New Zealand is an amazing country, with astounding natural wonders, cosmopolitan cities, and an incredibly comfortable quality of life — it’s easy to see why anyone would be tempted to move there. According to Statistics New Zealand, every month between 5,000–6,000 migrants make the country their new home, and many of these people bring their pets with them too.
Pets play a huge part in their owner’s lives, and moving to a new country often means that they will make the trip too. If you are thinking of moving to New Zealand and you want to take your pet with you, there are a few things that you will need to know. We’ve decided to help you out by giving you the essential information that you need to know before boarding the plane. Read on to find out more.
Which animals can you bring into the country?
Cats and dogs are the most popular pets, and they are also the most commonly imported into New Zealand. If you are bringing your cat or dog from Australia, you will only need a post-arrival inspection, but for all other countries there are more specific requirements that need to be met. Apart from cats and dogs, the only other common household pets that can be imported are rabbits and guinea pigs from Australia and chinchillas from the UK. There are different criteria for aquatic animals and horses, as set out by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). Note: there are several breeds of dog that are banned from import — the American pit bull terrier, Brazilian fila, dogo Argentino, Japanese tosa, and Perro de Presa Canario.
Know the health requirements
Most countries around the world have specific health requirements that must be met before you can bring your pet into the country, and New Zealand is no different. You will need to pay at least one visit to the vets before you leave, and you include these pet visits in your moving budget.
Both cats and dogs must be microchipped and fully vaccinated for rabies before you bring them to New Zealand; a rabies titre test is required for pets from most countries, including the UK. All dogs also require a heartworm and babesia gibsoni test, and all dogs apart from those from Australia need a leptospirosis and brucella canis test too. Both cats and dogs need to have internal and external parasite treatments, with cats also requiring a second internal and external parasite treatment. You can find information about all of the tests and treatments that cats and dogs must undergo in the Important Health Standards (IHS) for cats and dogs document issued by the MPI.
If your cat or dog has any medication that you will need to bring with them, you have to declare them beforehand via a declaration of medicines form and a copy of a vet’s prescription. Usually the MPI will ratify up to a 3-month supply of medication.
Other animals permitted for entry into New Zealand have their own health standards that must be met before importing can take place. You can view these in the MPI’s individual guidance documents for rabbits from Australia, guinea pigs from Australia and chinchillas from the UK.
Get a veterinary certificate
To keep track of and certify your pet’s travel into New Zealand, there are several pieces of paperwork that need to be filed before they can enter the country. The first of these is a veterinary certificate for your pet (model certificates can be found in the HIS document mentioned previously). These certificates outline the treatment your pet needs, and by signing them, your vet is declaring that they have all been completed.
Book an MPI-approved quarantine facility and apply for your import permit
Unfortunately, all dogs and cats, apart from those coming from Australia, have to undergo a quarantine period at an MPI-approved facility. You can find a list of these for dogs and cats here. Other permitted pets do not usually require a quarantine period. You may feel worried about leaving your pet after all of the upheaval of moving to New Zealand, but just remember that this is for their own good and once it is over you will have completed the import process.
Once you’ve booked a quarantine period, you can apply for an import permit. This should be done at least 6 weeks before departure — there are two import forms for cats and dogs: one for rabies free countries (category 2) and one for countries where rabies is absent or well-controlled (category 3). Rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas also have their own application form.
Notify the MPI before arrival
You will need to inform the MPI of your pet’s impending arrival at least 72 hours ahead of their arrival. The MPI’s import guidance page for cats and dogs lists exactly what information the MPI need to receive as well as the email addresses and phone numbers you can use to contact them.
Consider using a professional pet mover
The New Zealand MPI strongly recommend that you use a professional pet mover to make the experience of changing countries less stressful for both you and your pet. These companies will take care of all of the paperwork and will be happy to walk you through all of the steps required to get your pet into New Zealand. If you are moving from the UK, there are companies like Pickfords who offer this service, and have specially trained staff who are experts in the field.
Once you have completed all of the above steps, you can look forward to an exciting new life together with your pet in New Zealand.