Notice to Masters of Visiting Yachts and Small Craft
Click here to access all information in relation to relevant Customs offences and penalties.
The port of Lenakel on the island of Tanna, the port of Port Vila on the island of Efate, the port of Luganville on the island of Santo and the port of Sola on the island of Vanua Lava are the only ports of entry in the Republic of Vanuatu.
All Crafts on route to Vanuatu must provide a minimum of 24 hours advance notice of arrival to Customs. Notice must be provided by e-mail stating:
(a) the name of the vessel; and
(b) the voyage (last 3 ports); and
(c) the estimated date and time of arrival in Vanuatu; and
(d) the appointed port or other place where the craft will land or berth; and
(e) the name of the master or skipper of the vessel; and
(f) the name and contact details of the person providing the information; and
(g) the names of passengers on board; and
(h) list of goods to be landed (if any).
According to Quarantine laws, the vessel is required to fly the yellow flag as soon as it enters Vanuatu’s exclusive economic zone. Upon arrival at the port vessels can call “Customs” on VHF radio Channel 16 (only at Port Vila and Lenakel at the moment).
Master of all yachts entering Vanuatu from a foreign port or place must first report to the Customs, Quarantine and Immigration authorities at either the port of Lenakel or Port Vila or Luganville or Sola.
Vessels may not call at Mystery Island (Anietyum) or Port Resolution (Tanna) or any other place in Vanuatu, prior to entering one of the ports nominated above for customs clearance, unless prior written permission is granted by the Director of Customs & Inland Revenue. The Master of vessels who visit these places prior to obtaining customs clearance, being issued with an “Inter-island Cruising Permit”, or obtaining written permission may be subject to fines and/or prosecution.
It is an offence to come ashore in Vanuatu unless having undergone customs clearance procedures on arrival.
Interactive Inward Reporting forms are available on the Customs website under Forms. To facilitate clearance, filled out forms can be emailed to the address provided on the form prior to arrival.
Interactive Passenger Arrival forms are available on the Customs website under Forms. To facilitate clearance, filled out forms can be emailed to the same Customs Border email address prior to arrival. The filled out form is required by Immigration to complete arrival formalities.
3.ARMS AND AMMUNITION
On arrival all arms and ammunition must be declared and surrendered to the Customs Officer for safe keeping. (Also refer to section 4 on prohibitions).
If Customs are satisfied that firearms and ammunition can be safely secured under seal on board the importing vessel this may be allowed. In cases where no suitably secure sealing arrangements exist, the goods will be detained by Customs throughout the vessel stay in Vanuatu. At least 48 hours notice of intended departure from the finale port of clearance must be given in such cases.
The laws of Vanuatu prohibit the importation of narcotics, obscene publications and materials (books, magazines, DVDs, computer stored images and videos, and video cassettes), and certain firearms such as automatic weapons. These have severe penalties for any breach of these prohibitions.
5.PORT DUES (Ports and Harbour fees)
All visiting small crafts are liable for port dues of 7,875 Vatu for a 30 days period or any part thereof. After 30 days from the date of first arrival, the vessel is liable for an additional charge of 100 vatu per day. Port Dues are to be paid at the Ports & Harbour office, or if unavailable, at the Customs office at the final port of departure (Lenakel, Port Vila, Luganville or Sola).
Live animals, reptiles, birds of any description, fresh meat, fruit or vegetables imported by yachts must not be taken ashore. Additionally, some restriction on whether such goods will be permitted to remain on board after the arrival at a Customs port may be enforced by officers of Bio-security. No foreign garbage may be landed in Vanuatu without permission from Bio-security.
7.TEMPORARY ADMISSION OF VISITING YACHTS WITHOUT PAYMENT OF IMPORT DUTY
Visiting yachts entering Vanuatu under their own power on a voyage from a foreign port or place may enter and remain temporarily in Vanuatu without payment of duty for a period not exceeding 18 months in any period of 24 months save for reason of circumstance (including a change of residence) accepted by the Director of Customs. For administrative purposes, Customs will issue an initial 6 months period for vessels who wish to remain in Vanuatu for more than 6 months. The person responsible for such vessels is required see Customs prior to the lapse of the 6 months period to extend its stay in Vanuatu.
The subject vessel must be owned by or hired, chartered or otherwise loaned to a person or persons traveling on board at the time of its arrival in Vanuatu and must be intended for their personal use only. It shall not be used for any commercial purpose in Vanuatu and must not be sold, lent, hired, pledged or otherwise disposed of in Vanuatu.
Vessels wishing to visit more remote and isolated destinations in Vanuatu may apply for an “Inter-island Cruising Permit” which is issued to genuine cruising small craft and is valid for a period up to six months. A copy of the cruising permit is held by the master who absolves the vessel from reporting to customs until the port of departure for overseas, or for application to extend the permit.
