New requirements for visiting New Zealand

Planning a trip to New Zealand? North Americans do not need a visa per se, but as of  Oct. 1, 2019 must obtain approval from the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) before boarding their ultra-long-haul flight to the land of the kiwis.

The new travel requirement affects travelers from nearly 60 “visa waiver” countries, including the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The full list of visa waiver countries is available here.

“Requesting an NZeTA is easy,” according to an email TheTravelPro received from Immigration New Zealand. Potential visitors can use their free mobile app, or apply online at “It only takes 5-10 minutes to request an NZeTA but you should allow up to 72 hours for your request to be processed,” the email continued.

Seagull in Devonport with Auckland and the Sky Tower in the background

The NZeTA is valid for visits of up to three months for residents of most visa-waiver countries and six months for visitors from the U.K. Once issued, the NZeTA is good for multiple visits over a period of two years.

The only official way to request an NZeTA is through Immigration New Zealand, the agency warned. “Do not request an NZeTA through any unauthorised third party” it said. That is noteworthy because some countries do authorize third parties to apply for visas on travelers’ behalf.

The requirement for an NZeTA also applies to visitors who will be visiting New Zealand ports of call on a cruise. Travelers who do not have a New Zealand visa must have an NZeTA before joining their cruise.

Requesting an NZeTA costs NZD $9 through the app or NZD $12 if you use the on-line form. That translates to about US$6 or $8 at current exchange rates. Applicants should allow up to 72 hours for processing, although it could take as little as 10 minutes. Visitors will need a valid passport that they will use to travel to New Zealand, a Visa or Mastercard credit card or debit card, and an email address.

There is one additional cost that travelers will also have to bear.

Travelers requesting an NZeTA will also be assessed NZD 35 for an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy, or IVL, a program which funds tourism infrastructure and helps protect the country’s natural environment.

The Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch, NZ

Again, apply only at the official government site at Other web pages either misstate the cost as being in U.S. dollars, or perhaps are profiting on the difference in the exchange rate between the two currencies.

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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