How to use Animal Crossing amiibo in New Horizons

Animal Crossing New Horizons Amiibo
(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

If you're like me, then you have an adorable set of Animal Crossing amiibo figures as well as Animal Crossing amiibo cards sitting around your house somewhere. Each figure or card can bring a specific villager to the game either for a photoshoot or so that you can invite them to become a permanent resident. What's more, using amiibo cards, you can invite one of the 390+ villagers to your island to recruit them. Even more functions are available to those who purchase the paid DLC.

If you've been playing for a while and still haven't found out how to use amiibo in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can only use them once amiibo functionality has been unlocked. There are a few different places you can use amiibo including the Campsite, Harvey's Island, and The Roost cafe. On this page, we'll explain how to unlock amiibo functionality, what amiibo do in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and also explain how to use them.

The amiibo figures vs. the amiibo cards

There are a few different ways to use amiibo in New Horizons. We'll step you through how to unlock each amiibo-related activity and how to use amiibo to bring characters to your island.

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There are over 400 Animal Crossing amiibo that you can use if you count the 18 NFC figures and the hundreds of Animal Crossing amiibo cards. Both the figures and the cards feature NFC chips and get scanned the same way using your Nintendo Switch. However, in New Horizons, the amiibo cards are more useful since they allow you to invite new villagers to your island. The amiibo figures are fun to collect, but they can only be used to invite the unique characters they depict to photoshoot sessions while you're on Harvey's Island.

If you have your heart set on inviting a specific villager to your island, you might want to scour eBay for a particular Animal Crossing amiibo card as many sellers will let you buy them individually. But be warned. Some of the more popular villagers' amiibo cards are incredibly pricey.

A full list of Animal Crossing amiibo cards can be found on Animal Crossing's official website.

Sanrio amiibo cards

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Now that the 1.9 update has gone live, Animal Crossing players can get six unique Sanrio villagers and their items by scanning Sanrio amiibo cards. Unfortunately, these cards are currently in limited supply and are hard to find.

New Series 5 Animal Crossing amiibo cards

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The newest wave of Animal Crossing amiibo cards released November 5, 2021. There are 48 new cards total and six come in each pack. This set includes the newest characters added into the Animal Crossing franchise via New Horizons. For instance, the fan-favorite Raymond, Shino, and others.

How to unlock amiibo in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

There are three different ways that amiibo can be used in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which means there are three different areas to unlock for amiibo usage. There's also a use for amiibo cards in the Happy Home Paradise DLC for those that purchase the expansion.  

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Scanning areaWhat you can do thereHow to unlock
Harvey's IslandScanning an amiibo card or figurine brings the depicted character into Photopia for you to arrange and take pictures with. Upgrade Resident Services to a building then fly to Harv's Island.
Resident ServicesScanning an amiibo card here invites a Villager to your island. Scan three days total to make them permanent residents.Upgrade Resident Services to a building then use the kiosk.
Brewster's coffee breakScan the amiibo figures or cards to invite a character to chill at the café with you. Unlock the art wing of the museum and make sure you've donated at least one fossil, fish, bug, and art. Then talk to Blathers.
Happy Home ParadiseScanning the figure or card makes that character a client. Build seven vacation homes after your first facility.

Keep reading to learn more details about what each area offers along with more step-by-step instructions on how to unlock them. 

What can you do at Harvey's Island? Villager Photopia

Animal Crossing New Horizons Villagers

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If you've played Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you might recall a hippy dog named Harvey as one of the particular villagers. After a few days of playing in New Horizons, this dog will randomly appear on your island. Make sure you talk to him, and he'll invite you to visit his island home. The awesome thing is that the airport allows you to fly to him for free. No Nook Miles Tickets required.

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Instead of foraging for materials, bugs, and fish, Harvey's island only lets you walk into Harvey's house. Once inside, you'll be able to set up a scene in one of his rooms and take pictures with your favorite villagers. That is, as long as you have that villager on your island or have a corresponding amiibo to invite them with. You can place different furniture, change the lighting in the room, and position your favorite Animal Crossing villagers in various locations before taking pictures with them. You can have up to 10 animal villagers in one room at a time.

