All marine crafts intending to visit the Cook Islands must proceed to a designated Customs Port of Entry.
Ref: Section 24. Advice of Arrival – Customs Revenue and Border Protection Act 2012.
Cook Islands Customs Port of Entry
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.
Advance notice of arrival must be given to the Cook Islands Customs Service no less than 48 hours before the estimated time of arrival of the vessel.
For Further information regarding Customs formalities for marine craft contact us on the following:
Cook Islands Customs Service
Ministry of Finance and Economic Management
Avarua, Rarotonga Cook islands
Po Box 120
Phone: (+682) 29510
Marine Craft intending to Arrive at or Depart from a Non-Customs Port of Entry
There are only eight active Customs Port of Entry into the Cook Islands which are listed above.
Marine Crafts intending to arrive or depart from a Non-Customs Port of Entry (a port or island not listed in the table above), you MUST obtain authorization from the Comptroller of Customs.
Example of Non-Customs Port of Entry:
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 the Cook Islands Customs Service Form 27. This form once completed can be emailed to: email@example.com.
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.
Arrival and Departure Information for Marine Crafts
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 harbor).
Marine Crafts enter the Cook Islands regardless of whether the craft berths, moors, anchors, or stops at any place within the Cook Islands.
Customs Revenue and Border Protection Regulations 2012 - Regulation 17: Period of advance notice of arrival
For the purposes of section 24(1) (a) of the Act, the period of advance notice required to be given is— “…(a) in the case of a ship, not less than 48 hours before the estimated time of arrival of the ship in 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:
− 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 the Customs Revenue Border and Protection Regulations 2012.
Advance Notice of Arrival (ANA)
Please use the following email format:
Name of craft
Voyage or sail number (if available)
Estimated time of arrival into the Cook Islands
Small Craft – ANA, Banana Split, 30/11/2014
Ships and Boats other than Small Craft – ANA, Liloa, Voyage 25, 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-Security/Immigration Office nearest to that port.
Failure to provide an Advance Notice of Arrival
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.
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 until 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.
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. For more information contact:
Cook Islands Police
Phone: +(682) 22499
Duty Free Stores and Ships
Duty Free Stores
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 tobacco 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 determined 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.
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 harbor).
Arrival at a 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 Authorized Place. All persons and goods must remain on board until the craft has been entered or a Customs officer directs otherwise.
The person in charge of a craft authorized to arrive at Suwarrow Island must report immediately to Customs upon arrival. The Following documents must be presented on arrival:
Completed Cook Islands Passenger Arrival Card for each person on board;
Valid passport for each person on board;
Completed Border Cash Report (if required);
Completed passenger list;
Completed crew list;
Completed controlled drugs and firearms list;
Completed Crew effects list: Cook Islands Customs Service Form 6 - this only applies to marine craft where arrival cards are not required to be completed and presented for processing; and
Details of the last port of clearance.
Charges and Customs Duties
Please be advised there are entry clearance fees to be paid this includes:
Customs Clearance Officer’s time.
Other border agency fees: Immigration, Health, and Biosecurity.
Departure clearance fees:
Customs Clearance Officer’s time.
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:
Completed Passenger Departure cards and passports for every person departing on the craft; and
All marine craft departing for an overseas place from the Cook Islands must depart from a Nominated Customs Port of Entry as specified in the table at the top of page. 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. Under no circumstances is the person in charge of a marine craft intending 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 contact us on our 24 hours phone number:
Cook Islands Customs Service
Phone: (+682) 55600 or (+682) 55368