New Zealand Traveller Declaration: Digital-only form now available to all visitors from cruise ships or planes

New Zealand Traveller Declaration: Digital-only form now available to all visitors from cruise ships or planes
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After getting off to a rocky start in 2022, the New Zealand Traveller Declaration (NZTD) can be completed digitally by any air or maritime travellers arriving in New Zealand, meaning they don't have to fill out a paper arrival card.

The NZTD can now be completed by passengers and crew of international cruise ships arriving at Aotearoa either on the NZTD website or through the app.

Sharon May - Customs NZ's Deputy chief executive finance technology and infrastructure - said the digital system enables "a more automated and streamlined border experience that gives travellers a more flexible option".

"It is straightforward to use and helpful in guiding people through what they need to declare," said May.

"The latest addition of cruise ship travellers to the NZTD system, following successful trials, is the last step in New Zealand's transition to a digital arrivals declaration system, marking a major milestone towards more seamless travel across borders."

May added: "We know the system works," but it wasn't always entirely successful. Travellers complained of glitches and delays with it in its first few months of use during the heightened travel restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NZTD collects arrival information for Customs, Immigration and Ministry for Primary Industries. It can also be amended to ask for extra information related to specific risks that may arise from biosecurity or health threats.

"We are always striving to improve the border controls we use to protect our natural environment and primary industries and the NZTD enables us to strengthen these processes at the border, said Stuart Anderson, Biosecurity NZ's deputy director general.

"The data we get from NZTD allows us to do more effective risk screening to target those passengers and goods that we're most concerned about. It also gives Biosecurity New Zealand better data to assess future risks and a new channel to pass on critical biosecurity information to travellers."

The digital NZTD is now the default option for international visitors to Aotearoa, but a paper form is still available too.