Everything You Need to Know About Arriving in a New Zealand Airport

Everything You Need to Know About Arriving in a New Zealand Airport

A trip to New Zealand is super exciting! However, the
thing that most of us dread is passing through Passport Control, Customs and Biosecurity.
New Zealand has some strict biosecurity laws making an arrival in New Zealand not as straight forward as
arriving in other countries. If you’re arriving in a New Zealand airport from overseas, there are a
few processes that you will be required to go through before entering the country. We’ll
go over all of that and more coming up in this video!
Hey guys, we’re Robin and Laura, the team behind BackpackerGuide.NZ, helping you plan
an epic trip to New Zealand. In this guide to arriving in New Zealand, we’ll go
over what visa you need to prepare, what to avoid bringing into New Zealand, as well as the process
of the Passenger Arrival Card and passing through Passport Control and Biosecurity.
And stick around until the end of this video because we’ll be giving you 5 airport hacks
that will change the way you travel forever. Plus, we bring new videos about New Zealand every single
day, so if you are new here, click or tap the subscribe button to get all your essential
New Zealand travel tips. We even spend hours making these videos to help you plan your trip, so
it would be awesome if you could help us out by liking this video too. Hey, we’ll even
pause the video for you so you get the time to do that.
And with that, let’s get on with today’s video. The first part of making your arrival in New Zealand
as smooth as possible is by getting the right visa for your intentions in New Zealand. Just visiting
New Zealand on a holiday? Then you’ll probably need a Visitor Visa. Are you under 30 years
old and looking to do some working and travelling in New Zealand? Then the working holiday visa would
be your best bet. Or are you enrolled at a New Zealand university? You’ll then need the appropriate
Student Visa… And so on. The best place to go to find out what visas
are available for your country is the Immigration New Zealand website. However, we do cover a lot of
information on the most popular visas in New Zealand so check out the links to those BackpackerGuide.NZ
articles in the description below. Visas for New Zealand also have conditions that, if
broken, will make your visa invalid. The most common condition is your length of stay, but
there may also be conditions on having enough money to support yourself while you’re in
New Zealand, a travel ticket departing NZ, or even travel insurance. These conditions are outlined
for each visa on the Immigration New Zealand website. Take note of them and prepare the evidence
needed, which could be bank statements, your travel insurance policy, etc, to show at the
Passport Control desk just in case you are asked for them.
The next way to ensure a smooth arrival in New Zealand is to pack right for NZ. That way, you
won’t have to do any last minute scrambling to clean your hiking shoes at the airport
or risk getting something you’ve packed sent for biosecurity treatment. What you bring
or don’t bring with you into New Zealand is extremely important due to the strict biosecurity rules.
While there are some items that are prohibited from being brought into New Zealand, there are other
items that must be declared so that customs officers can inspect them and decide whether
they are safe to be in New Zealand. We’ll talk about how to declare items later in the video. But
for now, here is what you can’t pack in your luggage to New Zealand.
Certain types of food – including fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meat or fish,
honey and bee products. hazardous materials.
endangered species without a permit. weapons without a permit.
objectionable publications which is basically inappropriate videos or images.
and controlled drugs without evidence that it is prescribed to you.
A full list of prohibited items can be found on the New Zealand Customs website which we’ll link
for you in the description. Other items you might want to bring to New Zealand
could be considered as risk items by New Zealand Customs. This doesn’t mean that they will automatically
confiscate these items from you, but you must declare them for the Customs officers to inspect
the item or ask questions about them. Some of those risk items that you are likely to
pack for a trip to New Zealand are equipment used with animals, plants or water and Items that have
been used for outdoor or farming activities. These items must be clean in order for you
to bring them into New Zealand, so clean up these items before you pack them.
For more packing advice for New Zealand, check out our New Zealand packing list and carry-on packing list
videos. Now, let’s talk about the The Passenger Arrival
Card. You’ve packed your bag like a boss, avoiding any prohibited items, and are ready
to declare any restricted items. You have a visa for New Zealand and your passport and you’re
on your flight. During your flight, you will be given a Passenger
Arrival Card. This is a legal document which you must complete and hand to Customs once
you arrive in a New Zealand airport. The Passenger Arrival Card is the first time where you will
declare any risk items. You will also have to fill out some personal details, your intentions
in New Zealand, list any other countries you have recently been to, circle what type of visa you have,
as well as some quick character questions. Get familiar with the document by taking a
look at a copy of the Passenger Arrival Card which we’ve linked up in the description.
As you will see, the document is mostly easy yes or no questions.
Next up, let’s talk about Passport Control. Wahoo! You’ve landed in New Zealand! Once you have
exited the plane, the next process is to go through Passport Control in the form of an
Immigration Officer or by using the eGate. The eGate is the fastest way to pass through
