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Tonga - Clearance

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A yachting steering committee, led by the Ministry of Tourism, was established mid-February 2024. While the clearance procedure below still stands, it is likely some things will change during 2024.

Tonga Pre-Arrival Procedures for Yachts

Tonga Customs requires that all yachts arriving from overseas must submit an Advance Notice of Arrival Form (ANOA) no less than 24 hours before the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of the craft in Tonga.  This requirement, which has been in place since April 2019, will be enforced.

ANOA has been introduced to control illegal chartering, illegal drugs, guns and heavy criminal convictions by pre-checking crew and the yacht.

Advance Notice of Arrival form

The form can be submitted by:

Yachts not submitting this advance notice of arrival may be fined (up to 4,000 TOP), have clearance delayed, withheld, or even refused.

Note: It is highly unlikley you will get an e-mail response from Customs.

Tonga Arrival Procedures for Yachts

Ports of Entry:

Click on “Explore Country” + the anchor icon, to see all ports including Ports of Entry (POE). Clearance information specific to each POE is included on the port page.

Advance Notification:

Contact Maritime Radio on VHF Channel 16, prior to arriving at your nominated port of entry to update or confirm your ETA.  You will be asked to switch to another channel (i.e. VHF Channel 68 for example) which leaves VHF Channel 16 clear for urgent or emergency traffic.  VHF Channel 26 is also widely monitored but is a hailing channel alternative to VHF Channel 16.

General Procedure:

The Q flag must be flown. The captain should contact the Harbour Master or Customs on arrival (prior to docking/mooring), who will give instructions where to berth for clearing in and may or may not board the yacht. One must present the outward clearance from the last port.

You may be boarded by Immigration, Customs, Quarantine, and Health officials or you may have to go to their offices on land.

You will likely have to fill in copious forms, with all the same details you put into the ANOA. Clearance post-COVID does take a bit of time – perhaps two – three hours, but paticence and politeness will see you reward with plenty of smiles and good wishes once the process is over.

See Fees for any clearance costs.

Tonga Domestic Cruising

You must clear in and out of each island group if you plan to travel within Tonga – this is known as a domestic check-in/check-out and you will need a Local Movement Report (Small Craft) issued by customs for each island group.

Day sailing within the island groups is not restricted, but a Local Movement Report (Small Craft) known locally as a ‘domestic check-in, check-out’ is required when moving between groups served by customs offices.

On arrival at the next island group, one must contact customs on arrival.

When traveling between Nuku’alofa and Vava’u, or vice versa, one can request that the Local Movement Report includes Ha’apai if intending to stop in that island group.

Any harbor dues should be paid prior to visiting customs, as the receipt needs to be shown to obtain the Local Movement Report.

Last updated:  March 2024

Mr. Felefonu Mapakaitolo – CEO Customs

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  1. June 30, 2024 at 9:22 PM
    profile photo
    Sue Richards says:

    Comms in Tonga:
    29/06/24: Vava’u and Ha’apai lost TCC and Digicel landlines, internet and gsm between 4am and 6am. No ATM, no banks. Tongatapu was fine.
    30/06/24: 8.30am Vava’u Digicel turned on O3B satellite, limited speed, hopefully will improve so ATM and banks can open, sites that have 5ghz an antenna will be getting priority.
    30/06/24: 10am BSP office ATM in Vava’u is operational, ATM outside Leiola is not operating
    Ha’apai does not have this option under Digicel.
    TCC nothing, no news or press release.
    Tonga Cable Ltd no news or press release or website or FB presence.
    Ministry communication (Meidecc) no news or press release.
    Elected MPs nothing.
    Seems to be another fault onthe domestic fibre.

    Our thanks to Greg Just in Vava’u for this info.

  2. June 19, 2024 at 7:45 AM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Home Reef Volcano:

    On June 17, 2024, The Tonga Geological Services issued a warning for all mariners to sail no closer than 4kms from the Home Reef Volcano which is exhibiting ongoing volcanic activity.

