Lonely Planet Writer

How New Zealand's new visitor rules will impact your holiday

Starting from 1 October 2019, most visitors to New Zealand will need to request an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) to gain access to the country. The authority will enable travellers from 60 visa-waiver countries to stay in NZ for up to three months.

Milford Sound/Piopiotahi is a fiord in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island. Image by wootthisak nirongboot/Getty Images

British citizens will be allowed to stay for six months, but the NZeTA will not be required for Australian passport holders and permanent residents of some Pacific Island nations. Cruise ship passengers from all countries will need to apply for an NZeTA.

See here for a list of the 60 visa-waiver countries, including the United States, Canada and all member nations of the European Union. Like an ESTA for the United States, an NZeTA will be valid for multiple visits across a maximum period of two years.

From 1 July 1 2019, applying for an NZeTA for travel from 1 October can be done online at www.immigration.govt.nz/nzeta or via the Immigration New Zealand mobile app. Online the cost will be NZ$12 per person, reducing to NZ$9 when using the app. An additional fee of NZ$35 per person will be charged at the same time, and it is estimated this International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) will raise up to NZ$450 million across the first five years to be used to expand NZ’s tourism infrastructure and also help to protect the country’s natural environment. Projected benefits of the NZeTA scheme are improved border security and reduced processing time for travellers entering the country.

Visitors to New Zealand will need an NZeTA travel visa from 1 October
Christchurch’s city centre. Photo by: Elena Yakusheva/Shutterstock

Note an NZeTA should be requested at least 72 hours before the commencement of travel, and it will also be required for travellers transiting through NZ airports even if NZ is not their final destination.

By Brett Atkinson