Skip to main content
Page load in progress

Recreational vessels, yachts and small craft

Find out about the requirements for all owners, operators, agents, passengers and crew of recreational vessels, yachts and small craft, including superyachts and pleasure craft arriving and departing New Zealand.


New Zealand's maritime border

New Zealand's borders are now fully open to visitors from anywhere in the world. 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.

If passengers or crew enter New Zealand, they will need to follow local COVID-19 health settings which include a COVID-19 test if symptomatic, or if deemed a household contact, self-isolation for positive cases, and wearing a mask in some situations.

For more information visit the COVID-19 website.

An Advanced Notice of Arrival (ANA) must be completed along with other mandatory documentation for regular processing purposes.

Before you travel

You need to comply with all requirements to enter New Zealand. Follow these simple steps to prepare for your travel.

All passengers and crew on board recreational vessels, yachts and small craft are required to meet the following requirements before entering New Zealand:

Each person aboard must have:

  1. A valid passport. Check its expiry date to make sure it meets the rules for acceptable travel documents. If you are a New Zealand citizen and you need to renew your passport, make sure you allow plenty of time before you travel. Apply for or renew your passport at passports.govt.nz or check that your passport is acceptable for travel to New Zealand on the Immigration NZ website.
  2. A visa (if required). Travellers other than New Zealanders and Australians require a current visa or NZeTA to enter New Zealand. For more information visit Immigration NZ's website.
  3. Evidence of funds of NZ$400 per month, if living onboard a yacht
  4. An outward ticket (or evidence of sufficient funds to buy an outward ticket) if departing by commercial transport

Mandatory documentation to complete

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

Documentation should be supplied in the following accepted formats:

- .pdf
- Word document
- .jpg (photographs accepted if content is legible)

1. Complete the Advance Notice of Arrival (ANA) for all craft travelling to NZ as required under the Customs and Excise Act 2018

The small craft/yachts Advance Notice of Arrival (ANA) form (DOC 284 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 mandatory legal document required 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.

Other documents to supply with ANA

The following documents must be provided and emailed with the ANA to yachts@customs.govt.nz:

  • Scanned copy or photograph of bio-page of passport for all passengers and crew on board
  • Evidence of Value e.g. Bill of Sale (Purchase agreement with sale price)
  • Registration document
  • Current Insurance document
  • Full Photograph of Craft/Vessel

What to do if your travel plans change after submitting your ANA

If you have submitted your ANA to Customs and your travel plans change, especially if you intend to arrive prior to the ETA stated in Part B of the form; please email yachts@customs.govt.nz and advise us of those changes.  This will ensure that you will be able to be processed efficiently when you arrive.  Ideally this advice should be sent prior to your departure from the last port before New Zealand. You can update your ETA enroute by contacting Maritime Radio by HF or VHF (when within range).

2. C4G/Temporary Import Entry for Vessels arriving on a Temporary basis

Yachts that arrive in New Zealand on a temporary basis (up to 24 months) may qualify to be entered on a C4G/Temporary Import Entry.  We will require specific documents to ensure Customs can clear your vessel on a Temporary Import Entry (TIE).

Please note, if the required documents listed on this page are not provided this could delay the clearance of your vessel upon arrival.

Conditions for qualifying for a C4G/TIE

  • The vessel owners are a resident of a country other than NZ, and the vessel is in NZ for bona fide tourism purposes
  • The vessel is in New Zealand for a maximum of 24 months
  • The vessel will not be sold or offered for sale or
  • otherwise disposed of in New Zealand without the permission of Customs; and
  • the vessel will not be used in a commercial capacity for hire, or for the transport of cargo or the carriage of passengers for reward while in New Zealand.
  • The skipper/owner must export the vessel before the expiry of the 24 months period. If the vessel is NOT exported, the skipper/owner will undertake to pay Customs the amount of duty and GST calculated on the vessel at time of importation.

A C4G/TIE form will be provided on arrival into New Zealand for completion.

Note: this form is a sample only and cannot be presented to Customs.

If you are intending to sell your vessel while it is under a C4G/TIE, permission must first be given by Customs.

If you have any questions please email service.delivery@customs.govt.nz

3. Complete the Inward Report

The Inward Report form (PDF 231 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, passengers and crew on board, craft details such as type of vessel, radio frequencies for Maritime NZ, other chattels on board and the ownership of the craft. The form must be completed in respect of all vessels and within 24 hours of arriving at a Customs place and be handed to Customs at the port.

4. Complete the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Masters Declaration

All vessels must comply with Biosecurity requirements for entry into NZ. The MPI Masters Declaration form (PDF 201 KB) must be completed by the master of the vessel. This declaration must be completed at time of arrival and handed to MPI/Customs at the port.

5. Complete the Border Cash Report (if applicable)

The Border Cash report (DOC 332 KB) or the online Border Cash Report form must be completed if anyone is carrying NZ$10,000 or more in cash or equivalent – you must declare it. The printed form is to be completed by the individual/s bringing the cash into NZ. This declaration must be completed at time of arrival and handed to Customs at the port. If you have completed the online Border Cash Report you will receive an ID receipt for presenting to Customs at the port. Note: if you choose to use the online Border Cash Report form, this must be carried out within 72 hours prior of your travel.

6. Complete the Passenger Arrival Card (on arrival)

A passenger arrival card is an entry requirement for every person on board. It is to be completed by all individuals arriving into New Zealand. 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.

Pay the border processing levy

Each person must pay a Border Processing 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 and 2% for every month you don’t pay.