    Home Reef is located 25 km southwest of Late Island, 22 km northeast of Lateiki (Metis Shoal), and 75 km northwest of Mo’unga’one Island at Latitude & Longitude 18.992°S & 174.775°W.  The nearby communities for Vava’u and Ha’apai are not considered at risk.

    See this link for more information.
    https://matangitonga.to/2024/06/17/hazard-alert-mariners-volcanic-activity-home-reef

  3. June 30, 2023 at 10:54 PM
    Jeffrey OConnor says:

    Hi Sue is there any info on the requirements of bringing ships crew into Tonga on a one way flight in and depart by yacht.

    1. July 1, 2023 at 2:54 PM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      Yes, all details in this section: https://www.noonsite.com/place/tonga/view/immigration/

  4. April 3, 2023 at 7:22 PM
    profile photo
    Brian Meikle says:

    According to the Prime Minister’s Office of Tonga, released on 31 March 2023, the government has removed proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirements for entry into the Kingdom.

    https://pmo.gov.to/index.php/2023/03/31/tonga-to-let-go-of-proof-of-covid-19-vaccination-after-cancelling-of-the-open-border-policy-framework/

  5. February 28, 2023 at 8:45 PM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Long term supporter of cruisers in Tonga, Greg Just of Tropicana Café, Vava’u, is encouraging cruising boats to visit Tonga. He has sent an update on the latest situation there;

    “Maritime borders reopened 27 September 2022. Less than 50 yachts entered Tonga in 2022, Vava’u alone normally gets 500+ a year. Nearly 3 years with no income and very little government assistance, workforce heavily depleted by seasonal work to NZ and Australia from 2019, huge increases in these numbers 2022/2023 have all left the tourism sector in a sad state. Nuku’alofa and Ha’apai also had significant Volcano and Tsunami damage.

    There were 65 cases of Covid in the last week of February 2023.

    On 15th January 2022, the appearance of the new island Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai (HTHH) destroyed the domestic Fibre for Ha’apai and Vava’u. Starlink provisioned an earth station in Fiji and have provided 50 free Starlinks to Tonga until the fibre is replaced (some time between March and June this year).

  6. September 30, 2022 at 5:21 PM
    kcoplan says:

    Still waiting in Bora Bora for “full details” and “news” – hoping to sail tomorrow for Vava’u – Sue, can you confirm that Vava’u will be open to entry for fully vaccinated sailors?

  7. September 28, 2022 at 9:44 PM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Confirmed – borders opened 27 September – to vaccinated. Full details and news will be posted tomorrow.

  8. August 1, 2022 at 6:21 AM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Further updates from Greg Just re. Tonga border re-opening:

    Here is the Tongan Border policy as it stands –
    https://matangitonga.to/sites/default/files/Open%20Border%20Policy%20Framework%20for%20Tonga%2022July.pdf

    We are waiting a policy on yacht entry. I am assisting with the protocol but have no further information as it is embargoed until Cabinet signs off on it. I have impressed this date needs to be advised as soon as possible so…

    – Cruisers can make plans to visit Tonga, and follow protocol

    – Do not attempt to enter Tongan waters until maritime borders open

    Tonga has allowed 6+ vessels to take shelter and do urgent repairs (isolated and observed by the Police vessel) since we locked down in 2019, I do not wish this assistance to be abused.

    On 15 January Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai (HTHH) volcano erupted causing a Tsunami which did significant damage to Tongatapu and Ha’apai. Vava’u had very minor damage to docks because of the Tsunami, a little ash from the Volcano was also seen in Vava’u.

    More significantly Ha’apai and Vava’u domestic fibre was destroyed. It will not be replaced until June 2023. We are using donated starlink vsat, local ISP’s are using satellite and Microwave to deliver internet. We should see a vast improvement in September when Digicel upgrades the microwave link, capacity will then be at 75% of normal for Digicel.

