Found across Asia and Africa, pangolins are the world’s most trafficked mammal
Image: Gregg Yan | Creative Commons

Introduction

To import or export a CITES item to or from New Zealand, you’ll likely need a CITES permit or certificate.

Highlights

Read the information below to find out about CITES permit requirements and to download application forms for New Zealand issued permits.

Find out which CITES rules apply

Animal and plant species covered by CITES are listed in three appendices, according to the degree of protection they need. The appendix listing and the age of your item will determine the type of permit or certificate you need.

Both countries you plan to move your item between may have local regulations to follow such as biosecurity requirements and local wildlife laws. We recommend contacting the overseas CITES authority to make sure you meet their rules.

What you need to know before applying for a permit

  • The name of the animal or plant species in your item.
  • What appendix the CITES species is covered by­­.
  • Approximately how old your item is.

Find out if your species is listed under CITES and if so, under which appendix by searching the Species+ database. Use the scientific name of the species (e.g. Ursus americanus for American black bear) to ensure you find the right information.

Search the CITES database Species +.

If you are still unsure if the animal or plant species in your item is CITES listed email us: cites@doc.govt.nz


Exporting from New Zealand

You can confirm the export permit requirements for your item against the CITES Appendix listing in the table below.

In order to export a CITES item to an overseas country you need to contact their CITES Authority to understand their import requirements first. Some countries may have stricter measures or additional local laws.

If your item contains a CITES species that is older than the date it was first added to the Convention, you may only need a Pre-Convention certificate. 

CITES permit requirements for exporting from New Zealand
CITES listing To export from New Zealand
Appendix I
  • Check CITES requirements with the destination country first
  • Apply for an import permit from country of destination and an export/re-export permit from DOC, or
  • a Pre-Convention certificate from DOC (criteria apply)
Appendix II
  • Check CITES requirements with the destination country first
  • Apply for documents the overseas country requires:
    • An export/re-export permit from DOC or
    • A Pre-Convention certificate from DOC (criteria apply)
    • and if required an import permit from the destination country
Appendix III
  • Check CITES requirements with the destination country first
  • If required, apply for a CITES export permit or Certificate of Origin from DOC

Find out if you need additional DOC approvals

 If your item includes:

  • any part of a bird, reptile, amphibian, or bat you’ll need permission to export it under the Wildlife Act. Contact the Wildlife Act Team, phone +64 27 306 5160 or email permissionshamilton@doc.govt.nz 
  • any part from a marine mammal such as dolphins, seals or whales, you may need a marine mammals permit.

Overseas biosecurity

  • The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) makes sure items sent abroad also meet the destination country’s biosecurity and other requirements. Find out more on MPI’s website

Once you’ve received your permit

Once you have your permit(s), make sure that you meet any special conditions listed and are aware of any additional pages or related documents that must be presented with your permit.

  • You must have the permit endorsed by the New Zealand Customs Service on export. Instructions on how to do this will be enclosed with your permit. Non-endorsed permits may not be accepted by destination countries.
  • The original permit should accompany your items. Do not try to use copies of permits as these will not be accepted. 
  • Your permit will need to be made available to the destination country’s border agency when your item arrives.

Application forms for exports requiring DOC issued permits


Importing into New Zealand

You can confirm the import permit requirements for your item against the CITES Appendix listing in the table below.

In most cases to import a CITES item into New Zealand you will only need a permit issued by the exporting country’s CITES Authority. The exception is any Appendix I item that is made after the species was added to the Convention.

To apply for an overseas CITES permit contact the relevant overseas CITES Authority. Also check for any additional local laws and regulations that may be required.

If your item containing CITES species is older than the date it was first added to the Convention you may only need a Pre-Convention certificate. Contact us to learn more.

CITES permit requirements for importing into New Zealand
CITES listing To import into New Zealand
Appendix I
  • Apply for an import permit from DOC, and an export/re-export permit from country of export, or
    A Pre-Convention certificate from the country of export (criteria apply)
Appendix II
  • Apply for an export/re-export permit from country of export, or
    A Pre-Convention certificate from the country of export (criteria apply)
Appendix III
  • For commercial purposes only - apply for an export permit or Certificate of Origin from country of export
    No DOC CITES permits are required if the importation is for personal purposes only.

Find out if you need additional DOC approvals

If your item includes:

  • any part of a New Zealand native or endemic species you may need additional permission under New Zealand’s Wildlife Act. Contact the Wildlife Act Team, phone +64 27 306 5160 or email permissionshamilton@doc.govt.nz
  • any part from a marine mammal such as dolphins, seals or whales, you may need a marine mammals permit.

New Zealand Biosecurity

  • New Zealand has strict controls on items arriving into the country. This is to protect our environment and health. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) are responsible for making sure they meet these requirements. Find out more on MPI’s website

Once you’ve received your permit

Once you have your permit(s), make sure that you meet any special conditions listed and are aware of any additional pages or related documents that must be presented with your permit.

  • The original permit should accompany your items. Do not try to use copies of permits, as these will not be accepted. 
  • Make sure the export country’s border officials endorse the CITES permit prior to departure unless specifically not required to so by the issuing authority. CITES permits are generally not valid unless endorsed.

Note: New Zealand issued import permits for Appendix I items do not require border agency endorsement.

Application forms for Appendix I imports requiring a DOC issued import permit 

Items without valid CITES permits will be seized

Your CITES permits must be presented to New Zealand border staff at, or before, the time your item arrives into New Zealand.

Imported CITES items that don’t have an appropriate or valid permit presented on time will be seized and forfeited.

DOC may also take enforcement action under the Trade in Endangered Species Act 1989. This may result in an infringement fine or prosecution through the courts. 


DOC CITES application forms

There are three New Zealand CITES permit applications forms to choose from. These are by shipment type and can be used for either import, export, re-export or pre-convention applications. Choose the form appropriate to your circumstances.

  1. Personal or household items

If your item is a personal effect or a household item and not a live animal

Download a personal or household Items application form (PDF, 237K)

  1. Commercial and scientific items

If your item is for:

  • commercial trade (including animal parts or live plants)
  • scientific/research specimen lots
  • zoo trade of non-live animal parts.

Download a commercial and/or scientific items application form (PDF, 256K)

  1. Live Animals

If your item is a live animal (personal, zoological or commercial purposes).

Download a live animal application form (PDF, 245K)

Pay the fee and include evidence with your application

Pay your fee before sending us your application and include evidence of your payment with the application. Use the table below to find out how much you need to pay.

Permit fees
Permit Fee
Regular import/export permit $80
Permit authorising export of live parrots bred in captivity $600

Make your payment by electronic transfer and in the reference field state: CITES Permit_(your surname).

Pay your fee to the bank account below:

Account name: Department of Conservation
Bank account: 03 00 49 0002808 00.

How to submit your application

Send in your application form and supporting documents via email to: cites@doc.govt.nz .

Allow up to 20 working days for a permit application to be processed.

You can also send your application by post if needed. Email the above address for the relevant mailing address.

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