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International travellers can ditch paper and go digital

09.57am 28 March 2024 | News

The New Zealand Traveller Declaration (NZTD) is now in full use for both air and maritime travellers arriving in New Zealand, including passengers and crew of international cruise ships.

“We know the system works, enabling a more automated and streamlined border experience that gives travellers a more flexible option.  It is straightforward to use and helpful in guiding people through what they need to declare,” says Sharon May, Customs Deputy Chief Executive Finance, Technology and Infrastructure. 

“The latest addition of cruise ship travellers to the NZTD system, following successful trials, is the last step in New Zealand’s transition to a digital arrivals declaration system, marking  a major milestone towards more seamless travel across borders.”

Cruise ship arrivals, like other international travellers coming into New Zealand, are now asked to complete an NZTD either online at or via the NZTD app.

The NZTD collects arrival information for Customs, Immigration, and Ministry for Primary Industries biosecurity purposes, and health information if required. 

“The NZTD allows border agencies to collect the information they need more quickly and assess passenger information earlier to help streamline their arrivals experience, while supporting agencies to manage border processes and risks more efficiently and  effectively,” Sharon May says.

The NZTD system also allows border agencies to add requirements for extra information related to specific risks that may arise from, for example, a biosecurity or health threat.

Biosecurity New Zealand Deputy Director General, Stuart Anderson, says biosecurity is of paramount importance to New Zealand’s biodiversity and economy.

“We are always striving to improve the border controls we use to protect our natural environment and primary industries, and the NZTD enables us to strengthen these processes at the border.

“The data we get from NZTD allows us to do more effective risk screening to target those passengers and goods that we’re most concerned about. It also gives Biosecurity New Zealand better data to assess future risks and a new channel to pass on critical biosecurity information to travellers.”

Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ) National Manager Border, Peter Elms, says the NZTD adds value to INZ’s border assessment process.

“We are delighted to mark this digital milestone for New Zealand. The NZTD better enables INZ to pre-clear passengers, often before they travel, meaning their immigration arrival process is completed without the need to speak to an official. This is better for passengers and enables staff to focus their time on managing immigration risk,” Mr Elms says.

The default is for travellers to complete the NZTD digitally, but a NZTD paper form is available for those who are unable to complete a digital declaration.