Customs declarations & consignment notes

If you’re sending documents or parcels internationally, you need to complete Customs documentation.

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Items travelling across international borders are subject to international standards of Customs clearance. In each country, the Customs department - often jointly with the appropriate agricultural/quarantine authority - is responsible for monitoring international borders and implementing its country's regulations.

The purpose of these regulations is to stop prohibited items from entering the country and to collect taxes on other items. While present in all nations, Customs regulations and requirements vary from country to country.

Country specific requirements

Most overseas countries have restrictions and prohibitions on the contents of mail. It is your responsibility to ensure that your item is not prohibited or restricted and you should check with the Customs and/or agricultural/quarantine authority of the country concerned. Information about the Customs requirements for specific countries can be obtained by:

  • contacting the local Consulate or Embassy representatives, or
  • visiting the New Zealand Customs websiteOpens in a new window. to check for any destination country restrictions.

Does my item need Customs documentation?

The only items that do not need Customs documentation are letters with no declarable value sent by one of our international postal services. For the definition of a letter, please refer to the information below.

All other items sent internationally require some form of Customs documentation. This means that:

  • all items, regardless of type, that are sent by courier via either International Express Courier or International Courier require Customs documentation.
  • all items, excluding aerogrammes, postcards, and letters sent by post using International Air require Customs documentation.

To be defined as a letter, items must meet all of the following criteria:

  • maximum weight of 200g
  • maximum thickness of 10mm
  • maximum height x length of 130mm x 235mm for medium letters, 165mm x 235mm for large letters, 230mm x 325mm for extra large letters or 260mm x 385mm for oversize letters.

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What documentation do I need?

The type of Customs documentation and the detail required depends on what international service you choose, what you are sending and the weight and value of your item.

International Air parcels

Download the diagram for International Air parcels (PDF - 740KB)

Maximum size restrictions

  • Parcel 2kg or less: maximum length + height + thickness = 900mm; maximum length of any side = 600mm. If your parcel is under 2kg but exceeds the maximum dimensions for parcels under 2kg, use the over 2kg parcel instructions.
  • Roll or tube: maximum length + (diameter x 2) = 1040mm; maximum length of any side = 900mm.

Maximum size restrictions

  • Parcel over 2kg: maximum length + girth = 2m, maximum length of any side = 1.05m.

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International Air parcels weighing up to two kilograms*

A green customs declaration (OS008a) must be completed and attached to each parcel.

To complete this declaration, list each item and its commercial value, and then sign the form.

* If your parcel is under 2kg in weight, but valued at more than NZ$250, it must be sent as if it is a parcel over 2kg.

International Air parcels weighing over two kilograms or with contents valued over NZ$250

A red consignment note (OS007) or a white consignment note (CN300) must be completed and attached to each parcel.

If your item is part of a commercial transaction, you need to complete an Export Invoice (NCPI025) or attach a copy of the commercial invoice.

If your parcel is valued over NZ$1,000, you also need to complete an Export Entry for New Zealand Customs purposes.

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International Courier documents and parcels

International Economy Courier documents and parcels diagram.

An orange consignment note (IEC001) or white consignment note (CN300) must be completed and attached to each item.

If your item is part of a commercial transaction, you need to complete an Export Invoice (NCPI025) or attach a copy of the commercial invoice.

If your item is valued over NZ$1,000 you also need to complete an Export Entry for New Zealand Customs purposes.

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International Express Courier documents and parcels

International Express Courier documents and parcels diagram.

A black consignment note (CN001) or white consignment note (CN300) must be completed and attached to each item. For items being sent to the USA, Canada, Central or South America, the sender's address cannot be a PO Box address.

You also need to complete an Export Invoice (NCPI025) or attach a copy of the commercial invoice.

If your item is valued over NZ$1,000 you will also be required to complete an Export Entry for New Zealand Customs purposes.

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Export Invoice (NCPI025)

An Export Invoice or a copy of the commercial invoice is required if your items are part of a commercial transaction.

An Export Invoice allows overseas Customs officials to determine if your item can enter the destination country, whether it is subject to regulatory fees or duties and, if applicable, the value of those fees.

All Customs duties, sales taxes and other regulatory charges are payable by the receiver on delivery.

