Moving to a new country brings with it both challenges and opportunities. Many aspects of life in your new home will be different from what you are accustomed to.

In your excitement and anticipation of creating a new life for yourself or your family in New Zealand you can easily overlook some important aspects that need to be taken care of before you depart.

Bank Accounts and Credit Cards
Your present bank should be able to help you set up a bank account in New Zealand before you leave, so that you can make credit card and other withdrawals when you arrive.

Documents, Credit References and Driver Licenses
Your first few days in New Zealand are more likely to be easy and problem-free if you arrive with the following documents:

  • birth certificates
  • marriage certificates
  • academic qualifications
  • employment references
  • curriculum vitae
  • credit references
  • all international driver license or permit

All documents should be originals (not copies). If documents are not in English they should be accompanied by certified translation.

The weather is changeable, so bring a range of clothes and do not forget to include a raincoat! Remember, seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere.

Money Requirements on Arrival
If possible, arrive with some NZ currency in mixed denominations ($5, $10 and $20 notes; $50 and $100 notes are unusual), as traveler’s cheques may not be accepted for smaller purchases.

If you are expecting mail to arrive for you in New Zealand but you do not have a permanent address sorted, Private Box is a great service that allows you to set-up a New Zealand address before you leave, so that when you arrive in New Zealand you can have your mail forwarded to you, and if you don’t have an address to forward to, you can read it online!

New Zealand has a high rate of Internet use, with a huge percentage of households having access to the Internet. Internet cafes and other Internet services are also common.

Bringing your Belongings
Your household or other related effects (excluding motor vehicles, boats and aircraft) will be admitted free of duty and exempt GST for a reasonable time after you arrive, provided you can meet the following requirements:

  • You are coming to New Zealand with the intention and legal authority to take up permanent residence; and
  • You have lived outside New Zealand for the whole of the 21 months before the date of your arrival in New Zealand; and
  • You have owned and used the goods before the date of your departure for New Zealand; and
  • The goods are for your own personal use and not intended for any other person for gift, sale or exchange
  • Goods of a commercial nature such as factory plant and office equipment do not qualify as household effects.

Televisions, Computers and other Electrical Goods
Most people do not bring items such as televisions, telephones, computers and other electrical goods, since most foreign electrical appliances do not work here. New Zealand’s power system is 240 volts and 50 cycles per second, and plugs have two or three narrow pins.

You may need to plan six months ahead if you wish to bring your domestic pets into New Zealand.