or destroyed.

Who to contact

If you have questions about importing fibre and feathers, email

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