Restricted and prohibited items

You are not allowed to bring some items into NZ, and some require approval to import, including firearms and certain types of weapons. For more information visit the Prohibited and restricted items webpage.

You must declare any firearms prior to your arrival on the ANA.

Voyage and preparing for arrival

Activate your AIS transponder (or other observable satellite tracking system) prior to departure. Keep it on for the duration of the journey so your movements can be verified.

Make sure your vessel is properly outfitted and provisioned before undertaking your voyage. In addition to planning your travel time to New Zealand, remember to plan for enough provisions, power, fuel and waste management aboard your vessel in case you test positive for COVID-19 and are required to self-isolate on-board.

If anyone on board has or is suspected of having an infectious disease, you must fly the international Q flag and notify health authorities.

Ports of arrival for recreational vessels, yachts and small craft

Recreational vessels, yachts and small craft can once again arrive at seven ports and marinas in New Zealand.

Since 2020, arrivals have been restricted to entering New Zealand via Opua in the Bay of Islands so that COVID-19 restrictions could be managed effectively to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The ports/marinas that vessels now arrive at are:

  • Opua
  • Whangarei
  • Auckland (Westhaven marina)
  • Auckland Harbour Viaduct marina and Silo Park marina
  • Tauranga (Vessel works precinct)
  • Picton
  • Lyttelton

All seven ports and marinas are Customs-controlled Areas (CCA’s) and Places of First Arrival (PoFA) for MPI.

Ensure you meet biosecurity requirements

Certain food items such as fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and poultry are not allowed into New Zealand. Visit MPI's website for more information about what is required for biosecurity clearance and read the fact sheet Clearance procedures for yachts and pleasure craft (PDF 849 KB).

When you arrive

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

  • 2182 kHz
  • 4125 kHz
  • 6215 kHz
  • 8291 kHz
  • 12290 kHz
  • 16420 kHz
  • VHF Ch 16

COVID-19 update for Private Yachts on C4G/Temporary Import entry (TIE)

Arriving yachts that are here on a temporary basis may qualify to be entered on a C4G/Temporary Import Entry.  

In 2020 under COVID-19 restrictions many vessels were unable to depart New Zealand before the expiration of their TIEs (Temporary Import Entry). The decision was made for Customs to give a blanket extension to all affected by TIEs to stay in New Zealand.

A further extension has been given until 30 June 2023.

Yacht owners must continue to abide by the conditions set out in their C4G. Any breach of these conditions will invalidate the C4G and therefore this further extension..

If you have any questions please email service.delivery@customs.govt.nz

In the subject line please put ‘Yacht Team’ and the ‘name of the vessel’.

While you are in New Zealand

Get to know the COVID-19 public health settings

If passengers or crew enter New Zealand, they will need to follow local COVID-19 health settings which include a COVID-19 test if symptomatic, or if deemed a household contact, self-isolation for positive cases, and wearing a mask in some situations.

Visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website to find out about current requirements while in New Zealand.

If you feel unwell while in New Zealand

If you feel unwell, you can call Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453 for advice, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If using an international SIM, you will need to call +64 9 358 5453

If you need urgent medical help call 111.

Leaving New Zealand

You must depart New Zealand from a designated Customs place. If you wish to depart from a port that is not a Customs place you must have obtained prior approval from Customs.

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: Form C2B: Advance notice of departure (small craft) (DOC 165 KB)

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

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.

When we have approved your clearance, you must depart immediately and must not go to any other place within NZ or you risk a fine or prosecution.

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

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.

Passengers must complete a Border Cash Report if they are carrying NZ$10,000 or more in cash or equivalent – they must declare it on the NZCS 337: Border Cash Report (DOC 332 KB) or the online Border Cash Report form. This form is to be completed by the individual moving the cash out of NZ. 

Remember to check the COVID-19 entry requirements for the jurisdiction you’re travelling to next. For more information visit COVID-19's Travelling from New Zealand webpage.

Taking duty free items out of NZ

You can only load duty-free consumable items when you’re about to depart New Zealand. 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 New Zealand. 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 sailing craft for up to 2 years without paying duty and GST or a cash security provided they meet all of the following criteria:

  • they are a permanent resident of a country other than New Zealand
  • the yacht or sailing craft will not be sold or offered for sale in New Zealand, or destroyed or given away without permission from Customs
  • the yacht or sailing 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

Further information

See something suspicious along the coastline?

Help protect New Zealand by reporting suspicious activity that could indicate cross-border crime. Our coastlines are part of New Zealand’s border, and criminals can use them to bring drugs into our country or undertake other illegal activity. If you’re near the coast, be alert to the signs of cross-border crime.

If you notice yachts or boats meeting at sea, or landing in an unusual area, or transferring objects between vessels, you may have witnessed something illegal. People or vehicles in unusual or isolated areas near the coast – especially activity that looks rushed, nervous or secretive – can also be a sign of crime.

If it doesn’t seem right, report it.

Find out more on our Border Protect webpage.

Report now by calling the 24-hour confidential hotline - 0800 WE PROTECT (0800 937 768)

Penalties

You may incur penalties if you breach New Zealand law, for example by not complying with public health requirements or Customs’ requirements, or failing to declare restricted goods or goods that exceed Customs’ allowances.

Disclaimer

This information is a general guide only. It should not be relied on if specific advice is needed in relation to your particular circumstances. You should either approach the specific New Zealand government agency concerned or seek independent legal advice.