New Zealand and the Visa Waiver Program

A great many countries fall under treaties which allow their citizens entry into New Zealand without having to first apply for a Visitor visa, including United Kingdom. Certain entry conditions are nevertheless applied to the citizens of these countries, who must also complete a New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card on arrival. The Visitor visa for visa-waiver-nationals permits entry into New Zealand for up to 3 months (6 months for United Kingdom citizens).

These eligibility requirements are:

  • a valid passport and travel documents
  • a return or onward-travel ticket before embarking on travel to New Zealand. While applicants for a Visitor visa must prove sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket, visa-waiver travellers must be in possession of the ticket before arrival
  • proof of sufficient funds for the duration of the stay in New Zealand
  • a completed New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card declaring the holder to be in good health and of good character

The New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card is available at all New Zealand airports.

Citizens of these countries are advantaged by New Zealand’s visa waiver program:

Czech Republic
Hong Kong
Korea (South)
San Marino
Saudi Arabia
Slovak Republic
South Africa
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
Vatican City

New Zealand Benefits of an Electronic Travel Authority

The intention behind implementing the Electronic Travel Authority system is to streamline the New Zealand entry process. The number of visitors entering New Zealand’s borders annually almost equals the number of permanent residents of New Zealand. Many travellers to the country are currently exempt from having to first apply for a travel visa to enter New Zealand’s borders. This results in a significant percentage of travellers entering New Zealand without having to produce the information visa-holders are obliged to provide. New Zealand authorities have accordingly seen the need to manage national arrivals and border security more effectively.

The eTA will ensure authorities are afforded opportunities to pre-screen individuals before they embark on travels to New Zealand. In this way, the immigration system has additional security measures which see a drop in existing immigration risks. The process carried out at the borders will be fast-tracked with the implementation of this ETA due to the additional information it will provide border officers. As a tool and a mechanism to collect information on travellers, New Zealand’s borders will be additionally secured by requiring foreign visitors to provide more detailed information before leaving their home countries. It is hoped that by having prospective travellers complete the pre-registration, eligible visitors will have an improved travel experience in New Zealand.

Entry Requirements for New Zealand

Applications for ETA are considered or denied using the following requirements:

New Zealand General Entry Requirements:

  • A valid passport
  • Mandatory travel documents
  • If required, a printed copy of a visa relevant to the passport submitted
  • A return ticket or onward ticket to your next destination country. Immigration officer must check validity of visa for entry to next destination country
  • Sufficient funds for duration of visit as per travel visa restrictions
  • Good overall health, no medical threat to persons in New Zealand
  • No risk of financial burden to the New Zealand Health Service or on special education.

Good Character Requirements:

Visa and travel authority may not be granted in any of the following cases:

  • if forbidden entry into New Zealand;
  • if capable of committing an offence;
  • where a criminal offence committed led to a prison sentence of over 5 years;
  • where an offence during the last 10 years led to a prison sentence exceeding 12 months;
  • following deportation, exclusion and removal from another country;
  • where a security threat is posed or a potential threat to public order and to the general order

The United Kingdom is a Visa Waiver country, therefore New Zealand requires travellers from this country entering New Zealand to have the following:

  • visa for a period of up to three months which specifically states the visit is for “lawful purpose”, and to be determined by immigration officials on entry.
  • a return or onward-travel ticket or sufficient funds to purchase a return ticket
  • proof of sufficient funds for the duration of stay in New Zealand

Important information on New Zealand’s Electronic Travel Authority

  • this is not a visa
  • travellers with an eTA do not need a visa
  • travellers must meet the basic visa requirements
  • processing by a consulate and embassy visits are not prerequisites
  • the online application is quick – 5 to 10 minutes from completion to submission
  • approval is submitted almost immediately
  • approval may rarely be delayed, and additional data requested
  • payment can be made with a credit or debit card
  • the eTA is valid for two years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.
  • eTA’s validity may be compromised by changes in the traveller’s circumstances which lead to different answers than those supplied during application
  • applicants must be passport holders of one of the 60 eligible countries
  • possible complications can be avoided by reviewing data provided before submitting applications Errors and omissions on the New Zealand eTA form could cause delays or result in refusals
  • applicants with more than one passport must be aware that the passport to which the eTA is attached must be used to enter New Zealand

The Electronic Travel Authority is not a visa

Although the similarities are pertinent, an ETA is not classified as a visa, and there are indeed marked variances.

The Electronic Travel Authority application is available online without pre-arrangement or visiting a consulate, embassy or agency, 7 days/week 24hrs/days.

  • The ETA is required by those passport holders who don’t need a visa.
  • The passport does not contain a visible stamp or label since the ETA is electronically stored
  • The Electronic Travel Authority is a “new security and facilitation measure that will help to speed things up at the border”.

A Visa means charta visa, Latin for “document that has been seen”. This document is issued as a stamp or mark on the passport of a person wanting to visit another country, giving permission to a person to enter and stay in the country for a specified period.