Travellers flying to New Zealand can now do their arrival declaration online

22 August 2023

Travellers arriving into all New Zealand international airports now have the option to complete a digital declaration instead of a paper arrival card, before travelling to New Zealand.

Travellers flying to New Zealand can now do their arrival declaration online – New Zealand Customs Service

Last updated: 22nd August 2023

Biosecurity food rules: What travellers can bring into New Zealand

Sarah Pollok

Sarah Pollok

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It's worth checking what food products you can bring into New Zealand. Photo / File

Anyone who has walked from a terminal gate to the baggage carousels at Auckland International Airport will be familiar with the ‘Declare or Dispose’ bins.

Dotted every hundred metres or so, they are the giant silver cylinders, plastered with large posters they yell ‘$400 FINE’’ across images of food.

Exhaustive declaration cards and a warning video that plays to passengers upon landing make the message very clear: Aotearoa takes biosecurity seriously.

So, it makes sense that Kiwi travellers take a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach when it comes to bringing organic products home and leave behind bags of coffee or boxes of homemade baking, bags or nut mix or anything that is not commercially packaged and sealed.

However, the rules according to the Ministry of Primary Industries are not as restrictive as some travellers may expect.

In fact, nana’s choc-chip cookies from overseas (or other travel treats) should be perfectly fine to bring home, if they meet certain criteria.

Always declare

Firstly, travellers entering into New Zealand with food for personal use or consumption must declare all items, even those that are ‘allowed’. Different rules apply for those bringing in items for commercial use.

You must declare items on your arrival card and verbally to a biosecurity officer. As unlucky travellers have discovered in the past, if you declare something on your card but don’t mention it when an officer asks, you’re still liable to be fined.

Err on the side of caution

If you have something that doesn’t quite seem to fit into a category on the declaration card or you aren’t sure if it should be declared, write it on the card and declare it to the officer anyway. It’s much better to be over-transparent and be waved off by an officer than have it pulled out in an x-ray or by a Customs dog and questioned about.

What you don't declare can often be sniffed out by Customs dogs. Photo/Stephen Parker

What isn’t allowed

While some items are outright banned - like pork, trout or whole eggs, many meat, seafood, dairy - other food products are allowed but have complex and strict regulations. These typically concern the species of animal or plant, cooking method and packaging.

For example, beef, lamb, foie gras, turkey, and chicken can be brought in if they are commercially manufactured and packaged, in their original unopened packaging with the country of manufacturer clearly stated. Fish and seafood have similarly specific rules.

Biosecurity comes down hard on these items, due to the risks they can pose to Aotearoa. Even if you declare them, any sort of miscommunication with officers could put you at risk of a fine, so it may be worth leaving these items behind or disposing of them in an honesty bin before reaching customs.

What is allowed

Baked goods, nuts, certain teas, coffees and confectionary are allowed and, contrary to popular belief, many of these items don’t have to be commercially packaged and sealed.

Certain nuts, seeds and beans are allowed too, but typically must be commercially packaged and sealed.

Travellers can also bring up to 2kg of butter, cheese, milk powder and formula, as well as fruits or vegetables that are not fresh. A full list of accepted cooking/preserving methods is listed here .

However, if any of the above items contain fresh fruit, meat, dairy or honey (in certain amounts) they will be confiscated. So, leave that meat pie, maple bacon muffin or fruit yogurt behind.

For a full list of what products are allowed, check out the Ministry of Primary Industry’s online tool .

Cookies should be allowed if they don't contain restricted food products. Photo / Getty

Officers make the final call

The online guidelines from MPI are helpful, however, clearance by a quarantine officer is never guaranteed for food items and they will make a final call about whether something is allowed.

nz travel food declaration

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A Guide to the NZ Traveller Declaration (Passenger Arrival Card)

The only guide to the new zealand traveller declaration you need.

Entering a new country is not as easy as it used to be, especially with pandemics thrown into the mix. Due to health requirements and strict biosecurity measures at the border of New Zealand, everyone arriving in New Zealand needs to complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration (NZTD) , formerly known as the Passenger Arrival Card . Find out how to complete the form and what evidence you’ll need to supply with this complete guide to the entry paperwork for New Zealand.

For the complete list of arrival formalities for entering New Zealand, be sure to also check out our guide, Arriving in New Zealand: Airport Customs, Biosecurity & the Arrival Process .

What is the New Zealand Traveller Declaration (NZTD)?

