Things to watch out for when travelling to New Zealand in 2023
A trip of a lifetime to Glen Dene Hunting & Fishing in New Zealand is always an exciting experience to look forward to but before you get here some paperwork needs to be taken care of. We have put together some points to tick off well before getting on that plane to New Zealand to ensure you get here. These include travel visas, firearm licenses and cleaning your gear. It’s a lengthy process so grab a cuppa, put your feet up and have a read to be sure you have everything sorted for your trip to Glen Dene.
First things first, get a travel visa. This can be done via the link here or on their free mobile app. Use the form via the link to request an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) and pay for an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL).
The fastest way to request your NZeTA is by downloading the free app to your mobile phone. Using the app will take you less than 5 minutes to complete your request. You can use the app to scan your passport to instantly upload your details and scan your credit or debit card for ease of payment.
Cost and Processing Time
An NZeTA request costs NZD $17 on the free app, or NZD $23 if completed online. Allow 72 hours for your NZeTA request to be processed. Many requests will be processed more quickly.
You will need:
-a valid passport that you will use to travel to New Zealand
-a credit card or debit card (Visa or Mastercard)
-an email address
-a photo of your face, or a device that can take one.
The International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL).
If you are entering New Zealand you must also pay an IVL, which funds tourism infrastructure and helps protect our natural environment. You pay the IVL at the same time as you request your NZeTA. The IVL costs NZD $35.
If you want to use a firearm during your visit to New Zealand, you must obtain a visitor firearm license. This is URGENT as they recommend you apply a minimum of four months before your visit.
What the visitor firearms license allows
A visitor firearms license allows you to use firearms for hunting or competitions in New Zealand.
Visitor firearms license lifespan
A visitor firearms license lasts until the end date specified on the license. The end date of your license is your planned departure date from New Zealand.
Permits to import
New Zealand Police does not allow you to bring into the country without a permit:
- firearm parts
When you apply for your visitor firearms license, make sure you apply at the same time for the necessary permit to import.
Who can apply for a visitor’s firearm license?
To apply for a visitor firearms license, you must:
- be 16 years of age or older
- usually live outside New Zealand
- plan to stay in New Zealand for less than a year
Before you get a visitor firearms license, Te Tari Pūreke must find:
- you are a fit and proper person to have and use firearms in New Zealand
- you have a firearms license or an equivalent from your home country
- your home country has firearms safety and licensing practices similar to New Zealand’s
- you have secure storage for your firearms and ammunition in New Zealand
What you must advise when you apply for a visitor firearms license
In your license application, you must give details of:
- the purpose of your visit
- the firearm activities you will participate in.
Te Tari Pūreke assesses the firearms you want to bring into New Zealand. They do this to make sure you have the right permits and endorsements for your visitor firearms license, and that your firearms are approved for use in this country.
In your application, you must also give details of all firearm parts, including magazines. Any part of a firearm now requires a permit to be brought into New Zealand.
Visitor firearms license holders may bring into New Zealand only:
- standard hunting rifles and shotguns
- pistols, in limited instances, for pistol competitions.
You must select the types of firearm you intend to use in New Zealand from a list of standard firearms and give their details:
- action type
- ammunition type
- serial number
Secure storage and locations
You must have storage Te Tari Pūreke has found safe and secure for the firearms and ammunition you use in New Zealand, whether they are your own or borrowed.
In your visitor firearms license application, you must give details of the New Zealand firearms license holders who will store your firearms and ammunition. You will need to provide:
- their firearms license numbers
- their names, addresses, and email addresses
Please contact us directly for this information if you are hunting with Glen Dene.
Firearms safety test
As part of your application, you must take a multi-choice safety test based on the arms code.
Before you begin
Before you begin your online application, you will need to:
- be prepared to pay for your visitor firearms license fee
- study the New Zealand Police Arms Code – you are required to complete an online theory test as part of your application.
- have a recent photo of yourself that is a good likeness of you. See the photo requirements below for more information.
- provide a scanned copy of your passport ID page.
- provide a scanned copy of your firearms license or similar certification from your home country. See below for details.
- demonstrate you have made security arrangements for the safe storage of all firearms that you will be using
- provide the details of the New Zealand firearms license holder(s) (with a current license) that you will be storing firearms with while you are in New Zealand.
Firearms license from your home country
You must include a scanned copy of your firearms license or equivalent certification from your home country.
