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Commercial ships and cruise liners

This guidance covers the requirements for commercial vessels and cruise ships arriving and departing New Zealand.

New Zealand's maritime border

New Zealand’s maritime border reopened to all vessels at 11.59pm on 31 July 2022 including foreign flagged vessels, cruise ships, recreational vessels (such as yachts and small craft) and specialist vessels used in research and exploration.

There are no longer COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements to enter New Zealand by sea on any type of vessel. However, operators may require evidence of vaccination or have other requirements to travel onboard their craft.

For further COVID-19 information and guidance on the maritime sector visit Health's webpage on COVID-19: Maritime Sector.

Mandatory documentation to complete

If you’re coming into New Zealand as a master/operator/owner of a commercial vessel or cruise liner, you must provide specific information to Customs.

You need to tell us certain information including:

  • who you have onboard
  • what cargo and other items you have onboard
  • who will be staying in NZ
  • who and what will be leaving NZ.

The following mandatory forms must be completed in full with the correct information and emailed to within the prescribed timeframes as listed below.

Documentation should be supplied in the following accepted formats:

  • .pdf

  • Word document

  • Excel document

  • .jpg (photographs accepted if content is legible).

1. Complete the Advance Notice of Arrival (ANA) for all vessels travelling to New Zealand required under the Customs and Excise Act 2018

The Advance Notice of Arrival (ANA) form (DOC 342 KB) needs to be completed by the owner/master of the vessel and sent to us at least 48 hours before arrival in New Zealand territorial waters – 12 nautical miles.

The ANA is a legal requirement and the owner/master is liable to prosecution for not submitting the ANA in the required timeframe and for not providing the ANA in the specified form and manner.

Provide details of crew and passengers as part of the ANA

The owner/master of the vessel must provide details of crew and passengers on board the vessel including names and passport information using the relevant Commercial ship or Cruise ship form. The form must be completed and sent to us at least 48 hours before arrival in New Zealand territorial waters – 12 nautical miles.

2. Complete the Inward Report required under the Customs and Excise Act 2018

The Inward report (PDF 291 KB) is to be completed by the owner/master of the vessel and provides information in relation to the vessel, its travel movements, any cargo, firearms, controlled drugs/medicines, stores, and passengers and crew on board. The form must be completed in respect of all vessels and within 24 hours of arriving at a Customs place and provided to Customs at the port.

3. Complete the crew declarations required under the Customs (Arriving Passenger and Crew Declaration) Rules 2018

The relevant crew declaration must be completed.

4. Complete the Inward Cargo Report (Cargo vessels only) required under the Customs and Excise Act 2018

The owner or operator of a craft headed for New Zealand (or their agent) must submit an Inward Cargo Report (ICR) using the Trade Single Window (TSW) site at least 48 hours prior to the expected time of arrival in New Zealand.

An Inward Cargo Report (ICR) is used to:

  • advance-report cargo destined for New Zealand (including empty containers)
  • request movement of such cargo as an international or domestic transhipment
  • request clearance of shipments that don’t require an Import Declaration.

For more information, visit Inward Cargo Report (Sea) Factsheet

5. Complete the No Change of Health Status form required under the Health Act 1956

The Master must complete the 'No Change of Health Status' form (DOC 45 KB).

12-24 hours before arrival into New Zealand. This is a notice to confirm the health status aboard your vessel following your earlier ‘New Zealand Advance Notice of Arrival’ form. Complete this form and send to the Port Health Authority (Public Health Service).

You may also need to supply other government agencies with documentation, including:

Other useful information guides:

Ports of entry for commercial vessels

All commercial craft coming into New Zealand must nominate and arrive at a Customs port of entry.

Customs ports of entry for commercial vessels are:

  • Port Taranaki (New Plymouth)
  • Port Otago (Dunedin)
  • Port of Tauranga (Sulphur Point/Tauranga Container Terminal)
  • Port of Tauranga (Mount Wharf)
  • Centreport (Wellington)
  • Port Nelson
  • Ports of Auckland
  • Ports of Auckland (Multicargo)
  • Northport (Marsden Point near Whangarei)
  • Lyttelton Port
  • Port of Napier
  • Eastland Port (Gisborne)
  • South Port (Bluff)
  • Prime Port (Timaru)
  • Port Marlborough (Picton)

You can arrive at a non-Customs port of entry only if:

  • It’s an emergency, or
  • You have written permission from Customs. You must have this permission prior to arriving in NZ.

