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Cook Islands - Clearance

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Authorised Ports

Advance Notification:

All vessels must submit a Cook Islands Customs Service Form 29Small Craft Advanced Notification – at least 48 hours before entering Cook Islands waters.

E-mail to customs.craft@cookislands.gov.ck, using the following format for the e-mail subject and files [ANA, the name of craft, voyage or sail number if available, estimated time of arrival into the Cook Islands], e.g. ANA, Banana Split, 30/11/2023.

Failure to complete and send this form is a criminal offense.  For any urgent enquiries, please contact Customs House +682 29510.

You must also advise the Biosecurity Cook Islands of your arrival port and date, either by emailing the staff(s) of your planned destination or by e-mail to: moa.biosecurity@cookislands.gov.ck

Approval to berth or land must be sought through the Harbourmaster and clearance received from a Customs Officer.

Ports of Entry:

Currently there are only two locations for maritime entry into the Cook Islands.

1) Avatiu Port, Rarotonga, or,

2) Arutanga port, Aitutaki.   Note:  if your vessel’s draft exceeds two meters, you may need to anchor outside the reef.  Vessels with a draft less than two meters will be able to enter through the passage.  Check with the Harbour Master as the channel was dredged in July 2023.

For further information, contact the Cook Islands Customs Service on email: customs.craft@cookislands.gov.ck

See Main Ports.

General Process:

All vessels must fly the Q Flag.

Report to Customs immediately on arrival. All other crew must remain on board until the boat is cleared. The skipper must also contact Immigration (often provided by Customs) and Biosecurity. Failure to follow these rules is taken very seriously.

For a list of paperwork that must be presented on arrival see the Marine Crafts webpage.

Yachts must leave the “Q” flag up until cleared by Port Health, who will visit the yacht and provide pratique.

Domestic Cruising:

It is a requirement for all yachts entering the Cook Islands at one of the official ports of entry to obtain clearance papers prior to visiting other islands in the Cook Islands.

You will be asked for an explanation as to why you wish to visit other islands.

When visiting all other islands following the port of entry, the captain should check in with Customs and the Resident Administrator, if present.

CLEARING OUT

International Clearance:

You should advise Customs at least 72 hours before your intended departure to ensure that there is no delay. Again, see the Marine Crafts webpage for the appropriate forms that need to be completed and given to Customs on departure. If all forms are correct, they will issue you with a Certificate of Clearance. Once clearance is granted, you must leave immediately.

Under no circumstances can a yacht 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 authorized place. If due to extenuating circumstances, you are required to do so, you must immediately advise the Cook Islands Customs Service (24 hours) on phone: (+682) 55368.

Yachts 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 authorization from the Controller of Customs in advance. See the Suwarrow Clearance section for more details.

Last updated:  June 2024

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Cook Islands was last updated 1 week ago.

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  1. July 2, 2023 at 10:30 PM
    profile photo
    wrayx88 says:

    Why does this information conflict with the official government site linked to in the document and where does the Noonsite information come fom. The formalities here state that there are only two ports of entry, while the government site shows 8 ports of entry. The Cook Island Port authority also agrees with the Cook Island government site. Is this outdate Covid information?

    1. July 3, 2023 at 7:12 PM
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      Sue Richards says:

      Dear Wray,

      Firstly, thanks for joining Noonsite and for making contact with us.

      When reviewing formalities for any country, please take a look at the “last updated” date. Each clearance section has this. You will see the Cooks were updated last month.

      All our formalities are checked with official sources. Official websites can often be out of date, very much the case with the Cooks. We always verify with the authorities themselves to get the latest “from the horses mouth”.

      The Cooks Islands Customs department confirmed with us just last month that only 2 ports of entry are open for small craft at this time – full details in the Formalities section – https://www.noonsite.com/place/cook-islands/view/clearance/.

      Of course, information does go out of date quickly and things are always changing, so do drop us a line if you want to double check information on the site at any time.

      And it goes without saying, that a quick email, or posting a comment on the country page, to confirm the formalities were as outlined on Noonsite (or not, should this the be the case), is a HUGE help for us.

      If I can be of further assistance – just let me know.
      Sue

  2. June 16, 2023 at 8:27 PM
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    Sue Richards says:

    Palmerston Island Government with its multi-agency partners will be implementing a rat eradication project in July and August 2023. The bait laying phase of the project will take place during the month of August and the Palmerston Island Government has imposed a restriction on visitors to Palmerston during this month. Ships and sailing vessels (small crafts) are restricted from calling into Palmerston during this period until the restriction is lifted.

  3. May 30, 2023 at 10:14 AM
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    Sue Richards says:

    It is no longer possible to clear into the Southern Cook Islands at Palmerston Island. All yachts must first clear at an official port of entry before proceeding to Palmerston. Landing fees on the island have also increased from NZ$5 to NZ$10 per person. Cruisers should also note that Suwar-row in the Northern Cook Islands is closed until June 1st, 2023.

  4. April 23, 2023 at 8:35 AM
    Lynda Lim says:

    From Brent Crack and Mary Bevan:

    The people of Rarotonga are so friendly and welcoming. Feels much like Rapa Nui or Pitcairn. Bananas have already been delivered without being asked for.

    The yachting facilities/infrastructure absolutely sucks. They are not set up in any way for us. Oh well.

    We had planned to stay longer but have a weather window straight to New Zealand so we will leave today.

  5. October 18, 2021 at 10:53 PM
    nelson-mitchellusa-net says:

    AITUTAKI. Dredging has started to improve the entrance and Channel to the harbour. When finished, it will be 5m deep and 15m wide. The south and north basin either side of the wharf, will be 4m deep. The north basin will be for visitors. The south basin will provide space for local boats and visitors. Initially, visitors will anchor and tie back. When funds are available, moorings and shore facilities wil be provided.
    The Cook Islands Ministry of Transport and sports and Tourism will publish correct marine information relating to access as more details are known mid-2022.