However, it should be noted that not every amiibo works with New Horizons. So far, the game has warned me that Digby and Resetti can't be invited to Photopia. This had also been the case for Reese, Cyrus, and Rover up until another update arrived. I'm guessing that any amiibo figures that currently don't work with New Horizons will be usable once future updates are released.

Animal Crossing New Horizons How To Use Amiibo (Image credit: iMore)

If you scan a character's amiibo figure or card into the game while at Harvey's Island, a poster depicting that character will becoming available to purchase at the NookStop in Resident Services. This works even for characters that I wasn't able to invite into Photopia. All you have to do is go up to the kiosk, select Nook Shopping, and then press R to view all available posters. Use these awesome images to spice up rooms in your home.

How to use amiibo at Harvey's Island

1. Talk to Orville at the airport and tell him I wanna fly.

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2. Next, tell him that you want to Visit Harv's Island.

Acnh How To Use Amiibo. Tell Orville Visit Harvey's Island (Image credit: iMore)

3. Confirm that it's Time for takeoff.

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4. After a brief cutscene, you'll find yourself on Harvey's Island. Enter Harv's house.

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5. Now that you're inside, you'll find six different rooms that you can take photos in. To use your amiibo, press the down button on the left side of your Switch.

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6. Hover your amiibo figure or your amiibo card over the NFC reader. If you're playing in handheld mode, the NFC reader is near the right joystick. If you're playing with the Pro Controller, the NFC reader is over the Nintendo Switch logo. The characters you scan will appear in the room. You can have up to 10 animal villagers in a room at a time.

Acnh How To Use Amiibo. Scan your amiibo over the right joystick (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / iMore)

7. While still in this viewing mode, hover over the character and more options will appear on the screen.

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8. You can make them emote by pressing ZR and then selecting one of your available Reactions.

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9. If you hold down A while highlighting a villager, you can pick them up and then place them somewhere else in the room.

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10. If you want to select multiple characters, hold down the R button and then highlight the characters you want to move.

11. Quickly tapping A while hovering over a villager makes that character rotate 45 degrees.

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12. If you decide you want to remove a villager, hover over them and then press Y.

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Brewster and the Roost

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Once unlocked, a cute little coffee shop makes its way into the museum. You'll be served by a returning favorite character, Brewster. He's a pigeon with a formal look. You can build his cafe, The Roost, in your museum and even allows you to invite any character that has an amiibo card, even characters like Resetti and Digby who aren't in New Horizons. Sometimes, they'll bring a friend along with them.

How to find Brewster

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There are a number of things you need to do to unlock Brewster. Make sure your island meets these requirements and then go on the miniquest to unlock the Roost when you can.

  1. You must have built the museum and have the artwing.
  2. Donate at least one fish, bug, fossil, and art piece to the museum.
  3. Have a three-star rating on your island. You can check with Isabelle to see where your island currently sits.
  4. When those requirements are met, talk to Blathers and he'll mention his friend Brewster.
  5. Run to your island's pier and go on an Island Tour with Kapp'n.
  6. You'll see Brewster on the island. Talk to Brewster and relay Blathers' message.
  7. Head back to the museum and tell Blathers what happened.

Your museum will immediately close for construction, but when you get on the next day the new cafe will be in place along with Brewster.

How to use amiibo at Brewster's The Roost cafe

Acnh The Roost Amiibo Isabelle And Digby (Image credit: iMore)

You don't have to do anything extra to unlock amiibo scanning at the cafe. I've tested amiibo figures and amiibo cards, including ones for characters that don't appear in New Horizons, and so far they have all worked.

1. Interact with the yellow amiibo telephone in the left side of the room.

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2. Select Yes!

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3. Select Yes, I am.

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4. Scan your amiibo figure or amiibo card by hovering it over the joystick on your Joy-Con. If you're using the Pro Controller hover it over the Nintendo logo in the middle. Note that you can only have one amiibo guest at a time.

