Arrival card change to smooth border process for international travellers

International travellers arriving into New Zealand should have a simpler, faster entry as a result of changes to the Passenger Arrival Card,

The changes mean that arriving passengers no longer have to declare all medicines. Minister of Customs Hon Kris Faafoi says the move will allow staff to focus on types of medicine that are of more concern to Customs.

“As a result, the majority of arriving international travellers, who routinely carry their prescribed personal medications with them, will no longer have to declare these medicines to Customs.”

When crossing New Zealand’s border, travellers can carry prescription medicines or controlled drugs provided they:

  • have a prescription or letter from their doctor
  • carry the medicines or drugs in their original containers
  • only carry up to 3 months’ supply of prescription medicines
  • only carry up to 1 month’s supply of a controlled drug.

The medicines that are of interest to Customs are:

  • more than three months’ supply of a prescription medicine
  • medicines that are controlled drugs
  • prescription medicines carried on behalf of other people or entities
  • medicines containing items of endangered plants or wildlife.

“Customs has also made changes to the wording in section six of the card to simplify it for travellers with English as a second language.”

The opportunity to change the Passenger Arrival Card occurred because

the current version of the card becomes obsolete under the new Customs and Excise Act, which comes into effect on 1 October 2018, and the card needed to be reissued.

“The current version of the card will continue to be accepted by Customs during the month of October, and the majority of travellers are expected to be using the new card by November 2018,” Mr Faafoi says.

“Travellers don’t need to do anything different – they just fill in the card and answer the questions.”