Moving to New Zealand

Last updated: December 3, 2019

On this page you can find relevant information for moving to New Zealand including information about the prices of shipping your belongings, moving pets as well as a checklist of valuable information. Below you will find an overview of  the information we will discuss here:

Emigrating to New Zealand

A similar size to the UK, the facilities of a modern Western economy and much less people, it’s no wonder that moving to New Zealand is so popular amongst expats. New Zealand has a lot to offer; from amazing landscapes to a great work-life balance. Read on to find out how to make moving to New Zealand a reality.


As a UK national, you are not required to apply for a visa for visits to New Zealand. You can stay in New Zealand for up to six months without a visa. If you are planning on moving to New Zealand or staying in New Zealand for more than 6 months, then you must apply for a visa before you leave the UK. If you intent to stay in New Zealand for longer then there are several types of visa available depending on personal circumstances. You can read more about different types of visas on our visas for New Zealand page.

How much does a move to New Zealand cost?

Moving to the other side of the world is not going to be cheap. Moving a three bedroom house from London to New Zealand usually costs between £9,000-£11,000. There are two factors that affect the price of a move, one is the distance and the other is the volume that has to be moved. Use our removal volume calculator to save time when requesting quotes. You also may be interested in looking at our page on the cost of shipping containers.

Moving Checklist – What to remember when moving to New Zealand

  • The government of New Zealand has an online planning tool which can be found here. It takes two minutes to complete and can be integrated with your mobile phone and online calendar.
  • Sort out your finances. You can arrange a bank account before you arrive to make it easier and less stressful when you arrive in New Zealand. If you would like advice on transferring your money to New Zealand, check out our transferring money abroad page.
  • Get an IRD number – this number ensures that you are taxed at the correct rate, if not you will be charged from the highest bracket. For more information about this look at our taxes in New Zealand page.
  • It is important to arrange healthcare when moving to a new country. New Zealand has a reciprocal health agreement with the UK meaning that you are entitled to emergency healthcare. This is intended to be used only for short term emergencies so take a look at our healthcare in New Zealand page for more information.

Take a look at our moving abroad checklist for more tips!

Moving to New Zealand

Transporting Pets and Cars

Moving pets and cars often requires a specialist company as there are certain laws and tariffs to consider. Logically, as these are more specialised then it can be quite expensive therefore you may ask yourself if it is cost effective or practical to transport these items.

Driving and transporting a car

People emigrating to New Zealand with a UK driver’s license or an international driving permit can drive in New Zealand for up to a maximum of 12 months. For Expats moving to New Zealand for more than a year, you need to get a New Zealand driving licence. In New Zealand they also drive on the left hand side of the road meaning that it won’t be problematic to have a right hand drive car there. The biggest problem you are likely to have is that you will be transporting your car to New Zealand. 

Transporting a car costs between £1,500 – £2,000 with around a £400 cost to clear customs. There is a great second hand car market in New Zealand, especially when it comes to cars imported from Asia.

Move to New Zealand

Moving Pets

When it comes to transporting pets to New Zealand there are several things to bear in mind. Most importantly, with the exception of dogs and cats it is forbidden to transport domestic animals to New Zealand.

There are a few ways to move your pets to New Zealand. The most common way is with air transport. When it comes to air transport there are a two main choices. Have the pet on a mass market airline on the same journey as you or find an airline that specializes in moving pets. Moving a pet to New Zealand can get slightly complicated in addition to being expensive. A list of important things to remember can be found below:

  • Make sure that all of your pets vaccinations are up to date. This includes a rabies vaccination 6 – 12 months before moving. This is likely to cost around £400
  • An import permit costs NZ$220.74 (around £125). You only need one even if you are going to import more animals.
  • Transport. As discussed above air transport is the most efficient and most common way. We recommend a budget of around £2000 (however this depends on the size and weight of the animal).
  • All pets imported from the UK must be quarantined for a minimum of 10 days. This is likely to cost between NZ$1,400 and NZ$2,000 (£800 – £1,200) including transportation and government inspection fees.

For more information, visit our blog about moving your pets abroad.

money transfer to New Zealand

Cost of Living in New Zealand

New Zealand is a slightly more expensive place to live than the UK. Overall you can compare the two but New Zealand is known for being an expensive place to live due to it’s distance from the rest of the world. If you’re set on moving to New Zealand then the logical next question is to ask which city. Something that may be a factor is price. Use the handy table below of important prices to know (shown in New Zealand dollars) including the cost of a meal in an inexpensive restaurant and the average rent of an apartment.

MealLitre of petrol3 bed apartment (city)3 bed apartment (suburbs)

Moving to New Zealand to rent a house

Finding a place to live in New Zealand

Renting a Home

If you are emigrating to New Zealand a good place is to start by renting a house or an apartment before diving in for a purchase. Renting a place for a few months will give you the opportunity to get used to the environment in New Zealand. It will also give you the time to check out the different residential areas and the different properties. Moreover, if you are moving to New Zealand with children you have to consider the area of residence because it influences the school they will be enrolled into. Find out more on our living in New Zealand page.

For advice on renting from a reliable source make sure you head over to the Government of New Zealand website, where you can learn about the procedures to follow when renting property in New Zealand. It features everything from discussing the legal paperwork to the logistics of sharing a flat (or flatting as they call it in New Zealand).

Buying property in New Zealand

In New Zealand, most home purchases are done via a real estate agent and it is always good advice to seek the approval of an experienced lawyer before making an offer. Find out more on our living in New Zealand page. Buying a house is a complicated task even back home. Moving to a new country makes it that bit more complicated. If you’re looking for advice on legalities, mortgages, valuation and more check out New Zealand Now.

If you’re looking for sites to buy a property or just get an idea of the market then you should start your search at Open2View and Real Estate NZ, these sites prove very popular with locals and expats alike.

Education in New Zealand

Are you moving your family with you? Well, you can rest assured knowing that the education system is ranked as being of a high quality. School is compulsory between the ages of 6-16 and there are three types: state-run, state-integrated and private. The majority are state run and follow a set curriculum by the government. If you are interested, you can visit our education in New Zealand page for more information.

Moving to New Zealand for its beautiful landscape

What Next?

We hope that you have found this page useful. If you would like to find out more, then you may be interested in these pages:

  • International Moving Costs: Check out what makes up the cost of a move abroad.
  • Request Quotes: Want to find out how much your move to New Zealand will cost? Fill out our quick and easy form and receive up to five free removal quotes!

Good luck with your move abroad!