The New Zealand Traveller Declaration , formerly known as the New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card, is a form that you must submit either online 24 hours before starting your trip to New Zealand or in paper form either on the final leg of your journey to New Zealand or at the airport in New Zealand before passing through Passport Control/Customs. The form requires you to fill out your personal details, as well as asks simple yes/no questions concerning Customs, Biosecurity and Immigration. Once you have filled out the Traveller Declaration, keep a hold of it so you can hand it to Passport Control and Customs and Biosecurity once you arrive in New Zealand .

3 Ways to Complete the New Zealand Traveller Declaration

There are three ways to complete the New Zealand Traveller Declaration: in paper form, online or through an app. Take a look at the form in the section below to familiarise yourself with what information you’ll need to complete it. Your passport and boarding pass will come in handy for this.

1. The NZ Traveller Declaration Paper Form

Part of your in-flight entertainment on your flight to New Zealand is filling out the Traveller Declaration Form for New Zealand. The card/form will be handed out to you by the flight crew during your flight (the final leg of your journey that ends in New Zealand). Once you have filled out the card, keep a hold of it so you can hand it to Passport Control and Customs .

If you don’t complete the form during your flight, there are forms available at your arrival airport in New Zealand before getting your passport checked.

2. The NZ Traveller Declaration Online

Up to 24 hours before starting your journey to New Zealand, you can submit the New Zealand Traveller Declaration online at travellerdeclaration.govt.nz . It’s free (don’t pay anyone to do an “NZTD completion service” or similar) and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Your digital declaration is linked to your passport and is checked when you arrive. You are not required to print anything out.

Note that you can start your New Zealand Traveller Declaration at a time that suits you. The earliest you can submit your declaration is 24 hours before you start your trip to New Zealand.

3. The NZTD App

There is also an app available to complete the New Zealand Traveller Declaration: the NZTD App . It works similarly to the website form, with the difference being that the app allows you to scan your passport to instantly upload your passport details. See travellerdeclaration.govt.nz to learn more.

What Does the New Zealand Traveller Declaration Form (Passenger Arrival Card) Look Like?

Video: how to complete the new zealand passenger arrival card.

Want more? In the video below, Robin fills up the Passenger Arrival Card for New Zealand so you know what to expect.

8 Tips for Filling Out the NZ Traveller Declaration for New Zealand

Here are the answers to the most common questions asked about the NZ Traveller Declaration for New Zealand.

  • If you plan to complete a paper form on your flight, bring a pen with you! You’re unlikely to be given one on the plane.
  • In Section 1 for “occupation or job” simply put unemployed, if you do not have one.
  • In Section 1 for “full contact or residential address in New Zealand” put the name of your first accommodation if you know it. If not, leave it blank.
  • Do not answer Section 2a, if you are not from New Zealand.
  • In Section 2b , tick the “holiday/vacation” option even if you are doing a working holiday or backpacking in New Zealand.
  • One of the most important parts of the card is the declaration Sections 5 and 6 . If you don’t declare something that you should have declared, you will face a hefty fine. If in doubt, declare it! If you have sports and outdoor equipment, make sure they are clean before you pack them. Get more information on this in What Do You Need to Declare When Arriving in New Zealand?
  • In Section 8 , if you are from a visa-waiver country, meaning that you automatically get a visitor visa when you enter New Zealand , circle “Yes” to “I do not hold a visa I am applying for a visitor visa on arrival”. Note that the NZeTA is not a visa.
  • Lastly, keep this card with your passport, as you will need to hand the card in at Customs and then again to Biosecurity . Learn about that process in  Arrival Advice: Passport Control and Immigration and Arrival Advice: Biosecurity & Customs in New Zealand .

More About the Entry Forms to Complete for New Zealand

That’s it for our guide to the New Zealand Traveller Declaration and Passenger Arrival Card for New Zealand. For more arrival tips, check out our full arrival guide, Arriving in New Zealand: Airport Customs, Biosecurity & the Arrival Process .

What other paperwork do you need to complete for entering New Zealand? Check out the following guides:

  • NZ Tourist Visa : Do You Need a Visa to Visit New Zealand?
  • 10 Things You Need to Know About the NZETA
  • New Zealand Packing List : What to Pack for New Zealand

Finally, get our complete guide to visiting Aotearoa with  The Best Travel Guide to New Zealand .

