Arrival Clearance Into New Zealand

Before departing for NZ

All arriving vessels must email an  Advance notice of arrival to New Zealand Customs Service at least 48 hours before arrival.  Email

Before moving between countries to prevent the spread of underwater pests. Clean your hull, keel and hull fittings of fouling. Wash out places where marine organisms are able to live, such as water inlets and outlets, anchor wells and cockpit areas (any places where seawater is retained).  Vessels will only be allowed to arrive into NZ with a slime layer and goose barnacles. If likely to have more biofouling than the allowed threshold, you will be asked for documents for biofouling maintenance records and the operational history. In some cases, divers may inspect the vessel underwater. If there is too much biofouling MPI may: reduce your New Zealand itinerary, ask you to clean your vessel offshore using an approved treatment or within 24 hours by an approved provider in New Zealand. These measures will be at the expense of the vessel owner or operator.   

Download :     New Zealand's rule on clean hulls   


Once inside New Zealand waters (12 nautical miles from the coast), the international Q-flag must be flown. Please ensure now that all rubbish is kept on board - either contained in closed, leak-proof containers or sealed in strong plastic bags. The Biosecurity officer will dispose of these on clearance at no charge.

When nearing New Zealand, radio contact is to be made by calling Maritime Radio on 4125 kHz or 6215Khs or Whangarei Harbour Radio on VHF Ch 16. Customs will be informed and you will be directed to the nearest Quarantine  port of entry. For Whangarei it is in Marsden Cove Marina just after the oil refinery at 35*49.839’S 174*28.530E
Do not anchor in New Zealand waters before customs clearance. In case of emergency inform customs and possibly the NZ Coastguard for rescue via radio Channel 16. 

You will be given the necessary forms on arrival, but you may consider giving attention to the issue enroute by viewing the documents involved below:

On Arrival 

When you tie up at your port of arrival. All people, animals and goods must remain onboard until clearance has been completed, unless there is an emergency situation.     

The Customs officer will carry out the Immigration process as well for you onboard. You will be asked to fill in the the required documentation and to show a valid passport from each person onboard and your last port clearance. Most Nationalities will be given a 3 month standard visitors visa on arrival which can be extended easily for another 6 months. The marina office has the required forms for visa extensions.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (Biosecurity) staff will come aboard and ask you to complete the Masters declaration and sign it in their presence . They will carry out an inspection of the vessel, examine any animals on board, remove the vessel's rubbish, examine any bicycles and sports gear and ask for specific information about the crew, goods aboard and voyage history.

You will be asked to declare all food and 'at risk' goods. Declare these on the Masters Declaration if they are the galley stores or belong to the vessel generally and on Passenger Arrival Cards if they are goods being brought in by a specific person. If you are uncertain about anything, declare it!

All risk goods will be removed for destruction by the inspector unless you request items such as wooden items to be treated at your expense and returned to you. 

Yachts normally receive full biosecurity clearance that allows them to cruise freely in New Zealand waters.

A border clearance fee of $21.57 per person will be invoiced via an email for payment afterwards. 

See the Customs website for more details such as Firearms restictions, immigration contacts.

Local contacts

Here are some local contacts to help you get sorted quickly.

Calling Tips: When calling from outside New Zealand, use the international code 64 and take off the zero before the area code 9. If you are in Whangarei and using a mobile phone, dial 09 first then the phone number.

Coastguard VHF CH. 16 & 83 FOR THE WHANGAREI AREA.
Customs Freephone 0800 428 786
Whangarei Harbour Radio Ch 18
MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (Quarantine) (09) 437 2822
Marsden Cove Marina VHF CH. 18    (09) 432 7740 
Whangarei Marina & Bridge Control VHF CH. 18
(09) 438 2033
Riverside Drive Marina (O9) 438 2248

Public Hospital


(09) 430 4100

(09) 438 4444, (09) 438 3377

Weather VHF Ch 20
(09) 438 8050
Whangarei Police (09) 430 4500
Emergency Services 111
Bus services to Auckland
Visitor information Centres
  • The Hub Info Centre Town Basin (09) 430 1188
  • Whangarei i-SITE (09) 438 1079
Library Rust Avenue (09) 430 7206
Northland Regional Council Marine radio stations

Radio Passage Scheds with Gulf Harbour radio. 

8752 kHz or 8779 or 8297 kHz.  (In that order depending on interference).
Monday-Saturday  UTC 1915. NZST 7:15am       May 1 - November 30 each year.

Providing current weather analysis and forecasts for cruising yachts and fisherman in the Southwest Pacific

Why should you sail in? Watch the video!