New Zealand Passport Control. You can use the eGate if you have an e-passport from New Zealand, Australia,
UK, Ireland, US, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, China and more countries
are added regularly. Otherwise, you will have to do it the old-fashioned way and see an
Immigration Officer. If you are passing Passport Control via an
Immigration Officer the Immigration Officer will inspect your passport, visa and your
Passenger Arrival Card. They will also ask you if you have anything to declare. You must
tell them if you have any risk items in any of your luggage. Basically, anything that
was listed on the Passenger Arrival Card that you answered Yes to.
Failing to declare an item or falsely declaring something may incur an instant NZ$400 fine.
If you are unsure whether to declare something, there is no harm in declaring it anyway. We’ll
briefly go over what are risk items in this video. Don’t worry guys, we’ll get to that.
But you can also check out our video and article in the description which lists in-depth what
items you need to declare. On top of questions about what you are bringing
into New Zealand, the Immigration Officer may ask some more questions concerning your visa or your
intentions in New Zealand. This is not always the case, but it’s best to be prepared. Here are the
questions you could be asked… What is the purpose of your trip?
Basically say what your visa is: working holiday, visitor, etc.
Do you have a return ticket or sufficient funds for a return ticket?
Show the appropriate evidence, such as a hard copy of a recent bank statement or outward
travel ticket. Do you have sufficient funds required of your
visa? Show the appropriate evidence, such as a hard
copy of a recent bank statement. Do you have any contacts in the country?
Give contact details if you know anyone in the country. If you don’t have a contact,
no worries. Where are you going to be staying for the
first few days? Have the address of your first accommodation
on hand. Where was your last destination?
State your home country or the last country you visited, if you are not coming straight
from home. Have you visited NZ before?
You’ll know the answer. Do you have any food with you?
If you do, give details to the Immigration Officer.
and How much cash do you have on you today? If you have more than NZ$10,000 or the foreign
equivalent, then you’ll have to go through a Border Cash Report.
So if you end up going through this process with the Immigration Officer, he or she may
write a couple of notes on your Passenger Arrival Card before returning it to you. You
will need your Passenger Arrival Card for passing through Customs & Biosecurity.
The Immigration Officer will also put an entry stamp into your passport and a visa stamp
if applicable, for instance, the Visitor Visa. Then you will be free to pass through to the
Baggage Claim area. Next up is Customs and Biosecurity
After you have picked up your luggage from the Baggage Claim area, you will need to pass
through New Zealand Customs. Again, you will be asked if you have anything to declare. Go through
the same procedure that we mentioned and remember, if you’re unsure about anything, then declare
it anyway. So, finally we get to it! What items do you
have to declare when arriving in New Zealand? You need to declare 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.
Equipment used with animals, plants or water Items that have been used for outdoor or farming
activities Alcohol and tobacco over the duty-free allowance
Prescription medicines More than NZ$10,000 in cash
More than NZ$700 worth of goods not including your clothes, toiletries, etc.
Again, check out our other video on what you need to declare when arriving in New Zealand for more
details. So, What happens if you have any risk items?
A Quarantine Officer will inspect the item. If they decide the item poses no risk, you
may bring it into the country. Alternatively, the item may be taken for treatment at a private
treatment company. You will be able to collect your treated items at a later date.
If the Quarantine Officer decides that the item does pose a risk, then it will be confiscated
and destroyed. And, What happens next at customs and Biosecurity?
Once you have talked to a Customs or Quarantine Officer, you will put your luggage through
an X-ray. There will also be detector dogs sniffing out any undeclared items. If a risk
item is found in your luggage which you did not declare, you will be given an instant
NZ$400 fine and that item either confiscated or sent for treatment.
Otherwise, you are good to go so head off and start exploring New Zealand!
So that’s everything you need to know about arriving in a New Zealand airport. But, as promised,
here’s 5 Airport Hacks that will change the way you travel forever
Number 1. Download or print your boarding pass. Just in case there is no WiFi or the
connection is too slow to access your emails. Number 2. Customise your suitcase or backpack
for easy spotting on the Baggage Claim carousel. 3. Pack a New Zealand travel adapter and adapters for
your stopover countries in your carry-on bag just in case you’re in need of some emergency
device charging. 4. Pick the left lane. Because most people
are right handed, they tend to pick the right lane for queuing. So pick the leftmost lane
to pass through quicker. 5. Pack your liquids, pastes and electronic
devices on top of your carry-on so you can access them quickly when passing through the
security baggage check. So that’s it for our guide to passing through
New Zealand Customs, Passport Control and Biosecurity. If you found it useful, give this video a
like and if you do have any questions, flick us a comment below and we’ll be happy to answer
them! And if you’re keen for more New Zealand travel
tips and New Zealand bucket list inspiration through our epic web series of New Zealand’s Biggest
Gap Year where we’re challenging ourselves to 365 activities in 365 days, then hit the
subscribe button! Until next time, keep exploring.


