Changes for visitors to New Zealand from Visa Waiver countries

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Changes for visitors to New Zealand from Visa Waiver countries

Immigration New Zealand has announced that from 1 October 2019, visitors and transit passengers from visa waiver countries will be required to hold an Electronic Travel Authority (“NZeTA”).

The official basis for Immigration New Zealand introducing these new requirements for visitors is that it will reduce the time needed for border clearance and to improve the way travellers are assessed before their arrival into New Zealand. Another explanation behind the reasoning to changing visitor requirements for visitors is that Immigration New Zealand is looking to expand on the information collected on visitors to the country and strengthen security at the borders.

Who needs to apply for an NZeTA?

Visitors who fall under any one of the following categories are required to request an NZeTA:


People who are visiting or in transit from a visa waiver country. Click here to check the list of visa waiver countries


People travelling on a passport from a visa or transit waiver country and will be in transit through Auckland International Airport. Click here to check the list of Transit Waiver countries


Cruise ship passengers regardless of nationality.


Permanent residents of Australia

You do not need an NZeTA to travel to New Zealand if you are already required to apply for a visa before you travel, if you already hold a valid New Zealand visa, if you are a New Zealand citizen travelling on a New Zealand passport of a foreign passport with an endorsement or you are an Australian citizen travelling on an Australian passport.

Working and positioning crew from all countries, except New Zealand and Australia, for both airplanes and cruise ships will be required to hold an NZeTA.  Immigration New Zealand has set up a special application process for employers of such crew and these applications can be made in bulk. If a member of the crew already holds a valid New Zealand visa then an NZeTA is not required until that visa expires.



There will be two fees involved with the new authority.  

The first fee is the application fee which can be charged one of two ways depending on the method used in making the application.  If the application is made via the mobile application then the application will be NZ$9.00 per application.  If the application is made using the website portal then the cost will be NZ$12.00 per application.

The second fee will be known as the “International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy” (“IVL”). Immigration New Zealand has advised that this fee is “a way for travellers to contribute directly to the tourism infrastructure they use and to help protect and enhance the natural environment they will enjoy during their stay”.  The IVL will cost NZ$35.00 for each person travelling to New Zealand and is charged in the same transaction as the application fee.

For airplane and cruise ship crews the IVL is waived and they need only pay the NZ$9.00 application fee regardless of the way the applications are lodged.


Important dates and time-frames:

NZeTA is mandatory from 1 October 2019 and visitors will be able to request an NZeTA from July 2019. An application should take between 5-10 minutes to complete the application and you should allow for up to 72 hours for the application to be approved and an NZeTA to be issued.  The NZeTA will then be valid for up to 2 years for multiple visits to New Zealand.

For more information on the NZeTA, visit Immigration New Zealand’s website (click here). If you are considering travelling to New Zealand and are unsure of the requirements for your travel, please do not hesitate to contact Queen City Law to discuss your options. 


We have taken care to ensure that the information given is accurate, however it is intended for general guidance only and should not be relied upon in individual cases.  Professional advice should be always be sought before any decision or action is taken as Immigration New Zealand’s instructions change on a regular basis.