New Zealand - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements,acceptable business etiquette, dress, business cards, gifts, etc.

Last published date: 2022-07-31

Business Customs

New Zealand business customs are like those practiced in the United States:  corporate dress; business cards etc.  It is a common and courteous practice to make and keep appointments in a timely manner.  Senior level officials are as accessible for relevant business consultations as their peers are in the United States.  Gifts are not standard practice.

Travel Advisory

The State Department consular information sheet for New Zealand provides U.S. travelers safety and security information to help assess any risks of travel to this destination. 

Visa Requirements

Under the Visa Waiver Program, U.S. passport holders can visit New Zealand for 90 days or less without a visa.  U.S. citizens with Global Entry membership traveling to New Zealand may use a dedicated lane arriving at Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch International Airports.  The lanes will streamline border processing for U.S. Global entry members.  To be eligible to use the lanes, U.S. Global Entry members simply present their Global Entry card, their U.S. passport and arrival documentation.  This initiative is the result of an agreement between New Zealand and the United States to improve the border experience for travelers flying between the two countries.  U.S. Global Entry members will still be subject to standard customs, immigration, and biosecurity processes on arrival in New Zealand.

In New Zealand, consular activities are undertaken at the American Consulate General, Auckland.

U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s):  State Department Visa Website


New Zealand’s unit of currency is the dollar (NZ$).   All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand, with Visa and MasterCard accepted nationwide.  ATMs are widely available in New Zealand’s urban centers.  Travelers checks are less accepted than in the past.  Electronic transactions dominate over cash.

There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of New Zealand. However, every person who carries more than NZ$10,000 in cash in or out of New Zealand is required to complete a Border Cash Report.  Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, some hotels, and Bureau de Change kiosks, which are found at international airports and most city centers.


New Zealand has a modern telecommunications infrastructure.  Internet coverage is nationwide and integral to everyday life.  Free internet access is available in most hotels and through wireless hotspots and Internet cafes.  More cellular phones are linked to the main providers than landline.  (Residential landline services are declining.)  2Degrees, Vodafone and Spark are the three cellular networks.  International roaming services are available.

Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts (50 hertz), although most hotels and motels provide 110-volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only. For all other equipment, an adapter/converter is necessary, unless the item has a multi-voltage option.


Most travelers to New Zealand arrive by air.  As a result of COVID-19, regular direct return flights to New Zealand by U.S. airlines (American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines) are due to resume from mid to late 2022.  Air New Zealand, the national air carrier, is flying directly from Auckland-LAX and Auckland-San Francisco on a reduced timetable.  Air New Zealand plans to resume flights from Auckland-Chicago and Auckland-Houston from mid to late 2022 as well as introduce a new route Auckland-New York from September 17, 2022. 

New Zealand is well equipped with both public and private transportation options that can be booked through the Internet or travel agents. Automobiles are right hand drive and traffic travels on the left side of the road.


New Zealand is an English-speaking country.  Te Reo Maori is the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand and legally is an official language. New Zealand sign language is the third official language.


The standard of public health is high.  The New Zealand health system consists of public, private, and voluntary sectors that interact to provide and fund health care.  The public sector provides free treatment at hospitals for emergency and major medical problems, including maternity and geriatric care and free dental treatment for those less than 18 years of age.  U.S. travelers to New Zealand are required to by fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays

New Zealand business operates on a five-day (Monday through Friday) work week. Retail outlets are open until 6 p.m. with extended hours Thursday/Friday and in December.  In New Zealand’s urban centers, some supermarkets and gas stations are open 24 hours a day.

Public holidays and regional holidays in New Zealand are popular for domestic travel and can be the cause of traffic congestion in and out of Auckland and Wellington and at holiday spots.

Daylight Saving commences on the last Sunday in September, when 2:00 a.m. becomes 3:00 a.m.  It ends on the first Sunday in April, when 3:00 a.m. becomes 2:00 a.m.  New Zealand is 17 hours ahead of U.S. EST during Daylight Saving.

Ocean surrounds New Zealand, allowing for a temperate climate.  The Southern Hemisphere’s seasons are opposite the Northern Hemisphere with summer weather during the five-month November to March period.  Temperature extremes are confined to mountainous areas in the North and South Islands. 

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings

 New Zealand admits samples of negligible value duty free.  Small shipments of trade catalogs and price lists printed outside New Zealand and advertising products produced abroad are admitted duty free if they bear the name and address of the foreign manufacturer and are not designed to advertise the sale of those products by any company, firm, or individual with a business established in New Zealand.

Goods imported to New Zealand on a temporary basis may be able to be imported without paying duty, including Goods and Services Tax (GST) via a Temporary Import.