    Volcano/Tsunami:

    https://fb.watch/eCQDYAjvnt/

    https://fb.watch/eCQUmPGb-M/

    https://fb.watch/eCQ_CJubpU/

    https://fb.watch/eCR0dw3JXM/

    I run the facebook group “Tonga expats for locals” – please join the page for updates on Tonga https://www.facebook.com/groups/tongaexpatsandlocals

    We have been closed for 2 1/2 years, our economy is running on fumes, please visit Tonga and support us in Vava’u and Ha’apai when maritime borders reopen.

    1. September 24, 2022 at 12:05 AM
      jsrollins says:

      Sue,
      My wife and I on our 55′ monohull SV Samsara are currently in French Polynesia intending to sail to New Zealand next month hopefully stopping off at Vava’u en route. I have inquired about entry requirements on the Kingdom of Tonga web site and await a response. Do you have an update for cruisers intending to stop in Tonga after October 1?

    2. September 28, 2022 at 11:01 AM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      The feelers are out there but as yet nothing heard – we are still waiting for an October date. Heard the other day from a cruiser who had success getting permission to stop at Minerva Reef en-route to NZ – posted their feedback here in comments.

    3. September 28, 2022 at 9:43 PM
      profile photo
      sue-richards says:

      Confirmed – borders opened 27 September – to vaccinated. Full details and news will be posted tomorrow.

  9. July 22, 2022 at 8:06 AM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    The outlook for Tonga is that borders will re-open this October. Greg Just of Café Tropicana in Vava’u, who has supported cruisers for many years, reports that last week three yachts seeking entry to do self-repairs were allowed into Vava’u harbor under observation by the authorities. Plus, after over two years on the hard many international yachts are now being re-launched. Greg also reports that islanders are getting back on their feet after the devastating eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha-apai underwater volcano at the start of the year. “Last week we said farewell to Roy Neyman of SY Mabrouka who greatly assisted us with use of his Garmin InReach after the volcano and tsunami destroyed our domestic fibre. He had been stuck here since August 2019. Starlink have donated 50 VSAT terminals and Telco have now also got about one third of our capacity back by using microwave and satellite. Further capacity is expected by September 2022 and fibre should be repaired by June 2023. While the economy is bad as it is everywhere, the whales have returned!”

  10. January 6, 2020 at 11:04 PM
    raneyman says:

    I left my boat in Tonga for about four weeks this past October while I went back to the US for a wedding. Before leaving I checked with Greg at Cafe Tropicana to find out what the process was. As usual, he was very helpful, giving me two form letters. Most relevant to this topic was the “One-way Crew Authority” letter and the other was the “Appointment of Master” letter. I filled them both out and got them stamped, the first by Immigration and the second by Customs. For the One-way letter, they required a copy of the boat papers, a copy of my passport, and charged a fee of 30 pa’anga plus 15% tax.

    I’m not sure Customs was that interested in the Master letter, but I arranged for one of the whale watch boat captains to mind my boat for a small fee. You could get anyone to do this and surely friends would do it for free, but I didn’t mind contributing to the local economy. If you’re leaving your boat on the hard at the Boat Yard, I understand they’ll take care of the paperwork for you. Information included on the Master letter was:
    – Owner/Master name
    – Departure date
    – Expected return date
    – Passport nationality
    – Passport number
    – Passport expiration date
    – Email address
    – Contact phone number
    – Appointed master name
    – Mooring area
    – Appointed master’s email address
    – Appointed master’s contact phone number
    – Vessel name
    – Vessel registration number
    – Date of vessel’s first entry into Tonga
    – Current port name

    As for the One-way letter, I presented the it at the airport when I returned to Tonga and was let back into the country with no hassle at all. I assume some version of this would be used to bring in crew for your departure from Tonga, but would require forethought since you’d have to write the letter, get it stamped, then mail the original to your incoming personnel before departure from their home(s).
    – Incoming crew name
    – Airline name
    – Flight number
    – Flight date
    – Passport nationality
    – Passport number
    – Passport expiration date
    – Vessel name
    – Vessel registration number
    – Master’s name
    – Departing port name
    – Destination name
    – Departure date

  11. January 6, 2020 at 10:32 PM
    raneyman says:

    I’ve just jumped through the hoops to renew my expired tourist visa and was asked to put up a post about it.