The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

  • Tourism New Zealand (General travel advice - Updated [2024])
  • Immigration New Zealand (Visa and immigration advice - Updated [2024])
  • New Zealand Customs Service (Customs and Biosecurity - Updated [2024])
  • New Zealand Traveller Declaration (NZTD online platform - Updated [2024])
  • Tiaki Promise (Care for people place and culture - Updated [2024])
  • Safe Travel (NZ travel advisories - Updated [2024])
  • Stats NZ (Statistics and travel data - Updated [2024])
  • Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (Road and transport tips - Updated [2024])
  • DriveSafe (Road safety - Updated [2024])
  • Council websites and freedom camping maps (Local travel advice region by region - Updated [2024])
  • AdventureSmart (Know before you go - Update [2024])

Our editorial standards : At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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Bringing and sending items from India

If you're travelling to New Zealand from India, you might have something special that you want to bring (like food ingredients, sweets, and cultural items). Find out what you can bring in to New Zealand so that you avoid a $400 fine.

Watch our in-flight video

English with hindi subtitles (1:25).

Transcript - show/hide

[Video begins. There are several shots of New Zealand landscapes. A narrator speaks while the video plays.]

Narrator: Welcome to Aotearoa. Our country. Our lakes, rivers, lands, and seas. Our home. This fragile place is all we’ve got. It’s vulnerable to pests and diseases.

[Shot changes to a biosecurity officer in uniform speaking to the camera. There is a detector dog beagle with her.]

Biosecurity officer: That’s why we guard it as if our way of life depends on it. Because it does. But we need your help.

[New shots show types of banned items that people can be fined for.]

Narrator: Fruits, vegetables, and eggs like this can’t be brought into New Zealand. Nor can most meats, honey, cooking ingredients, herbs, and seeds or spices. Anything made of plants or wood can carry unwanted pests or diseases that could destroy our natural environment.

Put any items you aren’t sure about in the airport amnesty bins. Used outdoor equipment is a problem too.

[New shot of the New Zealand Traveller Declaration app, website, and paper card.]

If in doubt, declare it for inspection on the New Zealand Traveller Declaration website or app, or on a paper arrival card. 

[Shot changes again to the biosecurity officer speaking to the camera.]

Or ask a biosecurity officer like me.

Because once you arrive, your bags may be x-rayed and inspected, and if you haven’t declared, you’ll be fined $400.

[Shots of people walking in nature in New Zealand.]

Narrator: As a visitor here, I’ll be asking one thing of you: Look after it. Protect it.

[Words appear: Declare or dispose risk items. Avoid a $400NZD fine.]

[The logo appears: ‘Biosecurity New Zealand – Ministry for Primary Industries – Manatu Ahu Matua’, followed by the logo: ‘Ko Tātou This Is Us – New Zealand Government – Biosecurity 2025]

[Video ends]

Information available in other languages

Information on this page is also available in Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi, and Gujarati.

घोषित की जाने वाली चीज़ें (Hindi)

What you must declare

Your New Zealand Traveller Declaration has a list of the items you must declare. Be sure to declare any of the following items:

  • fruit and vegetables
  • plants and plant products
  • animal products including fresh (uncooked meat or fish)
  • honey and bee products (including tonics with honey such as Chyawanprash, or Panchamirtham mixtures containing honey)
  • flowers and seeds
  • sweets and wafers
  • food and cooking ingredients
  • used outdoor equipment.

If you are unsure whether an item is allowed into New Zealand, declare it on the New Zealand Traveller Declaration. Border staff will then check what you have – many items may still be allowed into the country. Doing the right thing will save you at least a $400 fine for not declaring.

You can also dispose of your items which may pose biosecurity risks in the Biosecurity Bins upon arrival if you don’t want to have them inspected.

Find out more about these types of risk items

Completing your New Zealand Traveller Declaration

All passengers entering New Zealand must complete the New Zealand Traveller Declaration.

The traveller declaration contains questions about what biosecurity risk items you are bringing to New Zealand. You must declare the items you're bringing into the country. This helps us check whether these items pose a threat to New Zealand. If we find that you have undeclared biosecurity items, you will be fined at least $400.

Learn more about the New Zealand Traveller Declaration

Copies of the NZTD paper declaration form are available to view on the New Zealand Customs Service website:

  • Hindi version of the traveller declaration
  • Punjabi version of the traveller declaration

You must declare all the items you are carrying with you or in your luggage.

What happens when you declare risk items?

Many items you declare can still enter New Zealand but it will depend on the packaging and how they were processed. Our quarantine officers may need to inspect these items to make sure they are safe to enter the country.

Our biosecurity staff (quarantine officers) will assess your declared items by asking you more questions and inspecting them. Some biosecurity risk items you declare may be allowed into the country if:

  • a quarantine officer is satisfied your items don’t pose a risk
  • they have been treated by us at the border.

