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New Zealand rolls out new Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) for visitors

Starting from 1 October 2019, most visitors to New Zealand will now need to request a NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) to gain access to the country. The ESTA-style visa waiver has been introduced to screen travellers in advance of their arrival for border and immigration risks and forms part of a wider government effort to make border crossing as seamless as possible.

The new ETA system will apply to all air and cruise travellers from 60 visa waiver countries, who will need to obtain the ETA up to 72 hours before travelling to New Zealand.

However, owing to the strong bilateral deal between Australia and New Zealand, Australian citizens travelling to New Zealand on an Australian passport will be exempt from the ETA requirement.

Permanent residents of Australia who are not Australian citizens and are travelling on another country’s passport will need to obtain an ETA, as well as visitors from other visa-waiver countries including the United States, Canada and the UK.

A single ETA will cover multiple trips into New Zealand, whether business or leisure, and passengers in international transit will still require an ETA, even if they don’t cross the border into New Zealand.

Requests for a NZeTA can be made from 1 July 2019 and will become mandatory for travel from 1 October 2019.

  • From 1 October 2019, if you are from a visa waiver country you must hold a NZeTA before you travel, this includes permanent residents of Australia travelling on another country’s passport.
  • Australian citizens (Australian Passport Holders) do not need a NZeTA.
  • The price for obtaining an ETA is currently NZ$9 when completed via a soon-to-be-launched mobile app, or NZ$12 when completed online.
  • The NZeTA will be valid for two years or until the traveller’s passport expires, whichever comes first, and covers multiples entries into New Zealand for both business and tourism.
  • Passengers in international transit will still require an ETA, even if they don’t cross the border into New Zealand (unless exempted from the requirement by travelling on an Australian passport).
  • For those countries who currently require a visa before entering New Zealand, there is no change to the entry requirements.

For more information, and a full list of the 60 visa-waiver countries, visit the New Zealand Immigration website at https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas