Arrival and Departure information for Marine Crafts

Advance Notice of Arrival 

For reporting purposes, marine craft are considered to have arrived in the Cook Islands when they enter the outer limits of its territorial sea (12 nautical miles measured seaward from the low water mark or entrance points of a harbour). Marine Craft enter the Cook Islands regardless of whether the craft berths, moors, anchors, or stops at any place within the cook islands.

The person in charge of the marine craft en route to the cook islands must provide the following information at least 48 hours prior to the expected arrival time in the cook islands:

  • Details of the craft including the type of craft, gross tonnage, name/identity of the craft, voyage number, international maritime organisation number, country of registration, registration number and radio call sign;
  • The estimated date and time of arrival of the craft into the Cook Islands;
  • The Customs Port of Entry or the approved port of entry at which the craft will arrive;
  • Details of the craft's voyage including the originating port, the next intended overseas port, and every port in the Cook Islands that the craft intends to visit including the estimated date of arrival at each of those ports;
  • the number of passengers and crew on board the craft
  • The full names, dates of birth, nationalities and passport details of all passengers and crew on board the craft; and
  • Details of the port at which each passenger and crew on board the craft embarked and the port or place at which each passenger and crew is expected to disembark.

Marine craft carrying cargo must provide the additional information required by regulation 14 of theCustoms Revenue Border and Protection Regulations 2012.

Failure to provide an Advance Notice of Arrival is a criminal offence punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine not exceeding $100,000. The provision of erroneous or false information to Customs is also a criminal offence punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding $50,000. Customs officers may also elect to detain/seize your craft pending prosecution.

Advance notices of arrival must be provided to customs using pdfForm 29 - Advance_Notice Of Arrival Small Craft pdf83.73 KB 

Advance Notices of Arrival must be provided to Customs by facsimile (+682 29465) or by email (customs.craft@cookislands.gov.ck) using the file name format [ANA, name of craft, voyage or sail number if available, estimated time of arrival into the Cook Islands]

i.e Small Craft- ANA, Banana Split, 30/11/2014

Ships and Boats Other Than Small Craft- ANA, Liloa, voyage25, 30/10/2014

You must also notify Cook Islands Bio-Security and Immigration Cook Islands at the first port at which the craft is to arrive at, or the Bio-secuirty/Immigration Office nearest to that port.

Displaying international Q-Flag

All Marine craft must clearly display their international Q-flag when they have entered the Cook Islands' territorial sea (12 nautical miles measured seaward from the low water mark or entrance points of a harbour).

Reporting to a Nominated Customs Port of Entry

All Marine craft arriving in the Cook Islands must first report to one of the following nominated Customs Port's of Entry:

Port Location
Avarua Wharf Rarotonga Island
Avatiu Wharf Rarotonga Island
Arutanga Wharf Aitutaki Island
Taunganui Wharf Atiu Island
Tukao Wharf Manihiki Island
Tauhunu Wharf Manihiki Island
Omoka Wharf Penryhn Island
Yato Wharf Pukapuka Island

Marine Craft Intending to Arrive at or Depart from Suwarrow Island

Suwarrow Island is not a nominated Customs Port of Entry. Marine craft intending to arrive at or depart from Suwarrow Island MUST obtain authorisation from the Comptroller of Customs. To obtain this authorisation, an application to the Comptroller of Customs must be submitted using pdfCICS Form 27 (Cook Islands Border Agencies Application for Marine Craft to Arrive at or Depart From a Place Outsite of a Designated Customs Port)300.75 KB. This form once completed can be emailed to: customs.applications@cookislands.gov.ck or faxed to (+682) 29465.

The Comptroller of Customs will consult with the Ministry of Agriculture, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Transport and the Cook Islands Police before granting an authorisation to arrive at Suwarrow Island, and has the right to deny the application.

Failure to arrive at a nominated Customs Port of Entry without authorisation is a criminal offence punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine not exceeding $100. Customs officers may also elect to detain/seize your craft pending prosecution.

Arrival at Nominated Customs Port of Entry or Other Authorised Place

Marine Craft will be met by Customs, Quarantine and Immigration officers upon arrival at the Nominated Customs Port of Entry or Other Authorised Place. All persons and goods must remain on board untill the craft has been entered or a Customs officer directs otherwise. The person in charge of a craft authorised to arrive at Suwarrow Island must report immediately to Customs upon arrival.

The Following documents must be presented on arrival:

  1. Completed inward report pdfForm 36 - Inward Report -Ships and boats other than small craft 236.42 KB or pdfForm 38 - Inward Report - Small craft236.6 KB;
  2. Completed Cook Islands Passenger Arrival Card for each person on board;
  3. Valid passport for each person on board;
  4. Completed Border Cash Report (if required);
  5. Completed passenger list;
  6. Completed crew list;
  7. Completed controlled drugs and firearms list;
  8. Completed Crew effects list pdf(CICS Form 6)234.95 KB - this only applies to marine craft where arrival cards are not required to be completed and presented for processing; and
  9. Details of the last port of clearance.

