Steps to importing invertebrates

To import invertebrates into New Zealand, special procedures must be followed to assess and minimise any biosecurity risks. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

Follow the steps 

Expand All
What you need to know

An overview of importing invertebrates into New Zealand from start to finish.

About this process

This process covers the requirements for importing:

  • new organism invertebrates into containment from all countries
  • non-exotic invertebrates from all countries.
Related processes

This process doesn't apply to all invertebrate imports. Refer to other sections of the website if you want to import:

Become familiar with requirements – overview

To successfully import your invertebrates you need to:

  • check your species is eligible to be imported
  • read and comply with the import health standard (IHS)
  • be an organisation that has transitional and/or containment facilities approved by MPI
  • apply for a permit to import from MPI at least 6 weeks before your consignment arrives
  • have Hazardous Substances New Organisms Act approvals from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for any new or genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • prepare documentation to accompany your consignment
  • follow requirements set by other government agencies like the New Zealand Customs Service (NZ Customs)
  • ensure all of the import requirements have been met
  • notify an official veterinarian in New Zealand at least 72 hours before the arrival of any live animals
  • pay relevant fees and charges.

These requirements are explained in more detail in Step 2: What you need to do.

What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

Comply with import health standard (IHS) requirements

The import health standards (IHS) for invertebrates tell you everything you need to do to import your invertebrates. The one you need to use will depend on what you're importing.

Only use the non-exotic invertebrates IHS if your organism is a non-exotic species.

New organism invertebrates into containment from all countries

Non-exotic invertebrates from all countries

You need to read and understand the IHS. Make sure you can meet all of the IHS requirements before you start.

Check your species is eligible to be imported

To import invertebrates into New Zealand, they must be approved (through status determination) by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO).

You can search for species that have had a status determination in the HSNO application register.

If you have any questions about status determination, email the EPA on

Check what else you may need to do

To import invertebrates you will need to comply with additional requirements like:

  • access to a transitional and/or containment facility approved to, and operating under, the MPI Transitional and Containment Facilities for Invertebrates Standard
  • any Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) requirements.

Download the Invertebrates Transitional and Containment Facilities Standard [PDF, 126 KB]

Check the CITES website

Apply for an import permit

When you're sure your invertebrates meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for an import permit.

Ensure you apply for the import permit at least 10 working days before you need the permit.

Apply for your import permit through our online permit application system.

How to use the online permit application system

Details on how to use the system are in our live animals online permit application instructions [PDF, 1.4 MB]

The importer must supply the:

  • importer's name and address
  • exporter's name and address
  • breed/strain/type or description of the invertebrate
  • name and address of the transitional or containment facility in New Zealand for the consignment
  • Environmental Protection Authority status determination.

Comply with transport requirements

Live invertebrates must be transported in a container that meets the standards prescribed in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animal Regulations. Your carrier will be able to tell you about the requirements. Alternatively, a copy of the Regulations can be:

Notify MPI 72 hours before arrival

You need to notify MPI at least 72 hours before the scheduled arrival of your invertebrates. The notification should include the:

  • flight or ship number
  • date and time of arrival
  • consignee's name and contact details
  • species and breed country of origin
  • bill of lading reference, if known.

Contact MPI at the nearest intended port of arrival by email or telephone.

Port of arrival




09 909 8631


03 943 3803


04 894 4213

On arrival

On arrival in New Zealand, your documentation will be inspected by an official veterinarian or biosecurity officer.

Your invertebrates will not be inspected at the port of arrival. They will be inspected when they arrive in the quarantine area of your MPI-approved transitional and/or containment facility.

Your invertebrates will be directed to your transitional and/or containment facility in New Zealand when you have:

  • completed all of the steps
  • notified MPI at least 72 hours prior to the arrival of your invertebrates
  • identified what MPI-approved transitional and/or containment facility will be used for the invertebrates.
Getting your import documentation

How you know you've met MPI requirements.

A biosecurity officer will inspect your invertebrates at the transitional and/or containment facility.

After the inspection, the officer may:

  • give them biosecurity clearance
  • remove them from quarantine
  • require them to be treated
  • have them reshipped or destroyed.

You'll be required to pay any costs.

Who to contact

If you have questions about importing invertebrates, email

Last reviewed: