How to Clear Customs Faster

Clearing customs faster can be a priority for many travellers. While some factors are beyond your control, there are several things you can do to speed up the customs clearance process.

What does it mean to ‘clear customs’?

Clearing customs involves going through the process of being inspected and approved by customs authorities when travelling overseas. This process ensures compliance with specific rules and regulations, the safety of the country, and the collection of taxes and duties. Travellers need to follow customs procedures to ensure a smooth and legal entry to a country.

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How can I clear customs faster?

There are several tricks to clearing customs faster. Here are our top tips:

1. Dress appropriately

Dress neatly and professionally. Customs officers may form an initial impression based on your appearance, which can influence the speed of your clearance.

2. Pack smart

Organise your luggage in a way that makes it easy for customs officers to inspect if necessary. Avoid packing prohibited items, and make sure to declare any necessary items on your entry form.

3. Be courteous and respectful

Treat customs officers with respect and follow their instructions. Being co-operative and polite can create a positive interaction and potentially expedite the process.

4. Know the rules and regulations

Familiarise yourself with the customs regulations of the country you are entering. Knowing what is allowed and prohibited can help you avoid unnecessary scrutiny.

Ensure that you fill out your customs declaration form accurately and truthfully. Any discrepancies or errors may lead to delays.

5. Complete your declaration online

All travellers to New Zealand must complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration before reaching passport control in New Zealand.

Completing the declaration digitally can help speed up the customs process. It is free and takes about 10 minutes. You can complete it on the NZTD app or online form, using your phone or computer.

For air travellers, the earliest you can submit your declaration is 24 hours before you start your trip to New Zealand. It needs to be submitted by the time you reach passport control in New Zealand.

6. Use an e-Gate

An eGate is an automated way to get through passport control. eGate uses biometrics to match the picture of your face in your ePassport with the picture it takes of you at the gate. To make sure eGate can do this, you must make sure you look as similar to your ePassport photo as possible. Avoid headwear – including veils, scarves and hats – that obscures any part of your face.

In New Zealand, you’ll find eGates at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown airports for both arriving and departing travellers.

You can find more information about eGates here.

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Headed off overseas and looking for the best in money cards? Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular cards in New Zealand:

Provider Key Features Main Fees

• 29 Currencies
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• Single-use virtual cards for secure shopping
• No monthly fee
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• 9 Currencies
• Earn Airpoints Dollars
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• OneSmart app
• No load/reload fee for bank transfers
• Monthly fee: NZD $1 (if funds in account)
• 10 Currencies
• Use wherever Mastercard is accepted
• Cash Passport app
• No load/reload fee for bank transfers
• No monthly fee
• 9 Currencies
• Use wherever Mastercard is accepted
• No load/reload fee for bank transfers
• No monthly fee
• 40+ Currencies
• Free ATM withdrawal of up to NZ$350 per month
• Receive and add money to your Wise Account for free
• Physical card $14 one-off fee
Travelex Logo New • 9 Currencies
• Use wherever Mastercard is accepted
• Mastercard Priceless Cities benefits
• Free overseas ATM withdrawals
• No load/reload fee for bank transfers
• No monthly fee
The display order does not reflect any ranking or rating by Canstar. This information is not an endorsement by Canstar of travel money cards or any specific provider. Information correct as of 20/09/23. For full pricing details see individual providers’ websites.

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About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.

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