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

Because New Zealand is considered a rabies-free country, the steps your pet will need to take to be imported into the country are determined by the origin country’s rabies and other infectious diseases status.

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.

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.

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.

Additionally, most facilities will allow authorized visitation during the quarantine period. However, this is not recommended if your pet has high anxiety as a visit can mislead them and create further anxiety during their 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.

For Category 3 pets, this means 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. As you can email your import permit application, original documents are not necessary to obtain an import permit.

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.

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.


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Quarantine


Cats, Dogs


New Zealand


Add a Comment

By Gary on November 19, 2018 at 1:06 pm

Hi I am thinking of moving to NZ from the USA. My dog is up to date with his rabies hots, all vaccinations etc but hasn't had the Rabies Titer test yet. How long after that test can he be sent to NZ? I know for Australia he has to wait 6 months after the test is NZ as strict? Thanks Gary

By Maegan at PetRelocation on November 27, 2018 at 3:34 pm

Hi Gary! Your pup can travel to New Zealand 3 months after the rabies titer test is completed. Make sure your pup has a microchip implanted prior to their rabies vaccine & the rabies vaccine must be valid and given within the year of travel. If you are needing assistance with your pet's relocation, please fill out our Arrange A Move form and consultant from our AU/NZ team will reach out to you. Hope this helps, thanks!

By Mike o Connor on November 7, 2018 at 11:52 am

Hi I am looking into moving to New Zeland from Ireland I got all him shot up to dats does he have to go into quarantine our can I get him the day I arrive our what happenes can u give me some advice please and thank you

By Maegan at PetRelocation on November 14, 2018 at 11:04 am

Hi Mike! Yes, all pets are required to go into 10 nights of quarantine upon arrival into New Zealand. You can pick him up from quarantine once he is released. Hope this helps!

By James on October 29, 2018 at 4:41 am

Hi , I have a 16month working cocker spaniel , she is KC registered / microchipped and up-to-date with injections (UK required ones)We are looking at moving from the UK to NZ and currently have a job offer on the table.How quick process would it be for us to bring our dog ?Also she hasn't been spayed , would that bring problems ?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on October 29, 2018 at 9:26 am

Hi James! It is not required for your pet to be spayed before import to NZ. The process of moving pets to New Zealand begins with a microchip implant, then rabies vaccine. It is 6 months from the date of the rabies vaccine before your pup can travel to NZ. Your pup will also need a rabies blood titer test within 3 months of travel. Here are the requirements for moving your pup to New Zealand. If we can be of assistance with your move, please fill out our Arrange A Moveform. Thanks!

By Carolyn Arthur on September 14, 2018 at 12:32 am

Hi. We are moving to New Zealand from Melbourne, Australia and we hope to bring our two dogs. Can you please let me know what the process is and how long it takes? Do I need to organise rabies shots six months in advance?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on September 18, 2018 at 1:04 pm

Hi Carolyn! Since New Zealand is considered "rabies free" the process of moving your dogs to Australia is less complex than moving from a "rabies controlled" country like the requirements state above. As long as your pets have been in New Zealand for at least 90 days, you'll need about 45 days to prepare for their trip to Australia. Rabies vaccinations, rabies titer blood test, import permit & quarantine is not required for import. More information can be found on their website here. Hope this helps!

By Heather Cotton on August 19, 2018 at 5:23 am

Hi there,We have 3 dogs and a cat and are wondering what is the cheapest and less traumatic way to get them from South Africa KZN to Auckland New Zealand.

By Maegan at PetRelocation on August 21, 2018 at 2:56 pm

Hi Heather! We always want to get your pets from Point A to Point B as quick as possible so we typically suggest booking your pets on a pet-safe airline which is the safest way to get them to New Zealand. Feel free to check out this post about how much it costs to relocate your pets. If we can be of assistance, please let us know! Thanks!

By Rahat Hossain on July 30, 2018 at 7:30 am

I am Rahat Hossain, I am from Bangladesh and I'll be traveling to Auckland new Zealand as a student. I have two pet cats,now I want to bring them in Auckland new Zealand from dhaka bangladesh. As a student it is tuff for me to carry them along with me as i have to go directly college accommodation from the airport.i have also communicated to the college regarding this but unfortunately they have no facilities to keep any pets with students.I mostly prefer my CATS to fly 2/3days later after my arrival in that once i move to other location after 2/3 days from college accommodation, where i can keep my cats at my place. I'll also receive them from the airport as soon as they land in Auckland international airport.There is also no direct flights from dhaka bangladesh to Auckland new Zealand. I will be traveling by Singapore airlines via Singapore transit. Please let me know all the requirements I'll be needed to carry my pets from dhaka airport via Singapore airport to finally Auckland airport. I am eagerly waiting for your response.

By Maegan at PetRelocation on July 30, 2018 at 10:36 am

Hi Rahat! Thanks for reaching out for help with your cats' move to New Zealand.

As you might have read in the article above, Bangladesh is considered to be a "non-categorized" country according to New Zealand. Per the rules, your pets will need to travel to an approved country (Category 1, 2 or 3), spend 6 months in a different country to have the remaining veterinary work performed, and then they can depart to New Zealand.

All pets will need 10 days of quarantine in Auckland upon arrival. You can pick them up from quarantine after the 10 days is completed.

So, if you're starting from the beginning, you will need at least 180 days' total lead time. Also, your cats must travel as "manifest cargo" in the cargo hold. This is perfectly safe as long as your pets are healthy. New Zealand does not allow pets to arrive "in-cabin". I know this process is complex so feel free to reach out to us directly if you are looking to hire a service like ours to assist with this big move. Thanks!

By Rahat on August 8, 2018 at 2:43 pm

My cats are my life. Can you please suggest me is there any other option to take them to new Zealand? It will be impossible for me to transfer them to an intermidiary country for 6months. Plz plz suggest me if there is any other way to bring them in new Zealand?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on August 14, 2018 at 1:20 pm

Hi Rahat! Yes, we have clients who move their pets to the US from an unapproved country, spend 6 months in the US, then we facilitate all the final paperwork, vet visits & relocate them to New Zealand. If you'd like more information, please fill out our Arrange a Move Form and one of our representatives will be in touch shortly. Thanks!

By Heili van Wyk on March 18, 2018 at 9:59 am

Hi thereHow many pets can I bring with if I move to New Zealand?Thanks

By Krishneil on March 1, 2018 at 1:45 am

Please advice. I would like to take my 7 month dog to New Zealand.

By Christina at PetRelocation on March 1, 2018 at 11:47 am

Hi Krishneil! Please fill out our consultation form and a relocation consultant will contact you with information about moving your dog to New Zealand. Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you!

Add a Comment

Name is required

Email is required and must be in the format

Comment is required

Back to top