Some countries and other jurisdictions, like some states of the US, do not issue firearms licenses. If you are from a country or state that does not issue firearms licenses, you must have a document that shows:
- you can legally own a firearm in your home country
- you are trained in the safe use of firearms.
Include with your application a copy of a document like a:
- hunting permit
- concealed carry permit
- hunter education certificate.
These are the requirements for a passport-type photo. Most commercial outlets typically meet these requirements. A digital photo must be:
- a portrait photo, with a 4:3 aspect ratio
- in jpg or jpeg format
- between 25KB and 10MB
- between 900 and 4500 pixels wide, and 1200 and 6000 pixels high
Steps to applying online
STEP 1: Get yourself a RealMe account via this link – create a RealMe login. There is a 2-step verification process to secure the RealMe account login. First step- it will send a code to your email address. Move through the process then the next step will send a verification code as a text message to your cell phone. You do not need to upload a photo for RealMe or verify your address. You are done with this part of the process. Just insure you know your password and username. You can skip the pin code also. A RealMe account is used in the process for the permit.
STEP 2: Get copies of the following:
- Copy of Passport – this needs to be copy, not taking a photo of it with your phone. Use a copy machine and scan it into an email as a PDF. Your local library will do this for you if you do not have access to a scanner. Ensure it is the photo page and signature page.
- Passport Photo – you may be able to get the passport photo place to give you a digital. That is the best format.
- CUSTOMS 4457 Stamped by Customs. See here.
Once you have all your documents together as a PDF (do them as a single PDF for each item, not altogether in 1 document) then you can move to the next section.
STEP 3: From this point on you will log in on this link. You will see the RealMe login link once you access this file. Use browsers Chrome or Safari.
Verification Step with NZ Police -Once you access the link above, it will show you a place to log in. Enter your username & password then the first thing to pop up will be an information page to complete. Once again it will send a verification code (6-digit number) to your email. The code comes from Firearms Licensing (Firearms@police.govt.nz), add the code to continue.
Adding Dates of Travel – Make sure you enter the EXACT dates, if you enter the wrong dates you will have to re-apply with new dates.
Theory Test – The theory test is the next step, and you can take it as many times as you like.
Application Form – Once you get the Theory Test 100% correct, you can then proceed to the Application Form. You can save an incomplete application and log in again to complete it later.
Documents – Upload your digital photo and scanned copies of your supporting documents:
- passport-style photo
- passport identity page
- firearms licence from your home country
Payment – Pay the application fee by credit card.
Submit your application at least 4 months before you expect to arrive in New Zealand.
Once your application for a visitor firearms licence has been approved, you can only make minor changes to your arrival date. If you change either of these dates you will have to re-apply for your visitor firearms licence, including paying another application fee.
Customs Form 4457
You will need to complete a US Customs Form 4457, but you can apply for the license without it initially. Attached here.
NOTE: When doing your firearm license, please be sure to list EACH detachable magazine, to include the one in the rifle as a separate component. Don’t forget to list your ammunition as a “firearm component.”
If your application is approved, you will receive an email advising you of your approved application and the conditions that apply.
If your application is refused, you will be notified why.
Travelling with firearms or ammunition (Air New Zealand)
Air New Zealand welcomes you to fly when you have firearms and ammunition, as long as you follow their requirements.
To carry a firearm and/or ammunition, you must hold either:
- A current Firearms/Visitor Firearms Licence
- A valid Import Permit
- A Law Enforcement ID
Copies of documents will not be accepted.
You must advise Air New Zealand before you fly if you plan to carry a firearm. This can be done via the link here.
How to pack your firearm for air travel:
You must ensure your firearm is:
- Packed in a locked, hard case
- Unloaded and any fitted magazines emptied
- Rendered inoperable e.g. bolt removed, trigger guard(s)/trigger lock(s) fitted etc
- Not packed with any ammunition
- Not packed with the bolt (if applicable)
- Is declared to a Customer Service Agent when you check-in
Firearms (including replicas and decommissioned weapons) must be in your check in luggage not carry on.
How to tell your airline about your firearm when checking in:
If you’re using the self-help check-in kiosk, tick yes when you’re asked if you’re carrying a dangerous item. One of the ground crew will help. Otherwise, let the airline know when you check-in your bag.
Does it cost extra to travel with a firearms case?
Your firearms case counts as a checked-in bag. You may need to purchase a prepaid extra bag.
Where can you pack your firearm’s bolt once removed?
