Guide: International Removals to New Zealand

How long will it take?

If you have booked a full container load you can expect a door-to-door transit time of 6-8 weeks. A shared container shipment, referred to as groupage, will be cheaper but it will take longer, usually 10-12 weeks door-to-door.

What can I take?

Personal and household effects can be imported free of duty and/or tax in several circumstances; if you're a first time migrant holding a permanent residency status, a "work to residence" visa holder, hold a work permit for longer than 12 months or you're a New Zealand resident returning from an overseas absence of more than 21 months. Owners can nominate a 3rd party to clear their effects however they must pay a financial deposit to Customs & Excise which will be refunded upon the owners arrival into the country and presentation of original passport.

The New Zealand Quarantine Service does not inspect all consignments, but will inspect certain consignments at random. In particular, caneware, rattenware and basketware may be required to be treated and fumigated, as well as any items that have been in contact with the soil or vegetation such as boots and shoes, garden tools and golf clubs, etc. All of which may required to be cleaned or fumigated.

Required documentation for household goods only:

  • Australian customs form (B534) for personal and household effects
  • Photocopy of passport, photo and visa page.
  • Inventory list (completed by packing crew).

Can I bring a car?

You can do this duty free provided you're a first-time immigrant with permanent residency status or a returning New Zealander who has been overseas for more than 21 months. However, duty is applicable on motor homes for non-qualifying migrants. To qualify for entry free of Goods and Services Tax (GST), you must have owned and used the vehicle overseas for at least 12 months prior to handing it in for shipment or your departure for New Zealand, whichever is earlier. You can't then sell or dispose of the vehicle within 2 years without paying the GST which would have applied.

For all other migrants and returning New Zealanders who have been overseas for less than 21 months, GST is payable at 12.5% of the vehicles CIF (purchase price, insurance and freight) value.

A statement of compliance verified by either the LTSA or NZAA must be obtained prior to shipping any vehicle.

Prior to shipping, all vehicles must have their chassis and wheels steam-cleaned and the inside valeted (if applicable). Vehicles can only be shipped with a minimal amount of fuel in the tank.

Required documentation for motor vehicles:

  • Verified Statement of Compliance
  • Vehicle registration form
  • Sales or purchase invoice
  • Evidence of intended permanent residence in New Zealand
  • Driving licence

What you can and can't take with you

Food items such as eggs, dairy and meat products must not be included for shipping as this is prohibited. Only food items which are vacuum packed and fully sealed should be included. Alcohol may be imported providing a full listing is made. If the importer fulfils the above duty free exemptions for household goods, then they will also be exempt from duties on alcohol.

Untreated wooden items including bark and certain Christmas decorations made of natural products will be ordered for treatment or destruction at the importers expense. The shipping of bamboo products, basketware, caneware and rattenware is possible, although these items may be required to undergo cleaning, disinfection or fumigation at destination incurring extra costs.

Feathers, furs, skins, tusks, etc. from endangered species are all prohibited. Items which have been treated during the manufacturing process, such as feather duvets or leather sofas will not cause any problems.

Used rifles and shotguns may be imported but a permit must be obtained from the firearms officer at the local police station. Pistols and revolvers are strictly prohibited.

Additional information


The electrical supply in New Zealand is 240-250 volts. Domestic appliances from the UK should work in New Zealand with an adapter for the power outlet.


+ 12 hours

Country dialling code

00 64 followed by local code (9 for Auckland, 4 for Wellington, 3 for Christchurch)

To discuss your international removal to New Zealand, contact our team on:

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