5. The character you requested will appear after a short cutscene. You can talk to them and sit with them. If you use a Reaction while sitting with your guest, they'll respond. Sometimes the things they do might surprise you.

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6. If you're done talking to this character and want to invite another one, simply go to the telephone and scan another amiibo card. Note that this will make your first guest leave.

Acnh The Roost Resetti Invite Another (Image credit: iMore)

That's all there is to The Roost cafe! Enjoy sipping joe with your favorite characters. You might just learn something new about them as you talk.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons — Happy Home Paradise paid DLC

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons — Happy Home Paradise is the first and only paid DLC for New Horizons. With this new content, players can create vacation homes for various villagers. If you scan an Animal Crossing amiibo card, you can invite that specific villager as a client and create the perfect getaway just for them.

How to unlock the campsite

Animal Crossing New Horizons How To Use Amiibo

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The campsite allows random villagers to appear on your island, which gives you the option of inviting them to live their as pemanent residents. If you have amiibo cards, you can use them to ask specific villagers to your campsite. To be more precise, the character depicted on the card gets invited to your island.

Note: You can only use Animal Crossing amiibo cards here. None of the characters that have been turned into amiibo figurines can be invited to the campsite.

Steps for building the campsite

You'll need to complete several steps to build a campsite. Here's what you need to do to unlock the campsite and invite villagers to your island using amiibo:

  1. Upgrade Resident Services to a building
  2. Build a campsite
  3. Invite a visiting villager to live on your island
  4. Build additional homes on your island
  5. Wait for the villager to move in
  6. Use the NookStop kiosk at Resident Services

We'll go over all of these steps in more detail below. 

1. Upgrade Resident Services to a building

Animal Crossing New Horizons Resident Services

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You must first take all the steps necessary to upgrade Resident Services from a tent to a building to unlock the campsite's amiibo functionality. If you haven't gotten that far yet, click the link above to go to a guide.

2. Build a campsite

Animal Crossing New Horizons How To Use Amiibo

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Once you've upgraded Residential Services, Tom Nook will tell you that he's interested in opening a campsite. He'll then ask you to stake out a plot of land specifically for this purpose. After selecting a location for the campsite, you'll have to wait for the next morning. The campsite will appear on your island the next day, but you won't get any visitors until the following day after that.

3. Invite a visiting villager to live on your island

Animal Crossing New Horizons How To Use Amiibo

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The first animal NPC that comes to the campsite will be chosen at random. When someone does appear in the tent, you can invite them to live on your island simply by talking to them. You'll need to play some games or crafting items for them in order to convince them.

4. Build additional homes on your island

Animal Crossing New Horizons How To Use Amiibo

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Now it's time to talk to Tom Nook at Resident Services. Since you're inviting even more villagers to your island, this loaded raccoon will tell you that more houses need to be built to accommodate everyone. He'll then give you a housing kit and will ask you to pick a location for this new home. Run around your island and select the perfect place for your new villager to live. You'll need to wait until the following day for this new house to show up on your island.

5. Wait for the villager to move in

Animal Crossing New Horizons Villagers

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You're going to have to do some waiting. It takes a day for the house to show up after you've chosen a location, and then it takes another day for the new villager to move into your island.

6. Use the NookStop kiosk at Resident Services

Animal Crossing New Horizons How To Use Amiibo

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Once the new villager has moved in, head back to Resident Services and talk with Tom Nook. He'll tell you that he wants to bring even more villagers to the island. Now, run over to the Nook Stop kiosk and interact with it. He'll tell you that you can now use Animal Crossing amiibo cards to invite more villagers to the island. Just note that you can only have one camper per day.

How to invite villagers to the campsite using amiibo

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Now that you've unlocked the ability to use amiibo cards, it's time to learn how to scan them in and convince campers to move into your island. You're going to have to scan a villager's card multiple days in a row if you want them to become a resident of your island. Here are the steps needed to acquire a new villager using amiibo cards.

1. Interact with the kiosk at Resident Services.

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2. Select invite a Camper.

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3. Select Yes, I do!