    Tonga considers this a fairly serious offense and charges a fine of (I think) 1150 pa’anga, or almost $600 US. The official at the office in Vava’u was very friendly, however, and gave me the option of requesting that the fine be waived. All I had to do was write a letter requesting the waiver and explaining the reason why I’d overstayed my visa. In my case it was just ignorance and stupidity, …ignorance in assuming that I had 90 days from my most recent entry and stupidity in not actually checking it. The standard period is 60 days.

    So aside from writing the letter and groveling politely (which is highly recommended), I only had to pay the monthly visa fee covering the lapsed time from its expiration through the time I expected to depart the country. I emphasize that being courteous and respectful to the visa official was critical. This particular man was very nice in any case, but I’m sure that arrogance and discourtesy would have made the process much more painful.

  12. October 31, 2019 at 5:22 AM
    jocharnock says:

    Hi there, I just wanted to pass on our positive experience about importing boat parts into Tonga. We recently ordered a new autopilot from Hodges Marine in the USA. We arrived in Tonga on a Sunday afternoon when nothing is open, so we could only speak to someone on Monday morning. We checked the delivery options from Hodges Marine and Fedex was an option. Greg from Tropicana Cafe is a wealth of info, and he directed us to the Fedex office in Vava’u (just across the road from his cafe :)) Linda, the office manager and clearing agent was fantastic. We ordered the autopilot on Monday afternoon, and we picked it up 10 days later. Very little fuss and a very small handling fee. Overall, a very positive experience and I can highly recommend Linda for her efficiency.

  13. October 20, 2019 at 5:28 AM
    trishe says:

    Just an update about travel on a one-way ticket into Tonga:
    We left our boat at The Boatyard, Neiafu, Vava’u, at the beginning of December last year and went back to Australia. We had a return ticket and instructions to email tongapermit@gmail.com when we knew the date of our return.
    I did that a few times over several days, including all the details I could think of.
    No reply. Dead silence!

    Eventually I tracked down the Tongan High Commission in Canberra by phone – their website looks good, but does nothing! – and had the forms within a day. I paid the fees and got an official Authorisation for Travel on a One-way ticket.

    NO-ONE asked me for it at any time. I showed it to the airline staff in Nadi and the immigration staff in Vava’u and frankly they just looked a bit puzzled.

  14. September 17, 2019 at 8:13 AM
    Laura54 says:

    Niuatoputapu September 10-14 2019
    Just a heads up to cruisers heading for this beautiful island in Tonga. The quarantine official who has been here for 5 years and who is apparently the boss will demand alcohol from you when checking in. If you refuse as some did because they either didn’t have any, or they objected to his aggression were subjected to a boat search… for alcohol. He arrived inebriated on our boat after visiting another and quickly drank 2 beers. He then asked to be given wine, spirits or beer before he would leave. Ours was not an isolated case and we heard many stories of similar behaviour and treatment by him from other yachts.
    S/v Three Sheets

  15. August 14, 2019 at 1:00 AM
    docj1111 says:

    For those of you needing to refuel in neiafu, vava’u you can get fuel at the moorings at mango’s BUT it’s 300% more expensive than the duty free fuel available when checking out!!!
    A bitter taste left after an amazing trip.

  16. May 13, 2019 at 2:11 AM
    jimmyhenry says:

    Does anyone have updated information on volcanic activity or new islands up the east Tonga area. We are sailing Minerva to Vava U this week and are aware of Hunga Ha Apai but wondered if there is any more recent activity.

    Pete

    1. May 15, 2019 at 9:08 AM
      lyndalim says:

      Hi Peter

      The last major activity is reported here.

      https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/323569/scientist-discovers-underwater-eruption-in-tonga  The earthquake monitoring site records a 5.2 magnitude earthquake south of Tonga as below.
      M 5.2 – 233km S of `Ohonua, Tonga

      Time
      2019-05-13 12:01:10 (UTC)
      Location
      23.438°S 174.960°W
      Depth
      10.0 km  There have been similar tremors recorded in the past month but nothing major.