However, some items may not be allowed into the country. We may confiscate or destroy these.

If your items need to be treated, we'll send them to a private independent treatment company. You can collect these items at a later date. Treatment costs may apply.

Examples of risk items

Food and cooking ingredients.

All food items that you bring into New Zealand need to be declared. This includes raw ingredients for cooking. Food items include:

  • pickles (including pickled meat and fish)
  • dried mushrooms and fungi
  • seeds for human consumption and for processing into food
  • Rice, Sundal (boiled pulses mixed with spices), milk, Panchamirtham (fruits, honey, jaggery, nuts, spices mixture), sugar candy, nuts, pepper, salt, sand from ant hill, Tulsi leaves, Powa (pounded rice mixed with coconut and sugar)
  • nuts, spices, herbs
  • dried, cooked, or preserved fruit and vegetables (including pickles).

Sweets and wafers

You can bring sweets, snacks, and wafers from India to New Zealand. But make sure you declare them when you arrive in New Zealand.

Plants and plant products

All plant material must be declared. This includes any offerings, like flowers from temples. Examples of plants and plant products that you must declare include:

  • dried and fresh flowers (including those from temples used for offerings)
  • religious offerings
  • plant cuttings
  • items made of bamboo, cane, rattan, coconut, straw
  • items made of wood
  • any souvenirs made from plant material (like corn and straw, including items stuffed with seeds and straw)
  • herbal medicines, health supplements, and homeopathic remedies.

Animal products

This could include novelty items, souvenirs, and ornaments. Our staff need to inspect all animal products.

Animal products include:

  • traditional medicines
  • honey and honey products (including cosmetics, health supplements, and medicines)
  • shells and clams
  • turtle shell items
  • products made from snakeskin or whalebone.

Novelty items, souvenirs, and ornaments should be declared if they have any parts made from:

  • animal fibres or feathers
  • animal hides and skins.

Used outdoor equipment

We need to inspect all equipment that you used for hiking, sporting, and camping. This type of equipment can carry soil and plant material from other countries into New Zealand. That material may carry pests, diseases, and seeds. All of these can pose a threat to our environment and wildlife.

You can buy many Indian products in New Zealand

Many Indian food ingredients are easy to get in New Zealand, at speciality supermarkets and stores. You can find New Zealand stores that sell Indian food ingredients by searching on the internet.

For your convenience, we've compiled a list of stores in New Zealand's main cities.

A list of Indian supermarkets in New Zealand [PDF, 459 KB]

Help us protect New Zealand

New Zealand has a natural environment that is well-known internationally. We're home to horticultural and agricultural industries that export goods all around the world. As a visitor to New Zealand we ask you to play your part to help protect our country from pests and diseases.

You must follow the law around what is allowed into New Zealand, or you may be fined at least $400.

Find out more

Use our online tool to find out what you can bring or post to New Zealand

Biosecurity resources for people from India coming to New Zealand

Contact us 

If you have questions about what you can bring into New Zealand, email  [email protected]

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COMMENTS

  1. Home

    Everyone entering New Zealand needs to submit a declaration. It is free and takes about 10 minutes. You can do it on the NZTD app or online form, using your phone or computer. For air travellers, the earliest you can submit your declaration is 24 hours before you start your trip to New Zealand. It needs to be submitted by the time you reach ...

  2. Completing your declaration

    This includes things like some foods, used outdoor equipment, animal and plant products. You also need to declare medicines, tobacco, alcohol and if you are carrying $10,000NZD or more cash (or equivalent) into New Zealand. Your travel declaration is a legal document. False declarations can lead to penalties including confiscation of goods, a ...

  3. How to declare items when arriving in NZ

    You must declare risk goods. Risk goods may be on your person (in your clothing or a small bag) or in your luggage. You declare risk goods by completing the form on the New Zealand Traveller Declaration website or the NZTD app. Alternatively, you can complete the official paper arrival card.

  4. About

    About us. New Zealand Customs Service is the lead agency for the New Zealand Traveller Declaration and works closely with the Ministry of Primary Industries, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the Ministry of Health to deliver the online system. Our Māori name - Te Mana Ārai o Aotearoa - translates as "the authority ...

  5. New Zealand Traveller Declaration open for all travellers

    From 11:59pm 31 March 2022, everyone travelling to New Zealand by air is required to complete and submit a New Zealand Traveller Declaration. The New Zealand Traveller Declaration system requires travellers to upload their recent travel history and COVID-19 health-related information prior to their departure for New Zealand, which could include ...

