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New Zealand Paper Arrival Card Goes Digital

Travellers arriving into Wellington or Christchurch airports now have the option to complete a digital arrival declaration instead of a paper Passenger Arrival Card.

Customs is leading the new digital declaration, working alongside the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (Immigration New Zealand), the Ministry for Primary Industries (Biosecurity New Zealand), and the Ministry of Health.

New Zealand Traveller Declaration (NZTD) Senior Responsible Owner, Sharon May, says “The NZTD will be an important tool to support border agencies protecting Aotearoa New Zealand. The declaration helps travellers understand and get ready for New Zealand border entry requirements before they arrive.”

Stuart Anderson, Deputy Director General, Biosecurity New Zealand says “The NZTD will be a boost for biosecurity. It will give better access to data to assess future risks. It will also provide a new way to pass on biosecurity information to arriving international travellers, and it will enable us to focus on higher-risk passengers.”

Sharon May says “The introduction of NZTD will be a phased approach starting with Christchurch and Wellington international Airports. This ensures airlines, airports and border operational staff are best supported to manage travellers in an efficient way – particularly with July being a peak travel period for New Zealand with the FIFA Women’s World Cup and school holidays.

“Travellers arriving into Queenstown Airport will be able to complete a digital declaration from 20 July. Travellers arriving into Auckland International Airport will be able to complete a digital declaration later in August 2023. This means most incoming travellers for the FIFA World Cup will continue to complete a paper Passenger Arrival Card.

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A paper declaration form will continue to be available. Travellers can also ask someone to help them complete the digital declaration on their behalf.”

Additional information for maritime travellers to New Zealand

  • Travellers arriving on a small craft (such as yachts and recreational vessels) or specialist vessels will be able to complete a digital declaration from late August 2023.
  • Crew that are permanently disembarking a cargo vessel and all arriving passengers from those vessels will be able to complete a digital declaration from late August 2023.
  • Travellers (including crew) arriving by cruise ships or on a New Zealand Defence Force vessel will be able to complete a digital declaration later in 2023.

FAQs

Who needs to complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration?

Everyone arriving in New Zealand needs to complete an arrival declaration – either a digital declaration or a Passenger Arrival Card. An arrival declaration needs to be completed for children and babies as well.

Do travellers need to upload any documents such as proof of vaccination?

No. When the New Zealand Traveller Declaration is introduced, travellers won’t need to upload any documents such as proof of vaccination status or print anything out.

When you can submit your digital declaration?

The earliest a traveller can submit their declaration is 24 hours before departing for New Zealand.

How long does it take to complete a digital declaration?

From our recent trial with more than 1,900 passengers, we found that around three quarters of people completed the declaration within 10 minutes.

If a person doesn’t complete their digital arrival declaration before they board the plane can they still travel to New Zealand?

Yes. Travellers can submit and make changes to their digital declaration up until they reach passport control in New Zealand.

A paper arrival declaration form will continue to be handed out on board flights and accepted at the border for those who do not complete a digital declaration.

What are the safeguards for travellers who do their best to complete a correct declaration from being given an infringement notice?

Under the Customs and Excise (Arrival Information) Amendment Act 2023 travellers will have a defence if the traveller took reasonable steps to make sure their declaration is materially correct. In other words, the error must be something more than a trivial mistake.

In addition, Customs officers will have discretion to consider if a warning is sufficient rather than enforcement action.

If someone helps me do my declaration and they get information wrong what happens to me?

A traveller is legally responsible for any declaration that they make or that someone else makes on their behalf. A traveller has the opportunity to update their digital arrival declaration if they need to change any answers which someone else gave on the traveller’s behalf.

What if I have already submitted my declaration but my situation changes, such as purchasing alcohol or tobacco products, or I have food that I haven’t included on my digital declaration?

A traveller can update their digital arrival declaration if they need to change any answers. The traveller can also talk to a border officer to let them know that they wish to change their declaration to record such things as any food, cash over NZ$10,000, or other declarable item(s) the traveller may not have included in their existing digital arrival declaration.

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