When completing an Export Invoice you will need to include:

  • a full description of the contents of your package
  • the quantity of items in your package
  • the total value of your package
  • the country of origin of all items in your package
  • the reason for export of your item
  • the harmonised tariff code(s)Opens in a new window. of the contents (if known).

If the item is being sent for commercial purposes, the Export Invoice should be printed on company letterhead.

You then need to sign and date the declaration.

Export Invoice (NCPI025)

Download this form as

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Export Entry

An export entry is a formal declaration made to New Zealand Customs about what goods are being exported. The declaration is made under the Customs and Excise Act 1996 and in this context, the term “entry” means making an entry into the New Zealand Customs database, not entry of goods into a country.

Except in a few specific cases, all items valued at NZ$1,000 or more sent from New Zealand to an international address must have an export entry. The New Zealand Customs definition of the value of goods is the amount that the goods are being sold for, excluding international postage.

The New Zealand Customs Service screens all items to identify any security risk. In addition, the information is used to determine the flow of exports for balance of trade statistics, and tracking the export of items for GST purposes.

Exemptions from lodging an export entry

  • Bona fide gifts to persons resident outside New Zealand.
  • Trade samples supplied free of charge to persons resident outside New Zealand.
  • Passengers’ baggage and effects (except goods sold from a licensed export warehouse or under drawback). This exemption does not apply to motor vehicles or boats.
  • Goods exported by diplomatic missions.
  • Films and video tapes exported for overseas use and returned to New Zealand.
  • Ships and aircraft leaving New Zealand under their own power other than those departing for sale overseas.
  • Goods sent by parcel post for repair and return.
  • Commercial documents and newspapers.
  • Goods of a type normally used for commercial or business purposes which are carried by a passenger leaving New Zealand and intended to be returned to New Zealand, such as laptop computers (including palmtops and notebooks) and peripheral equipment (such as portable printers), portable typewriters, mobile phones and video and other photographic equipment.
  • Shipments having a Free on Board (FOB) value not exceeding $1,000 and not being goods sold from a licensed export warehouse or under drawback.

For more information visit the New Zealand Customs websiteOpens in a new window. .

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Completing an export entry form

There are three options available to you:

  1. A New Zealand Post Customs Broker can complete the export entry on your behalf. If you would like us to do this, phone 0800 SEND IT (0800 736 348) – we will require a copy of the invoice (for goods that are being sent). We offer assistance with the preparation of the export entry for first-time exporters. This will help if you are unfamiliar with the related rules, determining tariff classification, customs value, or whether exemptions/permit requirements exist for goods you wish to export. Fees may apply.
  2. Complete the export entry yourself. To do this, you must register with the New Zealand Customs Service and you must have access to the internet. For more information phone New Zealand Customs on 0800 4CUSTOMS (0800 428 786) or visit the New Zealand Customs websiteOpens in a new window. .
  3. You can contact an independent Customs Broker to complete the export entry on your behalf.

Export entry completion costs

If sending by International Express Courier, New Zealand Post can complete the export entry for you at no additional charge.

If sending by International Courier, International Air, or freight, fees will apply. Contact our Customs broking team on 0800 SEND IT (0800 736 348) or email us at customs@nzpost.co.nz for more information.

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Information required

You will need to provide the following information:

  • a full description of the contents of the package you are sending
  • a commercial invoice
  • a Customs Client Code – this is a unique number which identifies the exporter and is required to be shown on export entries. Client codes are only issued by the New Zealand Customs Service to New Zealand entities (such as registered New Zealand companies). If you do not have a Customs Client Code, we can help you with this. Contact our Customs broking team on 0800 SEND IT (0800 736 348).

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Export entry number

Write the export entry number in the space provided on the consignment note (the red OS007, the orange IEC001, the white CN300 available only in PostShops or the black CN001).

If your item requires an export entry and you do not have one, your item may be delayed while we complete the export entry for you. If you have provided all the information we need to complete the export entry, then it is likely that there will not be a noticeable delay in the delivery of your parcel. If we have to contact you for further information, or to arrange payment, then the delay will depend on how long it takes to get the information we require.

If you have a New Zealand Post Account, we will automatically charge your account. If you do not have an account, we will contact you for payment before we complete the export entry. If you wish to arrange payment in advance, phone 0800 SEND IT (0800 736 348).

Frequently asked questions

Next steps

Visit your nearest PostShop or contact our National Contact Centre.