  • NZ Pocket Guide

    May 5, 2018

    Have you checked out our latest Facebook giveaway?
    🔥 WIN A FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER HELI HIKE & ENTRY TO THE GLACIER HOT POOLS🔥 https://www.facebook.com/backpackerguidenz/posts/2179847202041998

  • Radiat Tromp

    May 19, 2018

    what about leather jackets

  • jim ghanem

    July 23, 2018

    Thanks for the tips
    You are doing a Great job 💛🙏🏻

  • Kien Quoc Tran

    August 24, 2018

    It is useful

  • Sophie leishman

    September 5, 2018

    By the way Auckland airport is the strictest airport about security and safety to the country Wellington is probably the most not strict and Christchurch falls in between them

  • Benjamin Skjonnemand

    October 23, 2018

    If i dont leave the airport do i habe to go through customs

  • Anand sivadas

    October 27, 2018

    Really helpful 👍🏻thank you guys

  • Madison Ballacchino

    December 18, 2018

    omg im studying abroad at university of auckland in march and i just want to say thank you!! your videos are a huge help!!

  • Jafd Dfea

    January 7, 2019

    Do I have to write the countries on the passenger arrival card, even when I'm not leaving the airport security zone? I will fly from Hamburg and my flight goes over Dubai and I will just go to the next plane heading to New Zealand and won't spend any time in Dubai.

  • Anthony Chou

    January 11, 2019

    I’m really excited for my New Zealand trip next week!

  • Katy TheAngel

    January 14, 2019

    Wait, I am confused. Why would the immigration officer ask for sufficient funds for the visa? I mean, you already paid when you have one.

  • Liz Gerdes

    January 15, 2019

    What happens if you bring in more then $10,000?

  • thehalim

    January 18, 2019

    11:10 the most important is #4 &5. Thank you!

  • TheTruthwillrevealed

    January 23, 2019

    Thank you for your efforts.😄
    Do homoeopathy medicine required prescription.

  • Kshitij Kotwal

    February 1, 2019

    Will they go through my phone and laptop ?

  • Aayushi Puri

    February 2, 2019

    Hi, very informative video . Thanks guys. Does any one know if one can bring a collection of miniatures perfume ,around 60 of them?

  • Geliott

    February 24, 2019

    Are there biosecurity in NZ Post? I sent tiny dry tree branch via letter. Will it be gutted? :

  • Diego Traslaviña Santana

    February 27, 2019

    thanks for the tips guys !!. What happens if I go with a Charango (wooden musical instrument), I must declare?

  • Sophie Pearce

    March 11, 2019

    I love your blog! Info lists are a great way to read about travelling and your lists are my fave

  • christian romero

    March 14, 2019

    So, to be clear. If I only pack clothes, my cell phone and my laptop, I should not declare anything. Right??