You can pack the bolt in a separate checked-in bag or in the same checked-in bag as your ammunition.
You can’t pack the bolt in your firearm case.
Can more than one firearm be packed in the same case?
Yes. A checked-in item can weigh up to 23kg.
What ammunition can you carry?
- Cartridges with an inert projectile
- Cartridges, small arms, blank
Blackpowder, percussion caps and primers (unless contained in the ammunition) are not permitted.
How do you pack ammunition for air travel?
You must ensure your ammunition:
- Is in a container that separates each round (securely packed) e.g. not touching each other
- Does not weight more than 5kg, this includes the weight of the container
- Is in your checked bags
- Is not packed in the same case as your firearm
- Is declared to a Customer Service Agent when you check-in
You are approved to carry ammunition provided you have complied with the above.
How do you securely pack ammunition for a flight?
Ammunition must be in a container that separates each round (not touching) e.g. manufacturers packaging, speciality container etc.
Can you pack ammunition in your main checked in bag?
Yes. Provided it is securely packed (see above). Remember to tell your airline about the ammunition when you check in.
You cannot pack your ammunition in the same bag as your firearm.
Can you use your travel companions 5kg allowance for ammunition?
No. Ammunition is limited to 5kg (including the weight of the container) per licenced person e.g. firearms licence holder, Import permit holder.
Can you pack ammunition in your locked firearm case?
No. You must pack ammunition and firearms separately. This is a precautionary measure in case anyone gains access to your firearm.
Can you carry ammunition in a firearm’s magazine?
Yes. As long as the ammunition is separated in the magazine.
If you are flying internationally and have a domestic transfer, can the airline check your bag with ammunition in all the way to your destination?
No. You need to collect your luggage at your domestic connection and check it again for your international flight.
For example, on a Queenstown to Auckland to Los Angeles flight, you would have to collect your luggage when you arrive at the Auckland Airport and then re-check at the Auckland International Terminal.
Information for travelling internationally with firearms or ammunition
Carrying firearms or ammunition across borders takes care and planning:
- Always check with the New Zealand Police before carrying your firearm or ammunition into or out of New Zealand . You may require special permits e.g. Import, Export etc.
- Check for permit requirements, restrictions etc., for any country you are traveling to or through.
- Carry all your relevant permits, documents etc., and be prepared to show them when asked.
Switching to another airline’s aircraft:
- Be sure to declare the firearm and ammunition to the new airline.
- Air New Zealand cannot transfer any bag containing a firearm or ammunition to another airline.
- If you’re switching to a non-Air New Zealand aircraft, you will need to clear customs, collect your bags and check them in with the new airline.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided above is specific to Air New Zealand. If travelling internationally or on a different airline, check their firearms and ammunition requirements. They may have stricter rules than Air New Zealand, and failure to comply could incur severe penalties.
Arrival in New Zealand
When you arrive in New Zealand, New Zealand Police issue you:
- your visitor firearms licence
- your permit, if you have one, to import firearms
Your visitor firearms licence starts and ends on the dates specified on the licence. These dates are your New Zealand arrival and departure dates.
If you arrive by air go to the NZ Police station or counter at the airport.
New Zealand Police checks:
- your passport
- your firearms licence from your home country
- the firearms you applied to bring into New Zealand
You can bring only the firearms, firearm parts, and ammunition your permit specifies. These are also specified in the email with the approval of your firearms licence application.
You must declare all firearms, firearm parts, and ammunition to New Zealand Customs.
Departure from New Zealand
Taking your firearms out of New Zealand is a condition of your visitor firearms licence.
New Zealand Police check when you depart from New Zealand you take the firearms you brought into the country.
If you depart by air go to the NZ Police station or counter at the airport.
To export your firearms from New Zealand, you must have an export permit or, if you are exempt from an export permit, a notification of export.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade issues permits to export firearms.
Lastly, CLEAN EVERYTHING!
They are extremely strict about any dirt being brought into New Zealand. They will inspect your kit. Boots – clean the soles completely. Walking sticks. Bipod feet. Everything. We are on an island and want to keep out anything that could cause problems for our agricultural economy!
Aside from all that admin, be prepared for an excellent experience. New Zealand is a stunning place, but it’s our people that set us apart from anywhere else in the world!
Please get in touch with us if you need any assistance with your application.
We look forward to having you hunt with us soon.
All the best,
The Team at Glen Dene Hunting & Fishing