Lonely Planet Writer

New Zealand is introducing new entry requirements – will they affect you?

Planning to visit New Zealand this year? You may want to check whether you’re among the travellers who will have to apply online to visit the country.

Man photographing sunset at Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, Southland, New Zealand. Image by ©Matteo Colombo/Getty Images

New Zealand is introducing a new Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) and travellers from 60 countries included in the country’s visa-waiver scheme will be required to apply. Many countries have similar programmes that eschew visas for online ETA applications, and travellers who have visited the USA will be familiar with that country’s similar Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) programme.

The new measure, which will come into effect in October, is designed to enhance security, address smuggling and biosecurity risks, and improve the traveller experience when entering the country. It comes as New Zealand experiences a big increase in visitor numbers, compounded by the fact that many of these short-term travellers come from visa-exempt countries.

Lake in the village of Hobbitville on Lord of the Rings film set. Image by ©Matt Munro/Lonely Planet

Travellers affected by the new rules will have to fill out the ETA form online and pay a fee that will be between NZ$9 and $12. At that point, some travellers will also have to pay the country’s new tourist tax, which is also aimed at managing the boost in tourism. Travellers will have to provide information like their name, birth date, passport details, and some declarations about their criminal conviction history and more. The changes will affect travellers from most European countries, the US, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, the UAE and many more. It will also apply to cruise ship passengers, cruise ship crew and commercial airline crew members.