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New traveller arrival declaration legislation comes into force

08.36am 21 June 2023 | News

The Customs and Excise (Arrivals Information) Amendment Act 2023 has come into force today to support safer, smarter, more streamlined border management, including the transition to a digital traveller declaration.

In addition, the Customs and Excise Regulations 1996 have been updated.

Customs Group Manager Policy and Strategy, Kathryn MacIver, says the changes make the obligations for arriving international travellers clearer, improve the enforcement of arrival information obligations, and support the modernisation of New Zealand’s border with the implementation of a digital arrival declaration. 

“The changes make it easier for travellers to provide required arrival information while ensuring we can manage border-related risks,” Kathryn MacIver says. 

“As passenger volumes increase, it is important that our border processes are as efficient as possible while also managing border risks.”

“The new legislation does not change the purposes for which Customs can collect arrival information.

Two new offences have been created with infringements incurring a $400 fine,” says Kathryn MacIver.

The first offence is where a traveller has failed to provide required information.

The second offence is where a traveller has provided arrival information that is erroneous in a material particular. That is, incorrect information which is more than an honest mistake and not merely trivial or inconsequential.

“Travellers will have a defence where they can show they took all reasonable steps to try to ensure the arrival information they have provided was not more than an honest mistake and Customs officers will have discretion to consider the circumstances of a situation,” Kathryn MacIver says.

The new legislation also allows for regulations that support the New Zealand Traveller Declaration (NZTD); giving Customs powers to set the time by which arrival information must be provided.

The new requirements come into force for cruise ships on 31 October 2023.