Similar requirements must be met for MPI. Visit MPI's webpage Places of first arrival in New Zealand.

When you arrive in New Zealand

Clearance to disembark

Customs and MPI officers process your clearance.

The following passenger declarations must be provided:

  • Passenger Arrival Card (on arrival)
    A passenger arrival card is an entry requirement for passengers and/or crew who are permanently disembarking. This card will be provided on arrival into New Zealand for completion, a sample of this can be viewed here: Passenger Arrival Card (PDF 205 KB)
    Note: this Passenger Arrival card is a sample only and cannot be presented to Customs or MPI staff.

  • Border Cash Report (if applicable)
    The Border Cash report must be completed if anyone is carrying NZ$10,000 or more in cash or equivalent – you must declare this. The printed form is to be completed by relevant individuals on board - NZCS 337: Border Cash Report (DOC 332 KB) or the online Border Cash Report form. Note: if you choose to use the online Border Cash Report form, this can only be carried out within 72 hours of your travel.

Ship stores

Ship stores include:

  • food
  • cleaning products
  • alcohol and tobacco
  • spares and service parts
  • bunkers
  • general provisions for passengers and crew.

You can add to your ship stores while you’re in NZ. If you want to load any duty-free alcohol or tobacco, you must have our permission.

Email: a completed NZCS 325: Requisition for Ships Stores (DOC 147 KB).

If you’re coming into NZ on a temporary import entry, you can only load duty-free items into your ship store as you’re about to leave NZ.

The amount you’re allowed is calculated as follows - your approved quota (see table below) x the number of crew and passengers x the length of the voyage – any duty-free alcohol or tobacco on board already.

The approved quota per person is:

  • beer – 6 cans or bottles per day (375ml or less per bottle/can), or
  • wine – 1 bottle (750ml) per day, and
  • spirits or liqueur – 3 bottles (1.125ml) per 10 days
  • cigarettes – 20 cigarettes per day or
  • tobacco – 250g per 10 days or
  • cigars – 5 (regardless of weight) every 10 days.

Cruise ships have different allowances. Contact your local Customs shipping office or local port agent for details.

Immigration requirements

Unlike at the air border, travellers on certain vessels arriving by the maritime border are deemed under New Zealand immigration law to have a 28-day visa. These certain vessels include cruise ships, cargo ships and Antarctic research vessels. However, travellers on these vessels may still need to hold an NZeTA. Travellers on other vessels may still be required to apply for and hold a current visa. 

Travellers other than New Zealand and Australian citizens require a current visa or NZeTA to enter New Zealand. Find  out more onImmigration NZ's website. 

When you leave New Zealand

You need a certificate of clearance from Customs before you can leave NZ ports - Form C3: Certificate of clearance (all ships and boats other than small craft) (DOC 263 KB).

To get clearance, the person in charge of the craft must give Customs advance notice of departure not less than 4 hours before intended time of departure. The owner of the craft, or person in charge, or agent, are the only people who can sign this - Form C2: Advance notice of departure (ships and boats other than small craft) (DOC 148 KB).

You must also email passenger and crew information to

Passengers must complete a Border Cash Report (DOC 332 KB) or the online Border Cash Report form if they are carrying NZ$10,000 or more in cash or equivalent – they must declare it on this form. This form is to be completed by the individual moving the cash out of NZ.

You can only depart from a designated Customs port. When you leave, you must depart immediately and not go to any other place within NZ unless you have Customs permission or there is an emergency.

We will usually clear cruise ship passengers at the port you’re leaving from.

If you need to be processed somewhere else, you must get our permission first. Contact our cruise vessel coordinator by:

Phone: +64 9 359 6620
Fax: +64 9 359 6692

Vessel Management Framework

The Vessel Management Framework was initially developed for Cargo and Commercial vessels when the Maritime Border was closed due to COVID-19. Find out about how it continues to be a useful tool on our Vessel Management Framework webpage.