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Non-scheduled flights and private flights

COVID-19 requirements for operators


Eligible travellers can arrive in New Zealand on a non-scheduled or private flight. They are not limited to using international air services operated by airlines.

Before departure and upon arrival, carriers must ensure they meet requirements under the Air Border Order.

Non-scheduled flight operators must provide the required pre-departure information to Customs, allowing assurance processes to take place and for Customs to issue warnings about arriving in New Zealand without fulfilling the requirements on everyone on board the aircraft.

Intentionally failing to comply with the requirements may be a breach of the Air Border Order, and may be an offence under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020.

Providing information to border agencies before flights depart

From 11.59pm, 31 March 2022, all travellers to New Zealand are required to complete and submit an online declaration in the New Zealand Traveller Declaration system. The New Zealand Traveller Declaration is an online system that collects travel and COVID-19 health-related information. If the declaration meets the requirements, a traveller pass will be issued to the traveller and sent to the email address they have provided.

All airlines, carriers and operators, including those operating non-scheduled and private flights, will be required to check that every passenger has a Traveller Pass before boarding the passenger. The passenger may present their Traveller Pass as a printed document or in an electronic format (displaying the PDF on a device such as a smartphone or tablet etc).

More information on how carriers are required to verify the Traveller Pass can be found in the Guidance for airlines and carriers document issued by the Ministry of Transport.

Once operators of non-scheduled and private flights have completed this check, they must make a declaration to Customs before departure that they have verified that all people travelling to New Zealand have met the requirements to enter. Suggested wording for the declaration is as follows:

Declaration

I confirm that reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that each person on board the aircraft has satisfied the requirements of the COVID-19 provisions that apply to them, as stipulated under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Air Border) Order 2021.

This declaration applies to [Carrier] flight [flight number]. The flight is departing from [Port of departure] and expects to depart at [Time and Date].

The contact person for this flight is, [Name, phone number, email address]

In addition to providing this notification, non-scheduled flight operators also have to provide the following information to Customs at least three hours before departure:

  • Passport or official travel document number of all travellers
  • Citizenship of Passport for all travellers
  • Surnames of all travellers
  • Given names of all travellers
  • Date of Birth of all travellers
  • Sex (as stated on passport) of all travellers
  • Date of arrival
  • Estimated time of arrival; and
  • Port of arrival

Passenger information and confirmation that all on board have met the requirements can be sent to itocops@customs.govt.nz. Information can be provided either on a Spreadsheet, word document, or email.

If a carrier also provides scheduled international air services, then passenger information can be provided within existing processes for those flights.

A carrier must still email confirmation that everyone on board has met the requirements under the Air Border Order for a non-scheduled flight.

Non-scheduled arrivals in New Zealand to disembark at international terminal

Non-scheduled flights must arrive at one of four international airports in New Zealand:

  • Auckland International Airport
  • Wellington International Airport
  • Christchurch International Airport
  • Queenstown International Airport (from 1 April 2022)

Everyone on board will also be screened inside the main terminal at these airports. Arrival at a private terminal is not permitted. This requirement is permitted under sections 24 and 29 of the Customs and Excise Act 2018.

Arriving in New Zealand

You must arrive during working hours unless there are extenuating circumstances. Send a completed Form C1A: Inward Report (PDF 123 KB) to  itocops@customs.govt.nz.

When you arrive, Customs and MPI biosecurity officers will come to meet you. Don’t let any people, luggage or cargo leave the plane until the officers give you permission.

You must give the officers:

  • a completed Passenger Arrival Card (PDF 205 KB) for each person on the plane
  • a completed NZCS 337: Border Cash Report (DOC 332 KB) if anyone on board is carrying NZ$10,000 or more cash or equivalent 
  • a valid passport or other travel document for each person on board
  • a clearance from your last port of departure
  • evidence of the health information required to travel to New Zealand. More information on these requirements can be found at covid19.govt.nz | How to enter New Zealand

Note: the Passenger Arrival card is a sample only and cannot be presented to Customs or MPI staff.

Arriving outside of working hours is unlikely to be approved

If you’re arriving outside of working hours, you must get approval at least 5 working days in advance, however under the current Reconnecting New Zealanders requirements, this is unlikely to be approved.

If you can’t land at an MPI-approved airport, you must get permission at least 10 working days in advance, unless there is an emergency.

Border clearance levy

You must pay a Border Clearance Levy whenever you cross New Zealand's border. We will send an invoice to the email address you give us on your advance notice of arrival and departures forms.

The levy is:

  • NZ$18.21 for every person over 2 years old arriving
  • NZ$3.37 for every person over 2 years old departing.

You can pay your arrival and departure levies at the same time. You must pay them before you leave NZ. You can pay online at pay.customs.govt.nz.

If you’re arriving at a non-approved airport, there may be extra charges.

Cargo

If you’re bringing in cargo that isn’t personal luggage, the person in charge of the plane must also give us the following information on the advance notice of arrival:

  • the names of the people involved in transporting the cargo
  • a description of the cargo
  • the place where the cargo was loaded for export
  • the place where the cargo is being offloaded
  • details of any packaging the cargo is in
  • if it’s going to be delivered somewhere, the names and addresses of the people it’s going to
  • if the cargo was transhipped, where it was transhipped. Transhipped refers to items which are:
    • being imported
    • haven’t cleared Customs
    • are being loaded onto another plane or boat/ship for export.

You can send us the advance notice of arrival, and these details, by:

Firearms and weapons

You may not be allowed to bring some items into NZ, including firearms and weaponry. You must declare any firearms when you arrive. NZ Police will take them and stow them safely until you leave NZ.

Some weapons are prohibited items, and you won’t be able to bring them in. These include:

  • flick knives
  • butterfly knives
  • swordsticks
  • knuckle-dusters
  • any weapon disguised as something else.

You must get permission to bring in items such as tasers, pepper spray and similar items.

Contact the police before you leave, to have your weapons returned.

Leaving NZ

The person in charge of your plane must tell us you’re leaving. There are no MPI requirements for leaving.

When you leave, you must give us:

  • a completed NZCS 337: Border Cash Report (DOC 332 KB) if anyone on board is carrying NZ$10,000 or more cash or equivalent
  • a valid passport or other travel document for each person on board
  • a clearance from your last port of departure.

When we clear you, we'll give you a Form C3A: Certificate of Clearance (DOC 240 KB). You may then leave NZ. 

Approved airports

If you’re leaving from an approved airport, you must tell us at least 2 – and preferably 24 – hours before you depart.

Complete Form C2A: Advance notice of departure (aircraft) (DOC 150 KB) and email it to itocops@customs.govt.nz.

Non-approved airports

If you can’t leave from a Customs airport, or you’re arriving outside working hours, you must get approval at least 5 working days in advance.