Yacht & small craft departure

A small craft is one whose primary role is recreation and which is not for commercial use or hire – regardless of its length or tonnage.

Notice of departure

If you intend leaving New Zealand, you should let the New Zealand Customs Service know no less than 4 hours before your departure. 

You can do this by using the Advance notice of departure (small craft) (Form C2B).

Customs will provide you with a Departure of Yachts and Small Craft Information Pack which contains all the official documents you will need to gain your Certificate of Clearance (Small craft) (Form C3B).

Certificate of clearance

Yachts and small craft may not depart from any Customs place to a point outside New Zealand, unless a Certificate of Clearance has been granted.

  • To obtain a Certificate of Clearance, you must provide these documents:
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Departing from a port of entry

All craft leaving New Zealand waters must depart from a Customs port of entry. A Customs officer will attend at the agreed time and place of departure.  

Once Customs and Immigration formalities have been completed, the owner/master will be issued a Certificate of Clearance. The craft will then be required to leave New Zealand waters immediately and proceed to its next destination.

If for some unforeseen reason you are unable to leave New Zealand waters after you have been issued with your Certificate of Clearance – perhaps there is a life-threatening situation or serious safety issue – then you must immediately advise the New Zealand Customs Service on 0800 428 786, or report to a Police officer.

Duty-free stores

Duty-free stores are goods which may, under certain conditions, be taken out of New Zealand, free of Customs duty.

Prior to departure, you can arrange for your duty-free allowances through a duty-free business, which must submit a Requisition for ships stores (NZCS 325) form to the New Zealand Customs Service for approval. The completed form should be emailed to ships.stores@customs.govt.nz no later than 12 hours prior to departure. Any duty-free supplies purchased, along with their receipts, must be available for inspection by a Customs officer at the time of your departure.

Ship stores are any goods (including tobacco and alcohol) for use or consumption on board a craft by passengers or crew, or for the service of a craft.  

Return of firearms

If any firearms were detained on your arrival, contact the New Zealand Police to arrange for them to be delivered to your vessel prior to your departure. Make sure you allow sufficient time for the firearm(s) to be transported to your port of departure, particularly if this is different from your port of arrival.

To contact the New Zealand Police, phone +64 9 302 6400 between 7:00am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday, and ask for the Arms officer.

For further information regarding New Zealand Customs Service formalities for yachts and small craft see Fact Sheet 33 or contact:

New Zealand Customs Service
Marine Section
PO Box 29, Shortland Street
Auckland 1140

Phone: +64 9 307 6516
Fax: +64 9 359 6692
Email: yachts@customs.govt.nz 

This description was last updated on: Tuesday, 07 June 2016