Recognition of foreign certificates

To work on a New Zealand-flagged ship, you will need to have your certificate recognised by MNZ as an equivalent to a New Zealand certificate or endorsement.

How to apply for recognition

Recognition depends on the certificate or endorsement type and where it was issued. If you hold:


Australian certificates or endorsements

We have information and guidelines for Australian seafarers wishing to work on a New Zealand-flagged ship.

Learn more



Other non-New Zealand certificates or endorsements

We have information and guidelines for all other seafarers wishing to work on a New Zealand-flagged ship.

Learn more


Due to differences between certification frameworks:

  • it may not be possible to match the exact privileges of your certificate or endorsement
  • a New Zealand recognition cannot grant privileges that are greater than those of your original certificate

If your certificate has no clear New Zealand equivalent, then you will need to contact MNZ to determine whether any of your prior learning can be recognised towards the training programme for the New Zealand certificate.

Recognising prior learning


STCW-F coming into force 4 March 2018

The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel, 1995 (STCW-F) will come into force for New Zealand on 4 March 2018. The Convention will apply to NZ flagged fishing vessels 24m or more, or with engines 750kW or more operating outside the 12 mile inshore fishing limit. The Convention aims to ‘promote safety of life and property at sea and the protection of the marine environment’ by establishing international standards of certification for seafarers on fishing vessels.

From 4 March 2018, under the Convention, New Zealand will be able to recognise STCW-F certificates for seafarers issued by other parties – seafarer certificates from non-party states will not be eligible for recognition. STCW-F certificates issued by Maritime NZ from this date will be able to seek recognition from other party states.

Further information will be available on the website leading up to the in force date.

The rule changes were signed 3 April 2017 and can be viewed here:

STCW-F-related Amendments 2017 [PDF: 297kB, 14 pages]


Contact us


Related information:

SeaCert background

Read about the background of SeaCert and its aims to provide competency-based systems that better suit seafarers in NZ.

Read more