South Island Travel Tips

NZeTA: What’s the Deal with New Zealand’s New Visa Rules?

As of the 1st of October 2019, visitors to New Zealand from visa waiver countries will have to apply online for an NZeTa (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) before travelling to the country. This new rule applies to everyone travelling to New Zealand who doesn’t need a regular visa – Australians travelling on an Australian passport are also exempt.

Who Needs an NZeTA?

Probably you, if you’re reading this. If you’re from a visa waiver country and you’re travelling in New Zealand for less than three months (six months for UK citizens) you need to do it. This includes the UK, US and most countries in Europe. Check the full list below to see if you’re on it. If your country isn’t on that list it means you’ll need to apply for a proper visa – that part hasn’t changed. The NZeTA applies to travellers arriving by plane or ship and also applies to people transiting through New Zealand. So, one more time, you either need an NZeTA (if you’re from a visa waiver country travelling to New Zealand for less than three months / six months for UK citizens) or a proper visa. If you’re Australian (on an Aussie passport) you don’t need to worry about any of this (a small consolation for getting beaten by the All Blacks all the time I guess). Travellers from some countries which normally require a visa can get an NZeTA if transiting through New Zealand — check the table below to see that applies to you (although New Zealand isn’t exactly a common transit destination).

Click here to find the NZeTA form / here for the app

Visa Waiver Countries

Andorra
Argentina
Austria
Bahrain
Belgium
Brazil
Brunei
Bulgaria
Canada
Chile
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia — citizens only
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hong Kong — residents with HKSAR or British National–Overseas passports only
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
South Korea
Kuwait
Latvia — citizens only
Liechtenstein
Lithuania — citizens only
Luxembourg
Macau — only if you have a Macau Special Administrative
Region passport
Malaysia
Malta
Mauritius
Mexico
Monaco
Netherlands
Norway
Oman
Poland
Portugal — permanent residents only
Qatar
Romania
San Marino
Saudi Arabia
Seychelles
Singapore
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan — permanent residents only
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom — permanent residents only
United States of America — including USA nationals
Uruguay
Vatican City

Transit Visa Waiver Countries

Bahamas
Bermuda
Bolivia
Colombia
Costa Rica
Ecuador
Federated States of Micronesia
Indonesia
Kiribati
Nauru
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Republic of Marshall Islands
Samoa
Solomon Islands
Thailand
Tonga
Tuvalu
Vanuatu
Venezuela

How Much Does It Cost?

The NZeTA is processed online and costs $9 on the free app (or here for Apple users) or $12 if you use the website. Don’t be fooled into paying more than this – with online visas like this there are always countless travel companies trying to cash in. Do it through the official government app / website and you shouldn’t have any trouble. It takes anywhere from 10 minutes to 72 hours to come through, so try not to leave it to the last minute! This system is  very similar to the ones the US and Canada use, so if you’ve been to those countries recently you know the drill.

When applying for the NZeTA you’ll also have to pay a $35 Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (ILT). It’s basically a tourist tax and (hopefully) that money will go towards better infrastructure and services for tourists. I remember when people were debating this move a year or so ago and I was personally against it, so I’m glad it’s only $35. That will probably go up in the future though. I’m guessing this levy is also built into the cost of proper visas too.

Apply for your NZeTA here!

Need a Visa?

If you’re not on the visa waiver list, you’ll need to apply for a visa before you come to New Zealand. This has always been the case so most people are probably aware of this already. If you try to board a plan to New Zealand without it, I’m sure you’ll be denied. You’ll also need to apply for a visa if you’re from a visa waiver country and want to stay in New Zealand for longer than three months (or need a different kind of visa).

Planning Your Trip to New Zealand

So, you’ve got the visa situation sorted and now want to get into some proper trip planning? If you’re spending time on the South Island, you’ll find all the travel inspiration you’ll need on this site. My South Island Travel Guide and Two-Week South Island Itinerary are good places to start. I generally advise people to spend most of their NZ trip on the South Island (not just because I run this site), but the North Island is also nice. I write a bit about both islands on my other blog too, jonistravelling.com.

Sunrise at Moeraki Boulders, Coastal Otago, New Zealand

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.
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