Guest Article – Moving to New Zealand

by Lance Morris
Feb 17, 2020
Auckland City Skyline

The below article was provided by Jennifer Bennet, of A1 Auto Transport

How To Move To New Zealand: Everything You Need To Know To Make Your Move

New Zealand is a beautiful place to live. It has a mild climate, beautiful mountains, gorgeous scenery and a unique local culture that’s friendly and laid back, and great social programs and schools.

If you’re planning on making a move to New Zealand for work or school, there are a few things you should consider when relocating. In this guide, we’ll discuss a few of the basic things you should know before you make a long-term move to New Zealand.

Obtaining A Visa/Residence Permit In New Zealand

Before you can move to New Zealand, you’ll need to obtain a visa or residence permit. There are a variety of different pathways you can take to getting a visa or a residence permit in New Zealand. If you’re interested in this, you can click here to fill out a quick application and view the different options that are available to you.

For the most part, long-term visas and residence permits are split into four categories:

  • Working – If you have a job offer from a New Zealand-based company, you can get sponsored for a residence permit and visa. There are also some other options like a “working holiday” visa and other short-term visas.
  • Investing – If you invest money in New Zealand and have a certain amount of money on-hand, or you start a business in New Zealand, you can qualify for a resident visa.
  • Studying – If you take post-secondary education courses in New Zealand, you can qualify for a student visa.
  • Joining family – If you are joining a family member who is working in New Zealand or a family member who is a New Zealand citizen, you can qualify for a visa.

After you obtain a resident visa, you may begin the process of getting permanent residence. If you have been living in the country for more than 2 years, you may apply for a Permanent Resident Visa. This visa will allow you to work, study and live in New Zealand for as long as you like, with no travel restrictions, and includes your partner and all children under the age of 24.

Household Goods Taxes & Duties

If you are planning a long-term move to New Zealand, it’s a good idea to move your household goods to the country. New Zealand has a high cost of living, so selling your stuff and replacing it once you move is not always the best financial decision.

Luckily, it’s relatively easy to import your used personal effects and household goods into New Zealand. You won’t have to pay any customs duties or taxes as long as:

  • You have lived outside of New Zealand for at least 21 months
  • You have owned and used the items before you departed for New Zealand
  • The goods are for your own personal use, and are not intended as gifts, or for sale or exchange

You can even import inherited goods without taxes or duties, as long as you can show that they were willed to you or given to you as part of an estate.

Note, also, that New Zealand does have some restrictions on items like tobacco, prescription drugs and medicines, weapons & firearms, and certain items manufactured from wildlife. YOu can learn more about prohibited and restricted items here.

Required Documents For Household Goods

To import your household goods into New Zealand, you must have the following documents:

  • A complete inventory of your household goods, listing all items that you are shipping including a declaration of any restricted items
  • Unaccompanied personal baggage declaration form NZCS218
  • Your passport, along with a work or resident visa
  • A bill of lading/air waybill for your shipment
  • Copies of prescriptions (if bringing prescription medication)

In some cases, you may need additional forms and documents. We recommend consulting this page from the New Zealand Customs Service for more information.

Motor Vehicle Taxes & Duties

If you want to bring your car to New Zealand, you will be able to bring it into the country without any taxes or duties, as long as you meet a few criteria:

  • You must have resided in another country for a least 1 year
  • You must have purchased the vehicle and used it for at least one year before shipping it to New Zealand
  • You must confirm that the vehicle is yours, and you cannot sell it for a period of two years

You will need to have an in-person interview with a customs agent to fill out a Deed of Undertaking to confirm that you won’t sell your vehicle, and that it’s for personal use only.

Note, however, that New Zealand, as a former British colony, drives on the left side of the road, so their vehicles are right-hand drive (RHD). If you are importing a car from a country that drives on the right side of the road, you may need to pay to convert your left-hand drive (LHD) vehicle to am RHD vehicle. You can learn more here. There are a few exceptions to this, but they mostly apply to older vehicles and “special interest” vehicles.

This means that if you’re planning on importing a car from the United States, for example, it may not be a good idea to do so. It’s incredibly expensive and impractical to convert modern cars from LHD to RHD – so it’s likely a better idea to simply sell your car and buy a new one after you move.

Required Documents For Motor Vehicles

If you do choose to import your car to New Zealand, you will need a few different forms, paperwork and documents.

  • A copy of your passport
  • Your residence permit/visa
  • A certificate of title and registration
  • An import permit from the Ministry of External Affairs
  • A commercial invoice and/or maintenance receipts (to prove your length of ownership)
  • Insurance policy and/or log book showing length of ownership
  • Client Code Form and Supplier Code Form
  • Proof of payment for freight/insurance costs for vehicle

Once your vehicle has been imported, you will need to get in touch with the local NZ Transport Agency to register your vehicle, and you will need to insure it. For more information about import and registration process, click here to get more details from the NZ Transport Agency.

Know What To Expect When Establishing Residence & Moving To New Zealand

New Zealand is a great place to live – and there are many ways to establish residence. Whether you’re a retiree, looking to attend school in New Zealand, or are interested in starting a business or working at a New Zealand-based company, you have a lot of options.

So, as you consider your options for moving to New Zealand and starting your new life, keep the information in this article in mind. Follow the tips in this guide, and you’re sure to have an easier time as you move to New Zealand.