      Hope you have a great trip.

  17. April 27, 2019 at 4:00 AM
    Lynda Lim says:

    We have been in Tonga since mid-October 2018 until almost the end of December. We arrived in Neiafu at the Vava’u where we completed customs and immigration procedures quite quickly. Many forms to fill out, often with the same information requested. The quarantine officer kindly asked us for cigarettes that we did not have on board, but always very professional. We then headed to the buoy field. There are numerous buoys that we have discovered to be very well maintened and of high quality. We took a Beluga Diving buoy, 15 Top a day to be paid on the ground at their offices. On channel 16 and 26 (this is connected to a repeater) DJQ, the radio operator of Vava’u Radio, is always available. If you need some news, suggestions or help, ask him, fantastic. We rented the car from one of the grocery stores in front of the Police station for 50TOP a day. No driving license or deposit or other is required … do not expect a car without scratches. Don’t miss the Ha’apai, we’ve been there over 2 weeks. It is a paradise with fantastic anchorages and well sheltered from the prevailing wind. Before going to the Ha’apai it is necessary to do the domestic custom. In Pangai, the capital of Ha’apai, the custom is now on Faifekau Rd, just before the mega antenna of Digicel (highly visible). From 2018 it is possible to do all the official clearance also from Pangai without having to approach the pier, simply anchoring. So Panga is now port of entry. In Pangai there is a gas station with diesel but not reachable by boat, but only with the Dinghy at high tide. Duty free fuel is not available. In Pangai there are two ATMs available, attention that they do not work with all the credit/debit cards, we have tried 4 before finding one that works. Market fruit and vegetables present but not with all the products as Neiafu, a food store is present that is fairly well stocked with everything you need.

  18. December 12, 2018 at 7:36 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Further to my report below which Sue posted, the fees for clearing into Tonga are still the same as on noonsite, however, they did not charge us for trash removal when we cleared in at Vava’u.

    Berthing Note – the first dock as you enter the harbor in Vavau is the one they expect you to tie up to (it has some people selling fish and the odd other boat tied up there and it has huge tires on the wall now).

    However we did ask them if it was alright not to tie to the dock, and they said if we felt it was unsafe to do so for the boat that was fine as long as we flew the Q flag and proceeded to the customs office ASAP during working hours.

    I would say that if there is any onshore component to the wind, that it would be unsafe to tie to that dock… and I expect they would also be fine with that definition. We arrived at about 7 am Tuesday morning to calm conditions, so tied up to the dock.

    At about 9.30am the officials started to show up and by ten we had them all aboard and we were filling out documents. None of them asked for a gift or bribe etc. It was more professional than many of the Caribbean places we had visited.

    I’m guessing someone had talked to them. There was no answer from the Harbormaster on 26 or 16. The officials also explained that we could extend our boat stay up to 12 months and we needed to do this before we hit the original 4-month clearance limit.

    The Boatyard Vava’u – http://www.boatyardvavau – where we have Brisa hauled out for bottom painting while we are in NZ, does all the paperwork for that. With regard to the warning about Alofi on noonsite – he is still around.

    But I can honestly say that he is about the same as most of the Caribbean boat boys when it comes to his approach. At no point did I nor the Admiral feel intimidated by him and his bread was very, very good…

    Of course, delivered and homemade to the boat it was always going to be more expensive than the supermarkets. He asked us for some rope to tie up his cow… I feel maybe the last review was a bit skewed making him sound dangerous…

    He may be a little annoying … but in our opinion, he is definitely not dangerous. We simply talked to him for a little while, explained we didn’t need anything and gave him about ten feet of crappy rope and off he went.

    Says hi to us every morning and I wouldn’t say he is worse than what we have seen in Panama and the Caribbean. Certainly not a “bad” apple, but more of a location character! ? His little flags were nice, we supported the local community a little, but I wouldn’t ask him to build me a dinghy.. if you get my drift?

