Planning pet travel to New Zealand can be overwhelming at first glance, but if you allow enough time to carefully map out the requirements and routing, you can successfully manage your pet’s move.
Because the import process is long and detailed, we wanted to provide some insight into a few of the steps that can be difficult to manage without help. Take a look at the information below to understand more about quarantine, import permits, and other items to create a safe move plan for your pet.
Want to speak with an expert about bringing dogs or cats to New Zealand? Contact us and one of our specialists from our dedicated New Zealand team will help you plan safe pet travel.
Pet Import Requirements for New Zealand
The countries that are approved for direct import into New Zealand will fall under either Category 1 (Australia, Norfolk Island), Category 2 (approved rabies-free countries or territories), or Category 3 (approved countries or territories where rabies is absent or well-controlled). If the origin country or territory is not categorized, the pet will be required to move to a categorized country or territory for a minimum of 6 months to complete the import process.
Also, unless you are coming from Australia, New Zealand will not allow pets other than cats and dogs to enter the country. For more detailed information on the import rules and requirements for New Zealand, we recommend visiting the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) website here but keep in mind this will not cover your origin countries’ export processes.
No matter where you’re moving from, your pet will likely have to enter New Zealand via Auckland even if your final destination (and quarantine facility) is located elsewhere in the country. Only certain airlines, like Air New Zealand, are allowed to import pets into the country so it’s important to take the time to plan the safest route for your pet to travel.
Pepper and Kili moved to New Zealand with PetRelocatoin
When traveling to New Zealand, you will need to closely follow vaccine and blood test regulations to ensure your pet meets the requirements to obtain an import permit (more on that below). All pets will need a microchip, rabies vaccine, titer test, and internal and external parasite treatment. Dogs, however, will also need additional vaccines and blood tests.
Estimated costs for vaccinations: There are at least five veterinarian visits required for a move to New Zealand. Depending on your own veterinarian's fees, we estimate approximately $1,500 USD for these services.
Booking Quarantine for Cats and Dogs
Before you can apply for an import permit from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), you have to decide where you want your pet to spend the 10-day quarantine period and receive a booking confirmation letter from that facility.
In New Zealand, the quarantine stations are privatized which means you have options to choose from rather than one mandatory government-owned facility. The various quarantine facilities are listed by their cities on the MPI website here.
To book quarantine with one of these facilities, you’ll need to either visit their website or reach out via email to request booking forms. The booking forms will require that you fill out important information to your pet’s care and temperament, along with the dates of their stay. You do not need to send in any vet records so it is recommended to book as soon as you have a date for your pet’s arrival.
Once you submit the booking information, the facility will send you a confirmation letter via email for you to submit with your import permit application. If you’re working with the PetRelocation team, your dedicated specialist will send you the necessary forms for the quarantine facility of your choice and guide you through this process.
Estimated cost for quarantine: Prices vary based on size of your pet, but generally fall between $1,000-$1500.
Quarantine Accommodations - Feeding, Medication, and More
Because the quarantine facilities are privatized, the care, conditions, and costs will vary between the facilities. Even so, many if not all of the facilities will cater to special diets, administer necessary medication, and allow bedding and toys to help your pet feel more comfortable during the 10-day stay.
We recommend reaching out to the facility of your choice to determine the type of care will be provided for your pet along with their visitation rules and hours. Many people choose to read reviews or reach out to multiple facilities prior to booking to determine which facility will be best for their specific needs.
Obtaining an Import Permit
Pets coming from Category 2 and Category 3 countries must have an import permit. In order to apply for an import permit with MPI, you must fill out an application form specific to your country’s category and submit it with the quarantine confirmation letter and initial vet documentation for your pet. To apply, you are required to have proof of microchip implant (prior to rabies), a rabies certificate, and your pet’s Rabies Titer test results along with the Official Veterinary Declaration (OVD) from your vet.
Import permit processing can take up to a month and MPI recommends applying at least 20 days prior to your arrival in New Zealand, though we recommend at least 6 weeks to allow enough time to follow through with the remaining import steps after your import permit arrives. Keep in mind that import permits are only valid for 10 days from your pet’s declared entry date (based on the quarantine confirmation booking letter) so if your pet’s move day changes significantly, you will have to apply for another import permit.
Estimated cost for import permits: An import permit is $221 NZD per family, which is roughly $160 USD.
Health Certificates and USDA Endorsements
For export from the United States to any foreign country, your pet must have a country-specific health certificate issued by a USDA-Accredited Veterinarian. This health certificate must be sent to your state’s USDA office for endorsement. Ask your veterinarian if they have the proper USDA accreditation. Failure to do so could result in extra time and expenses associated with additional appointments and testing. If you are working with a PetRelocation coordinator, we will work closely with your veterinarian to ensure all complicated requirements are met.
For pets departing the United States for New Zealand, a representative for the USDA must meet you at the airport at time of check in to seal you pet's travel crate. This is to ensure your pet and the other items in the crate have not been tampered with.
Costs for USDA endorsements: There are two endorsements needed when moving pets to New Zealand. The first, the OVD, is $121 per pet and the final USDA endorsement is $150. The crate seal fee is $132 per pet.
Crate Training and Traveling as Manifest Cargo
Pets traveling into New Zealand may only arrive as manifest cargo. This is for your pet’s safety and accountability. This means it’s important to start acclimating your pet to their travel crate early and practice crate training often.
Rasmus moved to New Zealand with our help.
Estimated costs for manifest cargo airfreight: Manifest cargo flights for pets are based on dimensional weight (or how much space your pet takes up in the aircraft). For international flights, these fees can range from $,1000 USD for a Chihuahua and up to $4,500 USD for a Great Dane.
Breakdown of Costs for Moving Dogs and Cats to New Zealand
While this is by no means an extensive list of the possible costs you could incur when relocating your pet to New Zealand, this chart should help you in understanding what you should be prepared for when budgeting for a pet’s move.
|Service||Notes||Cost (in USD)|
|Veterinarian Services||Includes vaccines, blood work, and final health certificates.||$1,500 (approx)|
Cost per family.
|Mandatory Quarantine||Costs vary depending on the size of the pet.||$1,000-$1,500 (approx)|
|Cost per pet.||$132|
Two sets of paperwork per pet need to be endorsed
|Dependent on the size and weight of your pet.||$1,000- $4,500|
Pet Export Requirements for Leaving New Zealand
Leaving New Zealand with a cat or dog is much easier than importing a cat or dog into the country. To start, there are only three airports you can export pets from - Auckland Airport, Wellington Airport, and Christchurch Airport.
On top of following your destination country’s pet import requirements, you may need to look into getting an export certificate with MPI or an Animal Welfare Export Certificate (AWEC) or both. While any registered vet in New Zealand can provide a health certificate for your pet, only official veterinarians employed by MPI can issue export certificates and AWECs.
If you’re planning on eventually returning to New Zealand with your cat or dog, you will need to follow the necessary import requirements as outlined by your country’s category (unfortunately, there is no shortcut).
We know this can be an overwhelming process to follow and are ready to help plan your pet’s move to New Zealand!
Contact us to get in touch with one of our dedicated New Zealand team members to check if your pet’s move plan is heading in the right direction.