Pre-departure 

Planning your move

  • Moving to a new country is exciting, but it can also be nerve wracking working through all the steps involved. We know there’s documentation to complete, travel to book, and packing to organise – and that’s before you start navigating another country’s systems. At UC we know that a little planning, and knowing where to look for information goes a long way to reassuring you you’re on the right track.
  • If you are entering New Zealand as part of a border exception cohort please note there are additional steps to complete before securing your NZ student visa. We encourage you to reach out to ucahead@canterbury.ac.nz and have a look over the following pages:

    • Immigration New Zealand's 'NZ Ready' tool, a good check list for your move. 
    • Manapou ki te Ao | Education New Zealand has some fantastic resources to utilise before, and during your time in New Zealand, visit their official website for international students - Nau Mai NZ. 
    • Christchurch NZ also is a great website to check out to learn more about Ōtautahi, the city you’ll be living in.  

     

    Covid-19 travel information 

    Travel has changed a lot during the last few years. It is essential that you ensure you meet all Covid-19 pre-departure, transit and arrival health requirements to ensure you have a safe and smooth journey to New Zealand. 

    You must meet Covid-19 vaccination requirements for New Zealand.

    There will be a pre-departure traveller declaration, pre departure testing, and two RAT (Rapid Antigen Testing) kits provided to you on arrival. We recommend familiarising yourself with what may occur should you test positive during your journey, or on arrival to New Zealand (e.g get to know NZ’s isolation requirements). 

    You can also verify your Covid-19 vaccines and request your My Vaccine Pass prior to your arrival in New Zealand here. 

    If you have any specific questions email us on ucahead@canterbury.ac.nz

    When to arrive

    You must arrive in Christchurch in time to complete your enrolment in person, this generally happens in the week before your courses start. Please also ensure you arrive in time to attend International Orientation.

    We recommend booking your flights as soon as you secure your New Zealand Student Visa. If you arrive after semester has started, you may need to get permission from your Faculty to enrol. 

    New Zealand’s arrival process

    When you arrive in New Zealand, you will go through an arrivals process at the airport. This will involve immigration, customs, and biosecurity checks.

    You will be given an arrival card which asks you to declare food and other restricted items. It is important to read the information on the arrival card carefully. If you are not sure about an item you are carrying, declare it. If you fail to declare any goods that are considered a biosecurity risk, you may receive an instant fine of at least NZ$400, or be prosecuted.

    Some flights will arrive directly to Christchurch International Airport, and some will land in Auckland International Airport. You can clear New Zealand customs at both airports. 

     

    Arriving directly at Christchurch International Airport?

    On arrival you can clear the immigration desk, collect your bags to go through customs. Once you arrive in the main lounge area, this is where anyone you have pre-arranged to pick you up usually will be.

    • Shuttles, Taxi and Bus. You can walk directly outside of the arrival to catch a taxi, or purchase a space on a shared shuttle van.
    • Common taxi companies you will see are Corporate Cabs, Gold Band Taxis, Blue Star, First Direct, and Green Cabs. It will cost around $25 to $40 NZD to get from the airport to Ilam which is the suburb UC is based in, depending on which taxi company you ride with, the airport toll, and traffic conditions.  It is most common to pay via a debit, or credit card in taxis in New Zealand. Many taxis accept payWave.
    • Bus No. 3 Purple bus, is the bus that will take you to Ilam and the UC Accommodation halls. Buses depart from the northern end of International Arrivals, next to the Novotel hotel carpark (exit through Door 9). You can purchase a ticket from the driver (approx $8.50 NZD).
    • Ride shares that operate in Christchurch are Ola and Uber. Exit the arrivals terminal and then walk under the multi-level carpark. Follow the signs that say ‘ride-share collection point’. 

    Arriving in New Zealand at Auckland International Airport?

    • You will need to collect your luggage then clear customs and immigration, then depending on your connecting flight, you can either re-check your bag at the luggage drop, or take it with you via the free shuttle to the Auckland Domestic Terminal where you can also re-check in your bags. 
    • The two main domestic airlines from Auckland to Christchurch are Jetstar and Air New Zealand. Both have self-service stations if you need to re- check your bags, or check-in for your domestic flight to Christchurch. The self-service stands operate in various languages, and there are plenty of staff around to support you.

    What you can bring to NZ

    Before you get on the plane, make sure you know your responsibilities when it comes to protecting New Zealand’s beautiful environment. There are restrictions on what you can bring into New Zealand, and what can be sent to you while you are living here.

    It is very important that you do not try to bring anything into New Zealand which is prohibited, and that you declare anything which is restricted on your arrival.

    The New Zealand Customs Service provides advice on importing goods into New Zealand. It also offers information about customs duties and taxes on articles imported into New Zealand, and goods which are exempt, subject to strict import control, or are absolutely prohibited.

    The Ministry for Primary Industries also offers advice, particularly around quarantine of goods.

    Items you shouldn’t bring to New Zealand

    Start your study in New Zealand the right way by not carrying banned biosecurity (quarantine) items in your luggage. New Zealand has very strict laws to protect our environment from pests and diseases.

    Don’t pack:

    • Fresh fruit and vegetables
    • Food (cooked, uncooked, fresh, preserved, packaged or dried)
    • Plant products

    There are also prohibited Customs items you can't bring into New Zealand. If you are unsure if you can bring an item, declare it when you land in New Zealand.

    By doing the right thing and declaring, you will avoid a $400 fine.

    To find out more visit the Biosecurity and Customs New Zealand websites:

For more information