Recognition of non-New Zealand certificates

Information for seafarers wishing to work on a New Zealand-flagged ship.

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Working in New Zealand

To work on a New Zealand-flagged ship, you will need to have your certificate recognised by Maritime NZ as equivalent to a New Zealand certificate.

Whether we can recognise your certificate will depend on:

  • the type of certificate you hold and
  • where it was issued

A New Zealand recognition cannot grant you privileges that are greater than those of your original certificate. Limitations may need to be applied to align your certificate with the equivalent New Zealand certificate.

If you hold an Australian certificate or endorsement - please see our information for Australian seafarers.

Is your certificate eligible?

Oral examinations for recognition of non-New Zealand STCW and STCW-F certificates

From 3 March 2023, we will no longer require seafarers applying for recognition of non-New Zealand STCW ratings and STCW-F certificates to sit an oral examination.

Seafarers seeking recognition for non-New Zealand STCW certificates of competency for masters, officers and GMDSS radio operators will still need to sit an oral examination.

Acceptance of ancillary certificates

When processing applications for New Zealand certificates of competency or proficiency, Maritime NZ will assess STCW ancillary certificates issued by other administrations on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they meet the requirements of STCW.

STCW ancillary certificates issued by training providers approved by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) or by the United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have been assessed and are accepted automatically.

Guidelines for applying

To see if your certificate can be recognised and to find out the process for doing so, refer to the relevant guideline below.


We are updating our guidelines for recognition of non-New Zealand STCW and STCW-F certificates. While some of the information in the guidance is not up-to-date, including the changes to oral examinations, it does contain relevant information to help you with your application.

New guidance should be available soon. In the meantime, if you need any help with your application for recognition, please contact us at:

If your certificate has no clear New Zealand equivalent - please contact us to discuss the details of your certificate and prior learning.

How to apply

These steps provide a basic overview of how to apply for recognition.

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

If you do not provide all of the required information we cannot process your application and we will return it and your other documents to you.

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SeaCert background

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

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