  6. PDF New Zealand Traveller Declaration Factsheet

    If you have any questions about the New Zealand Traveller Declaration, phone our contact centre. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including public holidays. +64 4 931 5799 - for international callers (please note that charges may apply from your service provider) 0800 359 269 - toll free number in New Zealand.

  7. Travellers flying to New Zealand can now do their arrival declaration

    Travellers arriving into all New Zealand international airports now have the option to complete a digital declaration instead of a paper ... Biosecurity New Zealand ramps up for school holidays Kick off your travel on the right foot! New Zealand paper arrival card goes digital Revised border measures to combat foot and mouth disease threat FIFA ...

  8. On your arrival

    You can complete a digital declaration at www.TravellerDeclaration.govt.nz. If you don't complete a digital declaration, you will need to complete a paper arrival declaration (Passenger Arrival Card or NZTD paper declaration [air]) which will either be available on your flight or on arrival in New Zealand.

  9. PDF New Zealand Traveller Declaration overview

    and promoting New Zealand. Where we are now … The New Zealand Traveller Declaration (NZTD) system has been a critical component of the reopening of New Zealand's borders underthe Reconnecting New Zealanders framework •The NZTD ensures current COVID-19 health risks can be managed effectively.

  10. PDF New Zealand Traveller Declaration

    If you wish to exercise these rights please contact the New Zealand Customs Service on 0800 428 786 or email [email protected], and/or write to Immigration New Zealand at PO Box 1473, Wellington. 230604. You do NOT need to complete this paper form if you have completed the New Zealand Traveller Declaration online at www ...

  11. What food you can bring to NZ

    Paying fines for undeclared items. Clearance of goods and mail to NZ. Arriving in NZ in your own boat or aircraft. Last reviewed: 22.03.24. Meat, stock, and floss. Fish and seafood. Dairy and egg products. Meals and plant products. Honey, salt, sauces, yeast and other food ingredients.

  12. What to Declare When Arriving in New Zealand?

    What Items You Have to Declare When Arriving in New Zealand. Any food. Animals or animal products including food, souvenirs with animal products on, raw wool, etc. Plants or plant products including nuts, seeds, medicinal products, etc. Other biosecurity risk items including animal medicines, biological cultures, organisms, soil or water.

  13. Travellers flying to New Zealand can now do their arrival declaration

    The New Zealand Traveller Declaration system collects travel, customs, immigration and biosecurity information. Phased go-live of the system at Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown airports shows it takes less than 10 minutes to complete - and it can be done before a traveller starts their journey to New Zealand.

  14. How to complete a Traveller Declaration form for New Zealand travel

    4. Use Chrome on a computer. Travellers recommend completing the form on a computer instead of a phone and using the Chrome browser instead of Safari, which has trouble uploading documents. 5. A ...

  15. Biosecurity food rules: What travellers can bring into New Zealand

    Travellers can also bring up to 2kg of butter, cheese, milk powder and formula, as well as fruits or vegetables that are not fresh. A full list of accepted cooking/preserving methods is listed ...

  16. What happens if you fail to declare

    The penalties. The penalty for a false declaration is an NZD$400 infringement fee - commonly called an instant fine. You do not get a criminal conviction. However, if you deliberately make an incorrect or false declaration to try to conceal items, the consequences are much worse. If you're convicted of deliberate smuggling, you could be fined ...

  17. A Guide to the NZ Traveller Declaration (Passenger Arrival Card)

    1. The NZ Traveller Declaration Paper Form. Part of your in-flight entertainment on your flight to New Zealand is filling out the Traveller Declaration Form for New Zealand. The card/form will be handed out to you by the flight crew during your flight (the final leg of your journey that ends in New Zealand). Once you have filled out the card ...

  18. Translated arrival declaration forms

    All travellers to New Zealand must complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration before reaching passport control in New Zealand. You can complete a digital declaration at www.TravellerDeclaration.govt.nz, or a paper arrival declaration which will either be available on your flight or on arrival in New Zealand.. If you have completed a digital arrival declaration, you do not need to complete a ...

  19. Travel to and from New Zealand

    Travel to and from New Zealand. Travelling to New Zealand. Non-scheduled flights and private flights. Duty-free shopping. Human remains/ashes and placenta. Medicines. Electronic device examinations. Send and receive items. Move to NZ permanently.

  20. Items to declare on arrival to New Zealand from India

    All food items that you bring into New Zealand need to be declared. This includes raw ingredients for cooking. Food items include: meat. eggs. seafood. pickles (including pickled meat and fish) dried mushrooms and fungi. seeds for human consumption and for processing into food.