Arriving in New Zealand
After the touchdown we recommend to stay seated until people in front of you are actually moving forward.
The first thing you need to fill in is the passenger arrival card. You need to tell where you are coming from, what flight you took and which items you need to declare. You need to declare all food (incl. chocolate) and outdoor equipment. It is always safer to declare something and find out later that you don’t have it.
Failure to declare a risk item such as fruits will incur an immediate fine of $400.
Tips on how to complete the passenger arrival card
Here are the answers to the most common questions asked about the Passenger Arrival Card:
- Bring a pen with you!
- In Section 1 for “occupation or job” put unemployed, if you do not have a job.
- In Section 1 for “full contact or residential address” put your hostel address if you know it. If not, leave it blank.
- Do not answer section 2a, if you are not from New Zealand.
- In section 2b tick the “vacation/holiday” option if you are doing a working holiday or backpacking in New Zealand.
- One of the most important parts of the card is declaration sections 5 and 6. If you don’t declare something that you should have declared, you will face a heavy fine. If in doubt, declare it!
- Keep this card with your passport, as you will need to hand the card in at Customs.
If you are a citizen of New Zeland, Australia, UK or USA you can use SmartGate, which is an electronic immigration and passport control system.
All other travellers must queue and show their passport to the immigration officer and answer a few random questions
Some of the questions you might be asked are:
- Do you have anything to declare?
You will have to declare what you have stated on your Passenger Arrival Card. For example, if you have brought sports equipment, state that to the Immigration officer.
- 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 your outwards 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 hostel 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 New Zealand before?
- Do you have any food with you?
By this point you shouldn’t have any food with you. There will be bins to dispose of any food.
- How much cash do you have on you today?
If you have NZ$10000+ or the foreign equivalent, then you’ll have to go through a Border Cash Report.
- Do you have anything to declare?
Your final stop is Customs.
Here you need to hand in you passenger arrival card and the customs officer will ask you a few questions regarding what items you have in your bag. All your bags are then going to through an x-ray screen. If this screen find items you have not declared earlier you will face a heavy fine.
Then pick up you bag and make your way to the exit. Don’t be scared. On the way out a dog might come very close to you to find out if you carry hidden illegal drugs or explosives.
Once you are out of the airport you can make your way to the city center. In our Location section you will find out about the different ways to reach the city center.