    All in all the clearance, the interaction with customs and the experience there was almost 10/10….. the dock sucks still, but the officials were excellent and friendly.

    One tip… we went and got a digital phone card. $2 top for the card and put $50 on it and we have had great internet, free incoming calls, and connection almost all through the islands around Vava’u. Will let you know how it goes as we get further through the islands. Cheaper there than in NZ.

    On another note: the guys in Boatyard Vava’u have been hugely active within the government departments making sure it is improving every year. I am certain they have influenced the approach of the officials there.

    We don’t lock our dinghy and we don’t lock our boat…. so far only truly positive vibes in an amazing location!

    Following Seas.

    Royce.

    1. July 5, 2019 at 7:22 AM
      Glakes says:

      I met Alofi and he wanted to sell me a flag, and that his daughter sews them. He told a good story and seemed earnest, so I gave him a 50 top deposit for an 80 top hand sewn flag, with an agreement to meet at 7 pm at the charter base. I figured it was money donated to a perhaps unworthy cause, but to my mild surprise, he showed up just a few minutes late, with an amateurish but respectable flag, larger than I’ve bought in many chandleries. We settled up, and he asked me repeatedly if I was happy with the deal. I was, indeed, and while he tried to give me change, first in carved necklaces and then in Tongan kava, he eventually came up with cash. I probably paid more than I needed to, but somebody sewed that flag, and I was happy to support him and them. I thought the whole thing was fun and well worth it.

    2. July 5, 2019 at 6:55 PM
      Glakes says:

      I should have said homemade flag, not hand-sewn.

  19. December 12, 2018 at 1:52 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Brief updates from Royce Reid:

    Wanted to briefly update a couple of things regarding Tonga.

    The check-in in Vava’u was fast and simple. They told us how to extend our boat permit from 4 months to 12. the Customs guy also said there is a proposal under consideration to extend the cruising permit from 12 months to at least 18 months.

    The immigration people were friendly and fast and told us where to go to extend our 30-day entry visas. We hauled out in Vava’u at the boatyard there and it was fast efficient and friendly.

    We also got a quote for the bottom job and it was almost half price VS. New Zealand. they have also opened a chandlery there. If they don’t have it on hand they can order it tax-free from NZ and it arrives fast with fed ex ( within 7 days we were told ) or cheap by boat, but takes three weeks.

    We replaced flares and brought interior paint and some nuts and bolts. Not a huge shop but it has the necessities and arranges for specifics!

    All in all, it was an awesome easy experience and that’s not even commenting on how amazing the cruising there is!

    Royce Reid.

  20. February 26, 2018 at 3:29 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Anyone visiting Vava’u for cyclone season I recommend contacting http://www.boatyardvavau.com. My insurance company searched them and gave me the all clear to haul there as part of my cyclone plan.

    I pre-booked with them for a haul out if the weather looked bad. I was island hopping and they contacted me on VHF warning of Gita. They hauled me the next day.

    A great yard, excellent service, good hauling unit and fantastic service. The best boat yard experience I have had….and I’ve had a few. Highly recommended.

  21. November 25, 2017 at 7:37 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    It is Europeans within the Schengen treaty, who get a 3-month visa on entry.

  22. October 2, 2017 at 10:49 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Some people are getting 90-day visitor visas on arrival for free it is worth asking for it. For most people, you then won’t need to renew.

  23. September 26, 2017 at 11:12 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Statement provided today from Vava’u Tourist Association, The BoatYard, and other local businesses:

    The individual within the Customs Department who raised this issue again has been a problem for us over the past few years, however today it was confirmed that he has resigned and that the situation has returned to normal with extensions now being granted.

    This individual’s decisions were not based on any government policy that we know of. Now that he has left the post, this issue shouldn’t raise its head again, but to make sure of that the Vava’u Tourist Association and us at The BoatYard.

    Along with the other local businesses are taking this further to secure the industry and to let the cruising public know that contrary to the actions of this one man, Tonga is open and welcoming to yachts.

