This guidance covers the requirements for commercial vessel operators and masters arriving and departing New Zealand.
- Mandatory documentation to complete
- Ports of entry for commercial vessels
- Ship stores
- Immigration requirements
- When you leave New Zealand
- Vessel Management Framework
Update – 31 October 2023: There has been a change to the arrivals process for commercial vessels entering New Zealand.
For commercial vessels (excluding cruise vessels), ‘Form 6: Customs individual (NZ domiciled) crew declaration’ and ‘Form 7: Customs individual (non-NZ domiciled) crew declaration’) are no longer a requirement.
For applicable travellers a Passenger Arrival Card will be provided on arrival in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Traveller Declaration is currently being trialled with some travellers on commercial vessels. The system allows travellers to complete a digital arrival declaration instead of a paper Passenger Arrival Card. Find out more at www.travellerdeclaration.govt.nz/travelling-by-sea
If you’re coming into New Zealand as a master/operator/owner of a commercial vessel, you must provide specific information to Customs.
Commercial vessels include cargo vessels, fishing vessels, and specialist (non-cargo) vessels such as cable layers, tender, dredge and research vessels.
For cruise operator information visit our Cruise Ships webpage.
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 New Zealand
- who and what will be leaving New Zealand.
The following mandatory forms must be completed in full with the correct information and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org within the specified timeframes as listed below.
Documentation should be supplied in the following accepted formats:
.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 for 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 form. The form must be completed and sent to us at least 48 hours before arrival in New Zealand territorial waters – 12 nautical miles.
- NZCS 355 and NZCS 342: Commercial Ships (XLS 173 KB)
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 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
4. Complete the No Change of Health Status form required under the Health Act 1956
The Master of the vessel 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).
5. Complete the forms required under the Customs (Arriving Passenger and Crew Declarations) Rules 2018
Crew and passengers arriving in New Zealand on a commercial vessel must complete either a:
- Passenger Arrival Card on arrival; or
- New Zealand Traveller Declaration, if invited by Customs on a trial basis.
Please note that there are exceptions or special requirements for certain travellers and certain vessel types:
Crew arriving in New Zealand on a cargo vessel who depart New Zealand on the vessel’s next departure, including crew staying with their vessel who take shore leave are not required to complete an arrival declaration. Passengers on these vessels will still need to complete an arrival declaration.
If you arrive in New Zealand on a fishing vessel, you need to complete an arrival declaration. If your vessel has already been processed by Customs and then leaves the 12 nautical mile territorial sea limit (but does not visit a foreign port during its voyage), you do not need to complete another declaration when you return to New Zealand.
If your vessel leaves the 12 nautical mile territorial sea limit and visits a foreign port during its voyage, you will be required to complete another declaration when you return to New Zealand.
Diplomatically cleared ships
Some vessels must receive diplomatic clearance from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to arrive in New Zealand.
Once diplomatic clearance has been granted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, passengers and crew on these sovereign immunity vessels who do not permanently disembark do not need to complete an arrival declaration.
New Zealand Traveller Declaration
The New Zealand Traveller Declaration is currently being trialled with some travellers on commercial vessels. The system allows travellers to complete a digital arrival declaration instead of a paper Passenger Arrival Card. Find out more at www.travellerdeclaration.govt.nz/travelling-by-sea.
6. Complete the Border Cash Report is required under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (if applicable)
The Border Cash report must be completed if anyone is carrying NZ$10,000 or more cash (or foreign equivalent) into or out of New Zealand.
The printed form is to be completed by relevant individuals on board - NZCS 337: Border Cash Report (DOC 332 KB) or, on condition of acceptance by a Customs officer, the online Border Cash Report form.
Note: the online Border Cash Report form can only be completed within 72 hours of your travel to New Zealand.
You may also need to supply other government agencies with documentation.
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 New Zealand.
Similar requirements must be met for MPI. Visit MPI's webpage Places of first arrival in New Zealand.
Ship stores include:
- cleaning products
- alcohol and tobacco
- spares and service parts
- 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.
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.
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.
Passengers who are not New Zealand or Australian passport holders need a current visa or NZeTA to enter New Zealand. For more information visit Immigration New Zealand's website.
You need a certificate of clearance from Customs before you can leave New Zealand 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 email@example.com.
- NZCS 355 and NZCS 342: Commercial Ships (XLS 173 KB)
Passengers must complete a Border Cash Report (DOC 332 KB) or, on condition of acceptance by a Customs officer, 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 New Zealand.
You can only depart from a designated Customs port. When you leave, you must depart immediately and not go to any other place within New Zealand unless you have Customs permission or there is an emergency.
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.