Fit and proper person

To hold any maritime document(s), you are required to be a fit and proper person. Learn about the application process and its relevance to maritime.


“Fit and proper person” is a common term that describes an assessment of an individual’s competence and suitability for a specific occupation or privilege.

A fit and proper person check is required* as part of an approval process for everyone who wishes to hold a maritime document, such as a certificate, licence, permit or other document issued by the Director of Maritime NZ.

As an important legal tool, the assessment checks and considers:

  • compliance history with transport regulatory requirements
  • related experience within transport industry
  • knowledge of applicable maritime regulatory requirements
  • history of physical/mental health or serious behavioural problems
  • convictions for transport safety offences or drug offences
  • convictions for violence/causing danger to another or criminal damage
  • evidence of transport safety offence or contravention/non-compliance with maritime rules and
  • any other matters and evidence that may be relevant.

* The Maritime Transport Act 1994 requires the Director of Maritime New Zealand to undertake a fit and proper person assessment for everyone wishing to hold a maritime document.


How to apply

The fit and proper person form requires you to complete all sections regarding:

  • personal details
  • purpose of your application
  • mandatory questions
  • your criminal history outside New Zealand (if applicable, you must provide official records)

You will also be asked to give consent to the New Zealand Police to disclose any personal information it considers relevant to your application to Maritime NZ. This includes your New Zealand criminal history.

If you are renewing a maritime or marine protection document, or already hold one and are applying for another, you must provide a copy of your Ministry of Justice criminal record check. This must be less than 90 days old at the time you apply.

Apply for your criminal record check at

Send your application to Maritime NZ, by courier or email.

Fit and proper person form [PDF: 329kB, 10 pages]

To complete an application, you need to provide all of the information and documents we require.


Questions and answers

Q. Do I need to complete a fit and proper person form if I have already sent one with a previous application?

We need a new fit and proper person form to be completed each time you submit an application for a maritime document (new or renewal), even if you have previously provided a fit and proper person form. Each application for a Maritime Document requires a separate fit and proper person assessment and the completed declaration allows the Director to gather relevant information and facts for the certificate you have applied for.

Q. Will I fail the assessment if I disclose any criminal convictions?

Not necessarily. Each case is assessed on its own merits. The assessment is robust and fair.

Q. What would happen if I lie in my application?

If you provide false information or omit relevant information you commit an offence under the Maritime Transport Act. The penalty that may be imposed is imprisonment for up to 12 months or a fine up to $5,000.

Q. How confidential is my information?

The Director of Maritime New Zealand is required by law to protect the confidentiality of the information you have supplied.

Q. Is there a fee?

In most cases, Maritime New Zealand does not charge an additional fee to process a fit and proper person application. However, where there are several fit and proper person checks required when applying for a maritime transport operator certificate (MTOC), time to process additional checks will be charged at an hourly rate.

Q. Can I lose my fit and proper person status?

Yes. A condition of every maritime document is that the holder of the document continues to be fit and proper. You are required to inform Maritime New Zealand of any matters that may affect your fit and proper person status. The system relies on the honesty and integrity of document holders.

Q. How long does the fit and proper person status last?

If the circumstances do not change it lasts for the life of the maritime document.

For example, the certificates of competency require revalidation after five years which means a new fit and proper person assessment is required. Similarly, the MTOC is valid for up to 10 years. When applying for a new MTOC, you will need new fit and proper person assessments also.