    We hope this helps to alleviate any concerns and we look forward to welcoming yachts here in Tonga for many more years to come.

  24. September 24, 2017 at 9:39 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Feedback from Peter Bould:

    There has been a change in the allowed time a visiting boat may stay in Tonga. They are refusing extensions beyond 4 months. There is considerable upset both from local businesses and from visiting boaters about this.

    It is possible the reverberations arising from this change may result in the policy being reversed back to what it was, which was about one year with extensions.
    Watch this space.

  25. May 28, 2017 at 10:41 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    North and South Minerva Reefs. Drone video including entrances:
    https://youtu.be/zRSloJHOXPs
    https://youtu.be/bgEP0OwwyzI

  26. January 4, 2017 at 11:10 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Confirmation from Tonga Customs:

    As per the normal procedure, you have to apply for your yacht temporary import permit after 4 months and it can be granted for up to 12 months total stay at the discretion of customs.

    Re. leaving your yacht in Tonga unattended, as temporarily imported yachts are technically under customs control (as in most countries) Tonga customs department are working out a system to be able to have a better way of keeping track of these boats.

    There are currently two options for leaving your boat in Tongan waters unattended:
    1) Leave your yacht on a managed mooring (cyclone rated if in cyclone season) and sign a standard ‘Master in Charge’ letter with the owner of the moorings so that someone has responsibility for the boat while they are overseas.
    2) Haul your boat out of the water and sign a standard ‘Master in Charge’ letter with the managers of the boatyard.

    For more information see the Customs section under Formalities.

  27. December 20, 2016 at 9:05 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    New Customs rules: First entry you get 4 months. If you want to stay longer you must apply 2 weeks before that is up and you will only get 3 months and then will have to apply again.

    Also, if you plan on leaving the boat for any period of time you must have a non-Tongan on it or put it on the hard.

  28. October 7, 2016 at 9:01 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Anyone who is arriving into Tonga on a one-way airline ticket such as joining crew need to know the old advice about having a refundable ongoing air ticket from Air New Zealand may NOT be sufficient to allow a smooth entry into Tonga.

    A crew member arriving to join Prince Diamond in Tonga in September 2016 had such a ticket, but was required to buy another ticket (changeable but not refundable) all the way back to her home in Toronto, Canada before she would be allowed entry.

    And it was still required that the captain (me) type an email to Air New Zealand proclaiming that we would definitely be leaving Tonga by boat before they would issue a refund on Tonga to New Zealand air ticket!

    The correct procedure for entering a crew member into Tonga on a one-way ticket is to type an email to tongapermit@gmail.com no more than one month before arrival proclaiming the incoming crew will be leaving by boat on a specific date and giving the following information:

    Crew name
    arrival date
    date and booking number of flight into Tonga
    passport number and date of expiry
    full name and date of birth
    Captain’s name
    Boat owner’s name
    Boat name, registration number, country and port of registry

    There are probably other details required which I have forgotten. Just put the kitchen sink into that email!

    A letter will be issued to be carried by the traveler. The cost is $34.50 TOP payable on arrival. As I said the letter is valid for one month. This procedure is a pain in the neck but is, in the end, the easiest way to do the entry.

    We had a real problem trying to get the refundable ticket refunded, as they would cancel the refundable ticket, but not refund the money!

    And in addition, the extra ticket back to the home country may not be usable for you depending on your situation. In our case, we were returning home from New Zealand, so it worked out for us. Comments and questions welcomed.

    1. October 28, 2016 at 3:04 AM
      Data Entry5 says:

      Allen, I’m sorry that you’re so upset with your experience with internet access here at beautiful Hunga Haven. As you may recall, in order to ensure you enjoyed your stay here and left on a good note.

      I offered to give you back the little extra cash that I requested for the extra data usage. However, for some reason you refused and became very angry. To be fair I just wanted to clarify a few things from my perspective.

      I was trying to invoice you for extra data usage over the maximums indicated on our Splash Page, the page you use the password to sign in. Somehow either you or your computer were able to get into our system without authorization.