Vessels which are imported temporarily into Vanuatu must not be used commercially under normal circumstances. However if the vessel falls within the definition of a “super yacht”, certain allowances are made (see Section 8).
If not fitting the “super yacht” criteria, use of the vessel commercially, including the chartering or hiring of the vessel or the use of the vessel for activities for which a charge is made (e.g. sailing tours) is not permitted. It is an offence to carry on such commercial activities and customs duty may be payable on the vessel in those circumstances.
A super yacht is considered to be a vessel valued in excess of Vatu 200,000,000 (US$2,000,000 approx). To enable these vessels to undertake commercial activity in Vanuatu, the following criteria must be met.
(a) The vessel must hold current internationally recognized survey certificates permitting charter and/or carriage of passengers.
(b) Permission to charter in Vanuatu must be provided by the Licensing section of Ports and Marine.
(c) A local agent registered for VAT and who holds a current business licence in Vanuatu must be appointed to act as ship’s agent.
(d) The local agent must pay VAT on all purchases in Vanuatu on behalf of the vessel and on charter costs.
For further requirements for Super Yachts, please email us.
9.YACHTS LIABLE TO DUTY PAYMENT
A yacht will become liable to duty if :-
a) it is disposed of in Vanuatu for financial consideration or not ; or
b) it is put to commercial use whilst in Vanuatu ; or
c) it remains in Vanuatu for a period or periods exceeding six (6) months in any period of two (2) years, unless an application is made to Customs for an extension as per paragraph 6 above; or
d) it is imported by a resident of Vanuatu or a person taking up residence in Vanuatu after the 6 months concession period of obtaining residency permit as outlined in section 2(3) of schedule 3 of the Import Duties (Amendment) Act.
In the case of each crew member:-
i) All baggage consisting of wearing apparel, toilet requisites, articles of personal adornment and similar personal effects, being apparel, articles and effects possessed and used abroad by such passenger and which are not intended for gift, sale or disposal to any other person;
ii) 250 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco, 2 litres of wine and 1.5 litres of spirits, ¼ litres of toilet water and 10 centilitres of perfume, these allowance being granted per person and applicable only for persons aged over 18 years;
iii) Any other item (other than prohibited goods) up to a value of 50,000 vatu per person aged over 15 years.
All goods intended to be landed in Vanuatu must be reported to customs. This includes goods intended to be given as donations to any person or organisation in Vanuatu.
On completion of Customs Quarantine and Immigration arrival formalities at the port of entry, master of any vessel wishing to visit other islands in the group, may only be allowed to do so after first declaring their intended movements to the Customs authorities and obtaining formal approval. See Section 7.
13.SHIPMENT OF DUTY STORES
Duty–free goods may be shipped on board any vessel which has cleared outwards, or which is about to clear outward for a foreign port or place. Duty free fuel may also be purchased on for the outwards leg of the voyage after customs clearance for overseas has been granted. Full details of the duty-free schemes available may be obtained from the nearest Customs office.
14.CUSTOMS OUTWARD CLEARANCE
All yachts leaving Vanuatu for a foreign port or place are required to obtain an outward clearance from Customs at the final port of departure (i.e.Lenakel, Port Vila, Luganville or Sola). Unless approved by the Director, a vessel having granted a certificate of clearance must depart for overseas within 24 hours of its issue and must not go to any place in Vanuatu. Vessel wishing to obtain a certificate of clearance at places other than Lenakel, Port Vila, Luganville or Sola should obtain permission for Customs and Immigration in advance and if such a request is granted may be required to pay for official attendance and travel.
Alternatively, certificate of clearance from undeclared places can be issued from the last declared port in Vanuatu, provided that a request is made via email or a note to Customs at least 24hrs prior to departure from the declared port. Once the approval is granted, the certificate of clearance will be issued with the ETD from the undeclared location. Port dues will be calculated and paid up to the ETD from Vanuatu while fuel exemptions will only be granted for the outward journey as per current practices.
Interactive Outward Reporting forms are available on the Customs website under Forms. To facilitate clearance, filled out forms can be emailed to the address provided on the form prior to departure.
All attempts will be made to board vessels arriving from overseas as soon as possible after their actual arrival. Outwards clearance may be obtained within 24 hours prior to the actual departure. Customs normal operating hours are listed below.
MONDAY TO FRIDAY
MORNING 07.30 Hours-12.00 Hours
AFTERNOON 13.00 Hours -16.30 Hours
Any attendances by customs outside these hours for either arriving or departing vessels will be subject to overtime attendance fees. The charges for these are as follows:
MONDAY TO FRIDAY
06:00 to 07:30 and 16:30 to 18:00
Vt1000 per hour per officer with a 3 hour minimum payable
18:00 to 06:00
VT1500 per hour per officer with a 3 hour minimum.
SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS AND PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
VT2000 per hour per officer with a 3 hour minimum.