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Clarification of Customs and Immigration Procedures for Foreign Yacht Arrivals

By Sue Richards last modified Apr 10, 2009 07:31 AM

Published: 2009-04-10 07:31:56
Countries: Fiji

This letter is the written wording from the Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority dated March 19, 2009.

The file number is: DF2005/00135. If anyone wishes to correspond with FIRCA then they are to address all correspondence to the Chief Executive Office at PMB Suva, Fiji Islands. Their phone number is (679) 330-2322 and their fax numbers are: (679) 330-5138 and 330-2864.

Our thanks to Sharon Cody for sending noonsite this information.

RESOLVING COMPLICATIONS ARISING FROM FOREIGN YACHT ARRIVALS

I refer to a meeting held in the Fiji Islands Revenue & Customs Authority (FIRCA) in Suva boardroom on the 17th March 2009, regarding complications arising from foreign yacht arrivals to Fiji and on matters of Customs and Immigration procedures.

The following issues were discussed and resolved that there has to be 3-way participative involvement of the yacht operator-v-customs and sometimes the marina operator.

  1. Code 228 as it stands in the Customs Tariff Schedule remains so for any yacht sailed into Fiji be a bona fide tourist, as long as the duration of the yacht in Fiji does not exceed 18 consecutive months. There is no provision for extension and after 18 months rates of import duty shall apply.

    2. Either the Master or the owner (or both) must be on board to answer to Customs and other border enforcement agencies questions.

    3. The Master or the owner is free to travel out of Fiji and back into Fiji in normal travels to attend business, seeking parts and accessories for general attention to the yacht and upgrading of the yacht: or travel for family and personal matter, as long as the duration of the yacht in Fiji does not exceed 18 consecutive months.

    4. The yacht shall not be subjected to import duty as in 3 above within the space of 18 consecutive months.

    5. There is no provision for extension and after 18 months normal rates of import duty shall apply.

    6. Yachts should be encouraged to be repaired in Fiji as long as the duration of the yacht does not exceed 18 consecutive months.

    7. Yachts need not remain in water all the time and may be dry-docked in Fiji within those 18 consecutive months.

    8. Yachts may also be berthed in Fiji in arranged responsible care or local yachting marina operators as in 3 above and likewise not subjected to import duty. There is no extension and after 18 months normal rates of import duty shall apply.

    9. Yachts may be sailed out of Fiji and if the same yacht re-enters Fiji within 18 months then the yacht may qualify for another space of 18 months.

    10. The yacht Master or owner must retain his/her status in Fiji as bona fide tourist at all times. This is a requirement under immigration laws.

    11. Persons who are coming to Fiji on a Fiji Work Permit would be required to seek advanced clarification from the CEO of FIRCA for clarification and not to use Code 228.

    12. A minimum of two days advanced notice is required before the yacht may enter Fiji waters. This is a compulsory requirement under section 11A of the Customs Act.

    13. Similarly, people who are coming into Fiji on a Residency permit would be required to seek sufficient advanced notification from the CEO of FIRCA for clarification before proceeding to Fiji and not to just arrive in Fiji and use Code 228.

    14. Accordingly, any yacht Master or owner, who within the duration of 18 months takes up a Fiji Work Permit or Fiji Residency Permit, then that person, should apply in sufficient advanced notification to the CEO of FIRCA before travelling to Fiji.

    15. Effective voluntary self-compliance is expected from yacht Masters and owners and if any of their person found involved trafficking of any items in the Customs Prohibited (Import/Export) Regulation Schedules, or drug and narcotic offences, or firearms and ammunition trafficking, or involved in people trafficking or involved in any form of smuggling operation will have their case files referred for prosecutions.

    16. Yachts illegally involved for lease or hire or charter cruises may also have their case files referred for prosecutions.

    17. Local persons will not be permitted to bring in yachts under Code 228 as 1 and 2 above must apply.

    In consideration of your roles as reference points for the yachting sector of tourism, I am requesting that correct information must be relayed to yachtsmen so that the probability of error or committing offences are minimised.

    Yours Faithfully,

    J U Dean (GMC & E)
    For CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
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