      We have since put a password on that section also, so that this will never happen again. Our Internet Management System certainly does NOT monitor or record your account information or passwords, nor does it install spyware on your computer.

      That would be an invasion of your privacy, illegal and something we would never do. This same system is used in hotels, hospitals, restaurants and internet cafes around the world and to make such an accusation is very upsetting and unwarranted.

    2. May 3, 2019 at 2:11 AM
      fxyktygmail-com says:

      If you’re flying with Air New Zealand buy the added fully refundable flexi fare for the return portion of your ticket. Then you can cancel your return flight and get a full refund of everything related to the return flight without providing any reason at all. Definitely the easiest way.

      BTW, the correct email address is tonga.permit@gmail.com (‘.’ between ‘tonga’ and ‘permit’).

  29. October 7, 2016 at 3:58 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Beware of bad operators in Vava’u. We had a very bad experience at Honga Haven, anchorage #13. My wife signed up for and received a password for 2 hrs. on Oct 6, 2016.

    He charged us for 3 hrs., 2 hrs as stated and an extra $10.00 for the previous day. We did not have a password for the previous day, Oct 5, 2016, we did not use any internet. They also monitor which sites you are on.

    Now I feel I must change each and every account and password I have. I have no way of knowing what spyware he may be using and what harm he may cause.

  30. September 20, 2016 at 8:54 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Posted on behalf of Clare Sudlow:

    Vava’u Bluewater Festival

    Calling all South Pacific Cruisers! – Don’t miss the 2016 Vava’u Blue Water Festival! A fun-filled week in Vava’u, Tonga from October 1st- 8th.

    Enjoy the friendliest of welcomes & a week of local festivities, parades, informative talks & parties centered around a mid-week fun cruisers race day.
    For full info visit: http://www.vavau.to/bluewaterfestival

  31. August 2, 2016 at 8:35 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Theft in Vava’u.

    We had cruised through Tonga, taking our time and enjoying the friendly atmosphere and of course the low crime rate. Unfortunately, when our family flew out of Vava’u their flight was delayed so they came back to Neiafu for a few hours rather than spending this time at the airport.

    They left their bags with the taxi driver. When they arrived in Nuku’alofa they discovered that several items of men’s clothing were missing from one of the bags. The taxi driver was the same size as one of the guys.

    Just wanted to let you know to be aware, not everyone in Neiafu is as honest as they seem. Apart from this isolated incident, everyone else has been fantastic and we had a great time there.

  32. April 15, 2015 at 9:50 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Re: Hunga Tonga volcano – From Wiki
    20° 34′ 12″ S, 175° 22′ 48″ W

    Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai is a volcano located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) south-southeast of Fonuafoʻou (also known as Falcon Island). A new eruption began at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai on December 19, 2014.

    The eruption continued into 2015, with a tall ash cloud rising 3 kilometers (9,800 ft) into the sky on January 6, 2015. The eruption entered a new stage on January 11, 2015, when the volcano began sending ash plumes as high as 9 kilometers (30,000 ft) into the sky.

    An ash plume reached 4.5 kilometers (15,000 ft) on January 13, and the large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus released underwater caused an explosion in the growth of algae causing a red tide.

    Officials identified two vents, one on Hunga Haʻapai and another about 100 meters (330 ft) offshore and underwater. By January 16, a new island had been formed by the explosion, although geologists said the new island would probably exist only a few months until ocean waves wore it down.

    Tongan officials declared the eruption at an end on January 26, after observing no new gas, ash, or rock emerging from the island vent. By this time, the island was 1 to 2 kilometres (0.62 to 1.24 mi) wide, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) long.

    And 120 metres (390 ft) high. The island had joined with Hunga Haʻapai, and was about 200 metres (660 ft) away from joining with Hunga Tonga. Locals visiting the island said seabirds were nesting.

  33. October 24, 2014 at 12:45 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Posted on behalf of SV Estrellita

    We’ve renewed our visas twice now and the fee as of October 2014 was 69TOP per person per month for the visa extension. We paid $138TOP for the two of us each time we went in.