Yachts

Yachts and other small vessels have to provide specific information before coming into or leaving NZ waters.


 NZ waters are all water within 12 nautical miles of our coastline.

Yachts and small craft

Each person aboard must have:

  • A valid passport, certificate of identity or other travel document
  • A visa (if required). For more information visit www.immigration.govt.nz
  • Evidence of funds of NZ$400 per month, if living on board a yacht
  • An outward ticket (or evidence of of sufficient funds to buy an outward ticket) if departing by commercial transport. 

Before you arrive

You must send us an NZCS 340: Advance Notice of Arrival (DOC 284 KB) at least 48 hours before you arrive in NZ waters.

You can send the form to:

Before arrival into NZ, you must also have completed:

When you arrive

When you arrive in NZ waters, tell us by calling Maritime Radio on 1 of these frequencies:

  • 4125 kHz
  • 6215 kHz
  • VHF Ch16.

You must also display the international Q-flag and report to a Customs port of entry.

Where to arrive

You must arrive at an authorised port of entry, where you will be met by Customs and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) officers, and you can’t let any people or items off the craft until we have cleared you.

The current ports of entry and contact numbers are:

  • Opua  029 602 1669
  • Whangarei  029 250 9305
  • Auckland (yachts >24m at Viaduct and Silo Marinas, and recreational craft <24m at Westhaven Marina) 029 296 1375
  • Tauranga  07 572 8899
  • Picton  03 548 2099
  • Lyttleton  03 328 8198

If you arrive somewhere other than a Customs port of entry, you must immediately report to a Customs or Police officer. 

Restricted and prohibited items

You are not allowed to bring some items into NZ, and some require approval to import, including firearms and weapons.

You must declare any firearms when you arrive. NZ Police will take them and stow them safely until you leave NZ.

Infringement Notices

You may receive a $400 fine if you break the law, do not comply with Customs requirements or fail to declare prohibited goods, or items exceeding customs allowances.

Border clearance levy

Each person must pay a Border Clearance Levy of  NZ$15.79 when they arrive and NZ$2.94 when they leave NZ.

We will send an invoice to the email address you give us on your advance notice of arrival form. You have until the 20th day of the following month to pay. If you pay late, we will charge you:

  • 8% on the remaining amount
  • 2% for every month you don’t pay.

Leaving NZ

You must leave NZ waters from an authorised port of entry. Getting the completed departure forms to us three days before your departure will help avoid processing delays.  We must receive your forms no less than 4 hours before you leave:

If you entered on a temporary import entry, you will also need to complete:

Maritime NZ also require an inspection safety certificate from Yachting NZ (search Safety Inspections), if your craft is registered in NZ.

Ensure you have passports for every person leaving on the craft, and a recent photograph of the craft which can be used for identifying it.
Completed departure forms must be sent to us at least four hours before you leave.

When we have approved your clearance, you must leave immediately and directly, or you risk a fine or prosecution.

The only exceptions are in an emergency, or with our permission. Contact us on immediately:

If the situation isn’t life-threatening, but you still need to pause your journey, you must get our permission first. An officer will tell you what other requirements you must meet.

Taking duty free items out of NZ

You can only load duty-free consumable items when you’re about to depart NZ. The duty-free business or ship’s providore must email us the completed requisition form no more than 12 hours before you leave.

Keep receipts for any duty-free purchases you’re claiming, as we may inspect them.

You can only load duty-free consumable items when you’re about to depart NZ. You can do this through a duty-free business or ships providore, who must email NZCS 325: Requisition for Ships Stores (DOC 147 KB) to us at ships.stores@customs.govt.nz. They must email us no more than 12 hours before you leave.

Keep receipts for any duty-free purchases you’re claiming, as we may inspect them.

Extending your stay, chartering or permanently importing your yacht

Visitors to New Zealand may import a yacht or small craft for up to 2 years without paying duty and GST or a financial security provided they meet all of the following criteria:

  • they are a permanent resident of a country other than New Zealand
  • the yacht or small craft will not be sold or offered for sale in New Zealand, or destroyed or given away without permission from Customs
  • the yacht or small craft will not be used commercially for hire, transport of cargo or carrying passengers.

Note: the qualifying criteria may be extended, on a case by case basis, to craft used for charter, provided the charter work is less than 65 per cent of the vessel’s time in New Zealand.

If the requirements above are not met, we will require a financial security and the yacht or small craft must be exported within 12 months.

If you’re moving to NZ, you may be able to import your craft without paying Customs duty and GST.

Contact us

  • yachts@customs.govt.nz
  • Calling from NZ: 0800 428 786
  • Calling from Australia: 1 800 301 861
  • Calling from overseas: +64 9 927 8036

Further information