Steps to importing vehicles, machinery, or parts

If you're importing vehicles, machinery, or parts (including tyres) you need to make sure they're clean and meet other requirements. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

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Follow the steps

Step 1
What you need to know

An overview of importing vehicles, machinery, and equipment from start to finish.


From 1 September 2018 you must meet requirements under the new import health standard for vehicles, machinery, and parts relating to the brown marmorated stink bug risk season.

From 1 December 2018 you must certify used machinery as cleaned, and heat treat and certify used wire cables. 

This import process is for:

  • new and used cars, and other vehicles
  • new and used tyres
  • rural and building machinery
  • parts
  • aircraft arriving as cargo
  • seacraft arriving as cargo.

Importing related products

Processes for importing products related to vehicles, machinery, and parts are elsewhere on the website. Follow these steps if imported goods are:

Cleaning is essential

All vehicles, machinery, and parts imported into New Zealand must be clean – internally and externally.

Summary of main requirements

To import vehicles, machinery, and parts you must:

  • comply with the requirements of the Import Health Standard for Vehicles, Machinery and Parts (issued 22 July 2019)
  • meet other commercial or government agency requirements, like those of the New Zealand Customs Service
  • clean risk goods to help ensure they are free of pests and contaminants like seeds, soil, and water. All used machinery must be cleaned and from 1 December 2018 certified as being cleaned. It's also recommended you use an insecticide to prevent re-infestation
  • be aware of compulsory treatment requirements for vehicles and machinery from Japan and Schedule 3 countries specified in the import health standard (IHS).
  • provide a declaration with details about your consignment
  • comply with IHSs for sea containers and wood packaging, if applicable
  • arrange to have vehicles and machinery inspected when they arrive.

More details about these requirements are in Step 2: What you need to do. 

Step 2
What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

Check the import health standard (IHS) requirements

MPI issues import health standards for items that might bring pests and diseases to New Zealand and are considered biosecurity risks. An IHS details the requirements you must meet when importing these risk goods. Requirements include what you need to do in the exporting country before shipping, during transit, and on arrival before your items can be released to you in New Zealand.

Read the IHS and make sure you can meet all the requirements. The guidance document will help you understand what you have to do.

Download the IHS for vehicles, machinery, and parts [PDF, 783 KB]

Download the guidance document to the IHS [PDF, 2.4 MB]

Consider using a Customs broker 

A Customs broker will help you get import entry clearance. Some services provided by the New Zealand Customs Service can only be accessed by registered Customs brokers.

Many freight and transport companies employ their own brokers but if you need help finding one, contact the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation.

Meet other agencies' requirements

You'll need to check with other government agencies and meet any of their requirements.

Clean your item before it's shipped

Clean your vehicle or machinery before you ship it to New Zealand. This will reduce the risk of it carrying unwanted contaminants and pests, which can cause delays in getting your consignment cleared. Clean items to make sure they are free from contaminants and biosecurity-risk organisms.

Used vehicles and machinery must:

  • be disassembled and cleaned inside and out
  • be washed and vacuumed
  • have all rubbish removed
  • be certified as being clean on an MPI-approved cleaning certificate (from 1 December 2018).

A common problem with imported tyres is water sitting inside the tyre. Make sure tyres are drained of any water before they are shipped.

For detailed instruction for cleaning your vehicle ready for importation to New Zealand:

Download the Guidance for cleaning used vehicles and machinery [PDF, 1.9 MB]

Consider spraying the item

Spraying your item with insecticide is not compulsory but is recommended for added security. This treatment will reduce the chances of your consignment being delayed when it arrives in New Zealand. The IHS guidance document has more information about treatment options.

Register to use Trade Single Window

Trade Single Window is a joint initiative of the New Zealand Customs Service and MPI that lets businesses exchange information securely with government agencies online. You need to register to use it.

Provide a declaration

You need to make a declaration about the item you're importing. Submit this declaration through the Trade Single Window. You should complete the declaration at least several days before the item is due to arrive in New Zealand.

Your declaration needs to have:

  • product identification numbers – for example, vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • make and model (applies only to whole vehicles and units of machinery)
  • port of origin
  • shipment details, including the container number (if applicable) and bill of lading
  • the number and type of tyres (if applicable)
  • names of the seller and buyer, and the buyer's full address.

Are you using sea containers?

Sea containers are biosecurity risk items and must be taken to a transitional facility for inspection and unpacking before the contents are released to you. This will be arranged by your Customs broker.

Before sending your sea container to New Zealand, you or your Customs broker need to apply for a Biosecurity Authority Clearance Certificate (BACC).

Apply for a BACC [PDF, 303 KB]

Fax the completed form to MPI Cargo Risk Profiling at +64 9 909 8584.

Get a signed container quarantine declaration 

Your container must be accompanied by a quarantine declaration. The declaration should be completed and signed by a manager of the packing or exporting facility in the country the goods are shipped from.

Have used vehicles and machinery inspected

MPI inspectors may inspect all used vehicles and machinery when they arrive in New Zealand.

The place of inspection depends on the method of shipping. Items that are not imported in a sea container are inspected at the place of arrival – airport or port. Items arriving in air containers and sea containers are usually inspected at a transitional facility or at a Place of First Arrival.

The biosecurity inspector will check all internal and external surfaces and spaces for contaminants such as insects, reptiles, plant material, snails, or soil.

Other government agencies may also want to inspect your vehicle – for example, the New Zealand Transport Agency or the New Zealand Customs Service.

Dealing with contamination

Should contaminants be found, the vehicle, machinery, or tyres may be cleaned by MPI or dealt with in an MPI-approved facility.

If contamination or live organisms are found in or on your item you will be given the option to:

  • treat the contamination (for example, by fumigation or heat treatment)
  • isolate the item until the organism is identified and then arrange treatment if needed
  • ship the product to another destination
  • destroy the product [PDF, 558 KB]

Find an MPI approved treatment provider

Are you using wood packaging?

If you're using wood packaging for your item, you need to comply with the requirements for wood packaging.

Step 3
Getting MPI clearance for your consignment

How you know you've met MPI requirements.

A biosecurity clearance will be issued when your consignment has been inspected and meets all the requirements of the IHS.

When to alert MPI

If you notice any biosecurity contamination during or following the importation of your product, contact MPI immediately.

Who to contact

If you have a question about importing vehicles, machinery, and parts, email

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