Immigration Requirements

Customs will provide immigration services on arrival in the Cook Islands under the authorisation of the Cook Islands Immigration Department. For more information relating to immigration formalities, please contact an Immigration officer on the following contacts:

Cook Islands Immigration Office

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration

Ph: (+682 ) 29347

After Hours (+682 ) 55050 or 55532

www.mfai.gov.ck

Charges and Customs Duties

Marine craft entering the Cook Islands are subject to import clearance requirements and must pay Customs duty, including import Value Added Tax ('VAT'). However, craft owned and operated by a bona fide vistor, and in the Cook Islands temporarily, may be granted a Temporary Import Entry (TIE) with Customs duty and Import VAT charges being deferred. Customs will generally align the period of the TIE with the length of your visitor's visa, or 12 months whichever is less. Applications for extensions to your visitors permit are to be made to the Cook Islands Immigration Service. If your visitors permit is extended you may apply to Customs for a similar extension to your TIE. The extension will depend on Customs being satisfied that your craft continues to meet the criteria for a temporary entry.

You should note the conditions applying to TIEs include:

  • Agreement to export your craft by the expiry date of the TIE;
  • An undertaking that the craft will not be sold, offered for sale otherwise disposed of in the Cook Islands;
  • Immediate advice to Customs at the Port of Arrival of any change to the Masters or craft's presence in the Cook Islands; and
  • Possible requirements to provide a security by way of cash deposit or letter of undertaking.

VAT on purchases while in the Cook Islands

Most goods and services supplied in the Cook Islands attract VAT. However, some taxable supplies are zero rated which means VAT is charged at a rate of 0 percent rather than the standard rate of 15%. Goods supplied to a person for consumption or use outside the Cook Islands (such as repairs or maintenance on overseas marine craft) may be considered zero rate taxable supplies. All queries regarding VAT should be referred to:

Tax Division

Revenue Management Division

Ministry of Finance and Economic Management

Ph (+682 )29365

http://www.mfem.gov.ck/tax

Firearms and Weapons

The importation of firearms is strictly controlled in the Cook Islands. All Firearms must be declared to Customs on arrival of the craft from overseas. Firearms onboard a craft will be detained and placed in safe keeping by the Cook Islands Police Department who will hold them untill the crafts departure.

The importation of weapons such as flick knives, swordsticks, knuckle-dusters, and any weapon designed to give the appearance of another article, is prohibited.

The importation of prohibited goods is a criminal offence punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or a fine not exceeding $100,000

Marine Craft Departures

You should advise Customs at least 72 hours before your intended departure to ensure that there is no delay.

Under no circumstances is a marine craft to depart for an overseas place without having first obtained a Certificate of Clearance from Customs.

The following documents must be presented to Customs in order to obtain a Certificate of Clearance:

All marine craft departing for an overseas place from the Cook Islands must depart from a Nominateed Customs Port of Entry as specified in the previous table. A Customs officer will attend at the agreed time and place of departure. On completion of Customs and Immigration formalities, marine craft must depart immediately from the Customs Nominated Port of Entry to the intended overseas destination.

Marine craft intending to depart from Suwarrow Island to an overseas place must obtain authorisation from the Comptroller of Customs. To obtain this authorisation, an application to the Comptroller of Customs must be submitted using pdfForm 27 - Cook Island Border Agencies application for marine craft to arrive at or depart from a place outside of a designated Customs Port403.27 KBThis Form once completed can be emailed to: customs.applications@cookislands.gov.ck or faxed to (+682) 29465.

Under no circumstances is the person in charge of a marine craft interding to depart to an overseas place to go to any other place in the Cook Islands following their departure from a nominated Customs Port of Entry or other authorised place. If, due to extenuating circumstances, you are required to do so, you must immediately advise the Cook Islands Customs Service on our 24 hour on call phone number (+682) 55368.

Duty Free Stores and Ships

Duty free stores are stores which may, under certain conditions, be shipped from the Cook Islands free of Customs duty. Prior to Departure, you can arrange for duty free stores through a duty free business which must submit a requisition form to Customs Service for approval no later than 72 hours prior to departure. Receipts must be available for inspection by Customs at the time of your departure.

Ship stores are any goods (including tabacco and alcohol) for use or consumption on board marine craft by passengers or crew, or for the service of a craft. Ships stores can be shipped duty free under the condition that they are entered for export and not removed from the craft prior to its departure. The amount of ships stores that can be loaded duty free will be determind by Customs based on the number of crew and passengers on board, the duration of the voyage and the amount of stores already on board.

Return of Firearms

If any firearms were detained on your arrival, you must contact Customs to arrange for them to be delivered to your craft prior to your departure. Make sure you allow sufficient time for the firearm(s) to be transported to your Port of Departure, particularly if this is different from your port of arrival.

To contact Cook Islands Police Phone (+682) 22499

Checklist

  • Arrange return of firearms;
  • Purchase duty free stores (if required) for delivery;
  • Confirm time and place of departure 72 hours before departure;
  • Complete departure cards and have passports ready for inspection;
  • Complete outward report;
  • Supply relevant copy of Temporary Entry Form;
  • Have any duty free goods ands receipts available for Customs inspection;
  • Complete departure process at agreed time and place;
  • Obtain Certificate of Clearance from a Customs officer; and
  • Depart immediately for overseas destination.

For Further information regarding Customs formalities for marine craft contact us on the following:

Cook Islands Customs Service ('CUSTOMS')

Ministry of Finance and Economic Management

Avarua, Rarotonga Cook islands

PO BOX 120

PH: (+682) 29365

FAX: (+682) 29465

Email:customs.info@cookislands.gov.ck

Downloads

pdfArrival of Marine Craft in the Cook Islands - Fact Sheet 2236.09 KB

pdfDeparture of Marine Craft from the Cook Islands - Fact Sheet 3225.64 KB