1. Background

Our partnership with airlines flying into New Zealand is important to us. As an island state, airlines provide critical ‘connectivity’ for New Zealand with the rest of the world – both for travellers and for goods. We have been particularly fortunate in recent years to have strong growth in visitor numbers and this has been made possible by the strong and effective support from the airline network we have in place. The strong growth we have been experiencing over the last few years is forecast to continue and, whilst welcome, also needs to be managed well – both to preserve and protect the visitor/exporter experience but also to ensure any risks to New Zealand are protected against. Reflecting this, we want to ensure that the summer season runs smoothly at our gateway airports, and that the border processes flow as well as possible for you and your passengers.

Officials have undertaken the exercise of compiling key information that airlines operating to New Zealand need to be aware of to meet the requirements of Immigration New Zealand, New Zealand Customs Service and the Ministry of Primary Industries. We would be most grateful if you could again look at the material below to ensure your operating systems and personnel are acting in accordance with these requirements. If there are any questions about these procedures, we have supplied contact names below – and the nominated individuals would be more than happy to talk through any of the matters mentioned to ensure the great cooperation we have in place with airlines continues.

We will be ensuring that new airlines applying for a licence to operate services to New Zealand are provided with this information, but are also taking the opportunity to remind existing carriers of their obligations.

2. Immigration New Zealand

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is responsible for the administration of immigration related legislation in New Zealand. Immigration legislation provides for obligations that carriers operating in New Zealand are required to comply with.

Under the Immigration Act 2009, carriers have particular immigration responsibilities when operating flights to and from New Zealand.

The Advance Passenger Processing (APP) system is currently in place for persons travelling to New Zealand. All airlines must obtain and provide APP information to INZ for every person intending to board a flight for travel to (or through) New Zealand. This includes both passengers and crew members. APP information must be provided before the flight departs to travel to New Zealand.

Upon submission of APP data, APP boarding directives will be transmitted to the airline. The airline has a responsibility to comply with those boarding directives (including those provided verbally by an immigration officer) and to ensure that no person boards a flight to New Zealand in contravention of a boarding directive.

Carriers must also ensure that all persons boarding a craft that is en-route to or will arrive in New Zealand have the prescribed documentation for immigration purposes. The prescribed documentation is currently:

  1. a passport or certificate of identity
  2. a visa or New Zealand citizen endorsement (where required).

Carriers are only required to physically check for a visa or New Zealand citizenship endorsement where an APP check has not been carried out. In this case the carrier should have applied for and been granted an APP exemption.

Carriers also have an obligation to provide and ensure access to Passenger Name Record (PNR) information to INZ. The provision of PNR information is handled via the New Zealand Customs Service (see below).

Carriers are able to contact INZ 24 hours a day to resolve APP issues, query boarding directives and obtain advice on requirements for travel to New Zealand.

Phone: +64 9 277 1250
Toll free from Australian Airports: 1800 156 260
Email: apsso@mbie.govt.nz

Under the Act, penalties may apply to carriers who fail to meet their obligations. These range from infringement notices through to prosecution action.

Carriers are strongly encouraged to work closely with INZ’s Carrier Relationship Team who can provide training to staff on entry requirements and obligations.

Immigration New Zealand contacts:

contact the Carrier Relationship Team via the below email.
Email: infringement@mbie.govt.nz

3. New Zealand Customs Service

Obligations on airlines under NZ law: Customs and Excise Act 1996

Advice for arrival (section 21 and regulations 12 (A-D) and 13)

The Act requires airlines to provide the following information to Customs not less than two hours before the estimated time of arrival of the aircraft in New Zealand:

  • Voyage details, including nominated place of arrival in New Zealand
  • Crew and passenger information – including advance passenger information in accordance with ICAO recommended standards
  • All cargo on board the aircraft.

Inward Report (Section 26 and regulation 14)

The Act requires airlines to provide the following information to Customs within one hour of arriving at a customs place in New Zealand:

  • Crew and passenger information – including advance passenger infromation in accordance with ICAO recommended standards
  • All cargo on board the aircraft.

The inwards report does not need to duplicate information already provided in the advance notice of arrival.

Passenger Name Record (PNR) data (part 3A Customs and Excise Act 1996, Sections 38D, 38E)

Information must be provided to Customs about border-crossing craft, including number of persons on the craft, seating arrangements and baggage storage details. The airline must provide information that they hold or have access to, when this information is for the purpose of facilitating a border-crossing person’s travel to or from New Zealand, whether or not that travel has occurred, is occurring or will occur. The information required may include, but is not limited to, a list of fields given in section 38E(3)(a)-(g) that are PNR fields.

The Act empowers Customs to specify the form and manner, including electronic formats, in which airlines must provide PNR.  Customs provides the technical infrastructure to receive PNR data on behalf of all New Zealand border sector agencies that are enabled under their legislation to receive it.

Until recently, Customs has reached into airlines’ computer systems through an airline service provider to ‘pull’ the PNR data. Customs has embarked on a project to have airlines ‘push’ PNR data to it for both arriving and departing passengers in the PNRGOV format endorsed by the International Air Transport Association, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, and the World Customs Organisation.

This is largely complete, however there are likely to be some airlines that are unable to meet the deadline – mainly for technical reasons. Customs is working with these airlines to get them on board as soon as possible.

Outwards Reports/Certificates of Clearance (Sections 33 and 34 and regulation 17A)

A Certificate of Clearance is issued by Customs for any given departure of an aircraft when the airline has met its obligations to provide information to Customs within 30 minutes of the scheduled departure of the aircraft from a customs place in New Zealand including:

  • Crew and passenger information - including advance passenger information in accordance with ICAO recommended standards
  • All cargo on board aircraft.

Compliant vs non-compliant airlines

Customs may prosecute airlines for non-compliance with reporting obligations. However, the policy is to instead rely on the regulations administered by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (Immigration New Zealand) to enforce compliance with PNR data provision as these regulations enable infringement notices to be issued for each specific offence.

Contacts in Customs

Overall repsonsibility:

Anne Marie Taggart
Group Manager Border Operations
+64 9 927 8387

PNR Push project:

Craig Chitty
Manager Operations, ITOC
craig.chitty@customs.govt.nz (cc itocops@customs.govt.nz)
+64 9 927 8489

4. Ministry of Primary Industries

Biosecurity sits alongside every arrivals procedure that an airline is required to carry out when entering New Zealand. The purpose of biosecurity is to prevent the introduction of exotic pests and diseases, and is vital in protecting New Zealand’s economy and natural environment. Biosecurity is managed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

MPI expects all airlines to ensure that all operating crew are well informed about biosecurity prior to arriving in New Zealand. Crew can assist by informing passengers about New Zealand’s biosecurity requirements, including by playing MPI’s biosecurity video to passengers on-board. Airline operators must also comply with the biosecurity requirements for aircraft that must be met before or on arrival in New Zealand, including aircraft disinsection.

All passengers and crew must complete a Passenger Arrival Card and declare or dispose of any biosecurity risk items - goods such as food, plants, wooden products, soil, water, outdoor equipment, and animal products. People failing to declare biosecurity risk goods – even by accident – can be instantly fined a $400 infringement fee. Anyone caught deliberately smuggling a prohibited or risk item could be fined up to $100,000, face up to five years in prison, and/or be refused entry.

The MPI website(external link)  provides useful information that can assist airlines in understanding their obligations regarding biosecurity requirements.

Key contact for MPI:

Steve Gilbert
Director, Border Clearance Services
+64 4 894 2520

Please contact the relevant agencies at the contacts listed for further information or if you have any questions.