A land of snow-capped mountains, mirror lakes and lush forest, New Zealand comes up on many travelers’ bucket lists.

Before you book your flights, however, it’s important to make sure you have all your paperwork in order. We've got all you need to know about whether you need a visa to travel to New Zealand this year.

You may not need a visa but you will need a NZeTA

Residents of Australia do not need a visa to travel to New Zealand and can easily visit the country. Australian residents can also stay in New Zealand for as long as they like.

In addition, certain countries and territories have visa waiver agreements with New Zealand, including the USA, the UK and most European countries. This means that residents from these countries do not need visas to visit New Zealand for up to 90 days.

To enter the country, residents of visa waiver countries need to fill out an Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) before arriving in the country. These can take up to 72 hours to process, so visitors need to fill out the form online before they leave for New Zealand.

Driving to Glenorchy, Queenstown, New Zealand
Hit the road and experience New Zealand's dazzling landscapes © AtomicZen / Getty Images

Apply online for a visitor visa

Residents of countries that don't have a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand will need to apply for a visitor visa, which allows tourists to spend up to nine months in the country. The easiest way to do this is online. Visas take at least a month to process, so be sure to apply well in advance of your planned trip.

All visitors to New Zealand must have enough funds to cover their stay and proof of onward travel. They must also hold passports that are valid for at least three months after their planned departure dates. 

There are restrictions on what you can bring into New Zealand

As an island country, New Zealand has many rare plants and trees, and a strong commitment to biosecurity. To protect its unique environment, there are strict rules about what is and is not allowed in the country.

Any items which could present a biosecurity risk need to be declared when entering the country, including food, plants, animal products and outdoor equipment. Hiking boots and outdoor gear should be cleaned thoroughly prior to arrival. Travelers should check the guidelines before traveling and ask border staff if they have any doubts about the items they are carrying.

A man smiles as he stands behind a bar in a pub
Working holiday visas are available in New Zealand so you can stay and travel longer © Digital Vision / Getty Images

New Zealand offers working holiday visas

For those wanting to stay a little longer, working holiday visas are available to young people from many different countries. These are usually open to people aged 18 to 30 (or 18 to 35 for some nationalities) who want to travel and work in New Zealand, and are usually valid for up to 12 months, or 23 months for travelers from Canada and 36 months if you're from the UK.

This article was first published Jun 12, 2021 and updated Oct 5, 2023.

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