August 15th, 2014

Vanuatu – 1st August 2014 – New Border control requirements.

Friday 1st August – Vanuatu.

Customs and Border Control issue new guidelines for Cruising Yachts entering and leaving Vanuatu.

Vanuatu Customs

Vanuatu Border Control Officers –  Vanuatu Customs & Inland Revenue

There are a number of changes to the rules, for a full copy of the Notice to mariners, click the link here


In brief these are the changes.

1/. Vessels may not call at Mystery Island (Aneityum), Port Resolution (Tanna) or any other place in Vanuatu unless the Director of Customs and Inland Revenue grants prior written permission. Masters of vessels who visit these places prior to obtaining inwards clearance and being issued with an ‘Inter-island Cruising Permit’, or obtaining written permission may be subject to fines and/or prosecution.

Some of the new penalties are quite hefty so it is well that intending visitors are made aware of what they are in for if they do the wrong thing.

2/. Customs now requires a minimum 24 hours prior notice of arrival of any vessel by e-mail stating the expected arrival time of the vessel, where it has come from, the crew and passengers on board and the port at which it will arrive. To comply with Quarantine laws all vessels are required to fly the yellow flag as soon as it enters Vanuatu’s exclusive economic zone. On arrival at their designated port, vessels should call ‘Customs’ on VHF radio Channel 16 (only at Port Vila at the moment) to be cleared. For boats entering at Vila the best option is and has been for a number of years to have Yachting World Vanuatu assist with clearance and berthing. Call Yachting World on Ch 16 on approach to the Quarantine Anchorage.

Interactive Arrival and Departure forms will be available soon on the Customs website. These can be filled out electronically and e-mailed to Customs to facilitate both inwards and outward clearances.
3/. On completion of arrival formalities at the Port of Entry the Master of any vessel wishing to visit other islands in Vanuatu must first apply to Customs for an ‘Inter-island Cruising Permit’. For genuine cruising small craft wishing to visit more remote and isolated destinations in Vanuatu these permits may be issued for a period of up to six months and absolve the vessel from reporting to Customs until the port of departure for overseas or for application to extend the permit.

4/. No live animals, reptiles, birds of any description, fresh meat, fruit or vegetables imported by yachts may be taken ashore. Officers of Bio-security may enforce some restriction on whether such goods will be permitted to remain on board after the yacht’s arrival.

No foreign garbage may be landed in Vanuatu without permission from Bio-security.

5/. Manager of Vanuatu Customs Border Control and Enforcement Stanley Trief clarifies Section 47 of the new regulations. With the approval of the Director, vessels can depart from undeclared places after obtaining a certificate of clearance from a declared port. For instance, a vessel can get clearance from Port Vila, but depart from Port Resolution (an unapproved place) for New Caledonia, similarly they can get clearance from Luganville, but depart from the Torres Islands for the Solomon Islands etc.
There will be a couple of conditions stated in the approval letter from the Director, but we think this provision of the law will make life easier for visiting small crafts so that they can visit as many islands in Vanuatu as they wish. There are no Customs fees if the clearance was issued at a declared port during Customs normal working hours.

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