What should I tell NZ customs officers?

15 replies


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Feb 2014

Total posts 130

Hi Guys.

On Friday Im travelling to Auckland for 3 days and I'm going for a short time with my Friend who is on a working Visa from the UK. What should I say to customs if they ask why I'm here for a short time, so it doesn't sound suspicious?

Ryan K

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 30 May 2013

Total posts 151

Um, the truth?


Member since 12 Mar 2014

Total posts 115

Indeed, the truth!

Fabricating a story doesn't seem like the best way of avoiding suspicion...


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 12 Jul 2014

Total posts 79

Are you Australian? If so, why would you think its suspicious? Australian's have entry clearance into NZ by way of the Trans-Tasman agreement. Unless you have a criminal conviction or are considered of bad character, I would guess you have nothing to fear.


Member since 20 May 2014

Total posts 91

If you believe the circumstances of your arrival or travel companions give the impression that you are travelling to NZ for a purpose for which you do not have the correct visa (i.e. work on a tourist visa or waiver), the best thing to do is bring with you to immigration a print-out of a confirmation of you return ticket.  If you can show that you have arrangements to leave NZ within the period of your legal stay, it is very unlikely that immigration will refuse your entry.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 25 May 2012

Total posts 356

I've heard of people travelling to Australia (from the UK) for a weekend to attend a wedding. Customs/Immigration didn't bat an eyelid.

A weekend "getaway" trip across the tasman shouldn't be suspicious, even if you are travelling on foreign passports. Just tell the truth.

Ryan K

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 30 May 2013

Total posts 151

I agree. I went to Bali for two nights last year. Customs/Immigration said nothing. If you've got nothing to hide, then no need to worry.

Chris C.

Member since 24 Apr 2012

Total posts 1,118

Definitely tell the truth - and if you're using the automated SmartGate system (which can be used on arrival in NZ as well as on departure), you may not even be asked questions by Customs.

Earlier this year I flew to Auckland for one night (landing at around 2pm and taking off again around 9am the next morning) and wasn't asked anything about the visit other than if I had food and the other usual biosecurity questions.


Member since 15 Dec 2013

Total posts 15

Assuming you are Australian and have never been sentenced to a prison term you can use SmartGate to clear immigration (ie. where the Customs officers are). As long as you are 'accepted' by SmartGate you will only interact with an MPI/Biosecurity inspector who will not be interested in your reason for travel, only whether you are carrying any biosecurity risk items. Of course if NZ Customs has adverse information about you, or you are a registered sex offender, they will be 'expecting' you.

If your friend is British and has an e-passport they can also use SmartGate. Even if they are processed in-person by a Customs officer, once the officer realises they are currently working in AU there will be nothing suspicious about a 3 day visit (travelling all the way from the UK for only 3 days would be different).

Advice: DON'T LIE. 


NZ Elite

Member since 03 Jul 2014

Total posts 65

I've travelled from New Zealand to Australia for a meeting and come back on the same day on a few occasions.

Seriously, coming for a few days is nothing to worry about...provided you're not smuggling in fruit :)


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Feb 2014

Total posts 130

Haha thanks for the reply guys , I was just uncertain about if they would ask why I'm here for such a short period of time and no.. I'm not smuggiling anything :p


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 24 Aug 2011

Total posts 384

Tell them you're doing a status run, they get that all the time. 
Otherwise the truth.  


Member since 07 Oct 2012

Total posts 771

Going to NZ for 3 days is hardly suspicious. If you ever get questioned by customs ALWAYS tell the truth. If you're genuine,  then things will work out.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 02 Jul 2011

Total posts 835

Agree with most of the above - plenty of people on business on short trips or holidays to NZ (albeit harder to do a day trip Aus-NZ given time zones).

They are generally more worried about people overstaying or illegally working.


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 17 Jan 2014

Total posts 3

As someone who frequently flies to NZ for just 1/2 nights I've never been questioned or anything, I don't see why they'd ask for a reason why you're there for a short period of time

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