Import Policy


To protect New Zealand and its environment, certain items are not allowed to be brought into the country, have restrictions for entry, or must be declared if they are deemed to present a biosecurity risk. These include food, plants, animal products and outdoor recreational equipment. You may risk a fine if you fail to comply.

All seeds being brought into New Zealand are subject to in-country examination and biosecurity inspection. Companies/Exhibitors who want to bring seed samples to the Asian Seed Congress 2023 (ASC 2023) need to meet New Zealand’s biosecurity requirements. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) specifies what these requirements are.

For more information on what items to declare visit the Ministry for Primary Industries, please visit


For larger seed consignments it is recommended you use a customs broker or freight forwarder. For information on customs brokers, refer to the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation website.

Visit the NZ Customs website to find out more about the import entry process.

  • Check whether your seed species can be imported into New Zealand. Refer to MPI’s APSA import summary on how to do this. A step by step guide on importing seeds can be found on MPI’s website here.
  • Complete the process in your OWN COUNTRY to obtain the required certification, which could include an import permit, phytosanitary certificate, any treatment requirements1 or non-GMO certification.
  • Check with New Zealand Customs Service whether:
    • you can import your product without restriction.
    • your product will be subject to duties or tariffs.
    Visit the NZ Customs website to find out more about the import entry process.
  • Check your seeds are not protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Click here for the CITES database Species +. Under CITES some seeds are protected and cannot be transported between countries or can only be imported with a permit.
  • Complete the ASC 2023 Tracking form for seed imports. Please CLICK HERE to view and download the form. Please make sure to submit the form to the APSA Secretariat and the New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association (NZGSTA) on or before 31 October 2023. Please send to


If carrying seeds as a personal consignment

DECLARE that you are bringing seeds by presenting the following documents upon arrival at the airport:

  1. Arrival declaration. Travelers who fill out false declarations risk an instant fine of $400, and could be fined up to $100,000, or get a prison term of up to five years, for serious breaches of New Zealand's biosecurity laws.
  2. The import permit, if required (issued by the Ministry for Primary Industries)
  3. Phytosanitary certificate, if required from your own country. The phytosanitary certificate must be endorsed with any additional declaration(s) for phytosanitary measures including treatments, as specified in Part 2 of the Seeds for Sowing :Import Health Standard (IHS 155.02.05)
  4. Genetically modified testing certificate, if required. Refer to Part 1.5.3 and Part 2 of the Seeds for Sowing: Import Health Standard.
  5. If a biosecurity inspector is satisfied that your products have the appropriate certification, clearance will be given.

All seed entering New Zealand must be inspected by MPI. Depending on the quantity of seed this can take several hours or longer. It may not be possible to issue clearance of your seed while you wait.

If your seed species requires a GMO test certificate it cannot be screened by MPI staff at the airports. This will mean there will be a delay in processing and clearing your seed and clearance will not be able to be issued while you wait.

If your product does not comply with the import health standard (IHS), your product may need to be reshipped or destroyed unless a measure can be applied on-arrival to meet the requirements of the import health standard (IHS).


  • For those intending to dispose of excess seeds in New Zealand. Further disposal details will be provided during the conference.
  • If you intend to bring the seeds back to your own country, they will be considered as “RE-EXPORT” which entails another set of procedures and payment. Kindly inform APSA/MPI if you intend to do this.


  • Please do not attempt to bring seeds into New Zealand without the proper declarations and documentation. Even at the Asian Seed Congress, New Zealand’s Biosecurity Officers may conduct random checks of the necessary documents among those who have seeds for display.
  • Please do not bring fresh fruit or vegetables into New Zealand without proper documentation and declarations. Import conditions for all fruit and vegetables eligible for entry into New Zealand can be found here. Failure to properly declare fruit or vegetables may incur a minimum instant fine of $400, prosecution, imprisonment, and deportation from New Zealand.
  • In lieu of bringing actual seeds, you can bring empty packets of seeds as sample products for display.


MPI’s summary guidance for importing seeds for sowing

Application form to apply for an import permit for seeds for sowing.

Find out more about testing for GM seed

Seeds for Sowing: Import Health Standard (IHS 155.02.05)

The Seeds for Sowing IHS provides the details of what you need to do to successfully import your seed. All seed must comply with the general import requirements detailed in Part 1 of the IHS. Your seed may also have specific requirements outlined in Part 2 – check the relevant section of the IHS listed in the Plant Biosecurity Index.

Some common seed examples include:

  • Capsicum (Capsicum annuum) seeds import conditions (refer to Part 1 and Part 2 section 2.15)
  • Eggplant (Solanum melongena) seeds import conditions (refer to Part 1 and Part 2 section 2.76 Solanum)
  • Tomato seeds import conditions (refer to Part 1 and Part 2 section 2.77 Solanum lycopersicum)
  • Cucumis seeds import conditions (refer to Part 1 and Part 2 section 2.27 Cucumis)
  • Cucurbitaceae seeds import conditions (refer to Part 1 and Part 2 section 2.28 Cucurbitaceae)
  • Maize and sweetcorn seeds import conditions (refer to Part 1 and Part 2 section 2.88 Zea)

For other queries, please email us or MPI directly at: