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What to bring with you

moving to New Zealand

There are some important things you need to have organised before you move to New Zealand.

Things you need to pack

Moving to another country is complex. There is so much to think about because you are literally bringing everything with you.

It is very important that when you move to New Zealand you bring the following documents. All of your documents should be originals, not copies. If they are not in English, bring a certified translation with you.

  • Your birth certificate
  • Your marriage certificate
  • Your academic qualifications
  • References from previous employers
  • Your CV (Curriculum Vitae/ Resume)
  • Credit references
  • An international driver’s licence or permit

The weather here changes a lot, so you need to pack a range of clothes including raincoats and warm clothing. Remember too that the seasons are the opposite of what they are in the northern hemisphere.

Check with New Zealand Customs Service about what you can and cannot bring in your bags. New Zealand has very strict rules about things like food. Find out more at the Biosecurity website.

Important: New Zealand has very strict restrictions on the importation of medication that contains pseudoephedrine. This includes many over-the counter medications such as cold and flu tablets. If you bring in more than one month's personal supply you could be prosecuted for illegal importation. See the Customs website for more information.

If you need to bring medication with you that contains narcotics, bring a doctor's certificate saying the medication is necessary and is being taken under medical instruction.

For more information about what you can bring into the country visit the Customs website.

Things to do before you leave

  1. Make sure you have some accommodation organised for when you first get here. Some people stay with family or friends for those first few days. Others organise somewhere to stay, so that they can go straight there when they arrive.
  2. If you know where you’re going to be living and you’re expecting mail to go to that place, set up a New Zealand post box or a private bag for your mail. You can do this online at New Zealand Post's website. Many organisations, including banks, will accept a post box or private bag as your official address until you find somewhere to live.
  3. Check whether you can use your qualifications in New Zealand. You can do this at or if you are registered with a trade or professional industry board, look under Registration Authorities at or in the New Zealand Your Future book.
  4. Open a bank account. Your current bank should be able to set you up with a bank account in New Zealand before you leave, so that you can make credit card and cash withdrawals when you arrive. It is a good idea though to being some cash in smaller notes - $5, $10 and $20 notes – with you because travellers’ cheques may not be accepted for small purchases.
    You may also be able to open a bank account online. There is a list of New Zealand-registered banks at the Reserve bank website.
  5. Try and organise work before you come here. You can find out more about how to go about that in our Working in New Zealand section
  6. If you are coming to a job in New Zealand, or you’re looking to set up a business here, make sure you get a tax number for yourself and for anyone else in your family who is looking to work. Find out more at the Inland Revenue website
  7. If you’re planning to bring a domestic pet with you, then you need to start planning for this well in advance of leaving. There’s more information about this at MAF Biosecurity

Looking for work

The Working in New Zealand section of this website gives information about finding work and starting a business in New Zealand

First days here

We recommend that you contact your nearest Settlement Support NZ office. There is also plenty of good information in the Living Guide about what to do when you first arrive in New Zealand.


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Useful Links

  • New Kiwis – an online service connecting potential employers with new migrants in New Zealand.
  • Help in your language– if you’re not comfortable speaking English, settlement information is available in other languages. CAB Language Link is free, independent and confidential. Phone 0800 788 877. You can also contact this service through SSNZ.
  • Other Settlement services

Settlement Curve