  • Matthew Kennedy

    March 22, 2019

    If I’m just visiting for 4 days do I need to apply for a visa?

  • Many Kuoy

    March 27, 2019

    Can I bring dietary supplements in my luggage?


    April 22, 2019

    @BackpackerGuide.NZ i will arrive at auckland by 11:30pm and have to get to hamilton. I wont be getting any buses at that time so will i be able to stay and rest at airport by any means?

  • Payne Hoss

    April 25, 2019

    hey, I am a U.S. citizen with a US Passport, I looked up if I need a visa and it said I didn't as long as I stayed under 3 months which im planning on just staying 2 months, it was called a visa waiver or something like that which is a bit confusing to me. So does this mean I do not need a visa, only my passport and i'll be good to go?

  • Elizabeth Farias

    May 10, 2019

    Thanks for the video! For my return flight home, I'm flying from Christchurch to Auckland and then Auckland to California. If everything is on time I will have an hour and 20 minutes to get from the domestic to international terminal. Will I have enough time to get to the gate for boarding? I read that one has to take a shuttle in order to get from one terminal to the other.

  • Beanie__ Bin

    May 19, 2019

    This is so stressful, anyway Thank for your information!!
    Is it okay if you take cold medicine with you??? I heard my friend saying that NZ treatment is so expensive!!

  • Muhammad Yasin

    May 27, 2019

    if iam passing through new zealand for like an hour and have pakistani passport, do i need a transit visa?

  • Aishwarya Shrestha

    June 5, 2019

    what is the left lane for? (by the way travelling abroad for first time)

  • regi mathew

    June 29, 2019

    i have a question so if i book from iah to akl and akl to iah …..and akl to Queenstown separately …….while returning do I have to go to the baggage area and get my luggage and then go to the check-in area to catch a flight for akl to iah…..how long and far is it from domestic baggage area to international check-in ?….seems like a long question, just clearing my path to make sure I do the right thing

  • regi mathew

    July 18, 2019

    Transit question so we got down from international flight and got 1 hour 55 mints to board Christ church , how does the transit process works , do we have to wait for the bus or walk . Do we have to collect our bagage or go straight to domestic security to check in ?

  • Panji Agustian

    July 26, 2019

    what accent does she has?

  • PositiviTea Spill

    July 26, 2019

    If I get a Residency (my partner is a Kiwi), when does that come through? Like do they stamp my Cyprus Passport? And I'll be having some snacks with me in my carry on as well as checked suitcases, will I need to declare those? (chips, traditional sweets & candy)

  • The Lyric Generator

    August 3, 2019

    simple answer, DON'T BRING IN ANYTHING ILLEGAL, apart from cloths


    August 26, 2019

    HI, I'm going to Queenstown NZ on this September. I'm from Malaysia, I just apply for visa. Do i need to apply NZeta too? Is there a minimum cash requirement to bring? If my visa is rejected, do I have to pay again for my next application? Is there any problem if i bring bicycle to explore Queenstown? Sorry if so many question 🙂

  • xorbodude

    September 2, 2019

    damn. invasion of privacy much?

  • shanky

    November 5, 2019

    Hi..I will be traveling to New Zealand on a student visa.. I have already shown the funds to immigration department earlier at the time of visa application.. Now, i applied for student visa in July and will arrive in Feb next year.. Do i need to show the bank statement i used for the application or a fresh bank statement which is recent at the time of grant of entry permission ?

  • Pamela Caudle

    November 10, 2019

    Thank you for this information. Touring NZ soon and am excited to see this beautiful country.

  • Noah LeGrand

    November 23, 2019

    Another great, helpful video. Thanks again!

  • TX1961

    November 24, 2019

    Is that guy using a French accent?

  • A .E

    November 25, 2019

    Thank you guys for your entire channel ! Btw fyi passing through a NZ airport is very similar to arriving to Chile, if you ever go there

  • Md RG

    November 27, 2019

    Great video guys. By coincidence I landed here and I fell in love with your channel. Fantastic way of breaking everything down. A question: if I'm at airport with NZeTA and planning to stay one month, in case I have 2500 NZD cash on hand and have already paid my accommodation fees online. Should I still show a bank statement? Thanks.


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