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Taking pets to New Zealand

In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can take your pets with you to New Zealand.

Taking your animal companion to New Zealand is possible, but it requires a bit of work. To travel with pets to New Zealand, you’ll need to prove that they meet all the health requirements set by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). This is done to prevent the introduction of unwanted diseases, parasites, and animals into the country. Each type of animal has its own standards and requirements depending also on their country of origin.

If you have a cat or dog

There are certain requirements for bringing cats and dogs into New Zealand. Only animals from approved countries where rabies is controlled or eradicated may enter the country. Unfortunately, Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries are not on the approved list. This mean that bringing pets from Russia or other countries not on the list is impossible.

For those wishing to bring pets from unapproved country, there is only one option: transfer your animal to an approved country and then on to New Zealand after 6 months. You may view the list of approved countries on the IHS guidance document on the official MPI website.

Step-by-step Instructions

Click here to view step-by-step instructions for transporting cats and dogs into New Zealand.

  1. Download and familiarise yourself with the health standards (IHS) and IHS guidance document. In the latter you may also find examples of a veterinarian certificate you will need to present for your cat or dog. The certificate will include all analyses, treatments, and inspections. You may download a separate form to fill out here.
  2. Make sure your animal meets all the import requirements for New Zealand. To make things easy, MPI has created a checklist available on their website to make sure you are following all the requirements. Your pet should be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies (just after implanting the microchip). Your pet should also pass a blood analysis no less than 3 months and not earlier than 24 months from the date of transport. Additionally, your pet should be treated for certain parasites within 24 to 48 hours of transport.
  3. Reserve a quarantine location at a transit point approved by MPI. Click here to view the list of transit points. The term of quarantine is no fewer than 10 days. A confirmation letter of reservation will be needed when submitting your application.
  4. Submit your application for permission to transport your animal. It takes 20 days to receive permission, so you should submit the application in advance. MPI grants two types of permission depending on the animal’s country of origin. Category 2 is for countries free of rabies, while category 3 is for countries where rabies is controlled or has been eradicated. Each category has its own application for which you may download from eom the MPI website.
  5. Declare medications your pet might need to take while traveling.
  6. Notify MPI no fewer than 72 hours of your animal’s arrival in New Zealand with the following information:
  • Flight number
  • Date and time of arrival
  • Name of carrier and contract number
  • Type and breed of animal
  • Number of animals
  • Confirmation of reservation at quarantine point
  • Transport invoice number (if known)

Your should also inform MPI as to whether your agent or representative is traveling with the pet.

After the 10-day quarantine period and final checkup, your animal will be allowed passage into New Zealand. If the inspection reveals your pet does not meet the requirements, it may be delayed for further analyses, treatments, quarantine, returned home or put down. In these cases, the pet owner incurs all expenses.

Limitations on Transport of Animals

In addition to cats and dogs, New Zealand only allows transport of rabbits and guinea pigs from Australia and chinchillas from Great Britain.

In New Zealand there is a unique population of rare and endangered species of bird. Therefore, to avoid the import of avian diseases, transport of birds to New Zealand is prohibited until such time that their risks have been assessed and health standards set in place. Currently, MPI is developing health standards for pet birds. They will be in regard to pigeons from Australia and parrots from all countries.

It is also prohibited to bring ferrets, hamsters (with exception to those from Australia), mice and rats (with exception to laboratory animals), snakes and other reptiles.

There are also restrictions on certain breeds of dog. It is forbidden to bring:

  • Dogo Argentinos
  • Japanese Tosas
  • Canary Mastiffs
  • Brazilian Mastiffs
  • American Pitbulls

It is forbidden to bring hybrid breeds with exception to the Bengal cat (for these you will have to bring a document verifying 5 generations of domestic lineage. Puppies and kittens under three months as well as animals more than 42 days pregnant will not be permitted.

Transporting Aquatic Animals

Decorative fish and aquatic invertebrates such as shrimp, coral, sea snails, and mollusks are often brought to New Zealand to be held in aquariums. There are also certain requirements for these animals in the interest of protecting the biodiversity and marine life of New Zealand.

Step-by-step instructions for transporting aquatic animals:

  1. You will first need to determine the health standards for the animal. You can find this information here.
  2. Ensure you are in compliance with all requirements including necessary documentation, packaging, and transport permission.
  3. Ensure your animal does not fall under of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  4. Agree on a quarantine transit point (3 weeks for marine life and 4 for freshwater)
  5. Apply for transport permission.
  6. Inform MPI no less than 72 hours of the animal’s arrival in New Zealand with flight details, date and time of arrival, as well as the name of the carrier with other relevant information.

Transport

According to general regulations, transport of animals on international flights is prohibited, however, they may be sent as cargo. MPI recommends using a company in your country that specializes in transport of animals. They can help organize essential analyses, treatments, flights, transport permission, cages for transport, and much more.

Some airlines require that you reserve special flights for animals as they offer a more reliable guarantee that all regulations will be met according to the established deadlines.

Pricing

In addition to transport expenses (the price will depend on the shipping company you select), MPI will require payment for transport services for your animal. This price includes payment to customs inspectors, veterinary services, transport expenses for inspectors, as will as a fee for transport permission. These costs will largely depend on the animal’s country of origin and may cost between NZ $400-600. Nevertheless, there may be an additional fee in cases where application processing take more than 1.5 hours. This can happen if an inspection reveals that your animal needs additional treatment or if the inspectors’ travel expenses are at higher rates on bank holidays and non-working hours. Furthermore, it is necessary to pay for your animals quarantine. This price will depend on the quarantine point you select.

See more information about pricing here.

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