New Zealand Will Require Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) for U.S. and other Visa Waiver Country Visitors starting October 1, 2019. This is largely about border security and reciprocity, since the U.S. already requires visitors from visa waiver countries such as New Zealand to apply through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to entering the U.S., and as with New Zealand's new ETA, the U.S. ESTA is valid for 2 years.
New Zealand remains one of my favorite countries to visit, for its natural beauty and sublime luxury lodges, such as the Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Otahuna Lodge, and Matakauri Lodge, and the new ETA and IVL requirements and fees are nominal and shouldn't be a deterrent to a visit.
Here are the details of New Zealand's new ETA, and also its International Visitor Conservation Levy (IVL):
Who Will Need to Apply for a New Zealand ETA
- All visitors from visa waiver countries will need to apply for an ETA if traveling to New Zealand or transiting New Zealand
- Australian permanent residents (but not Australian citizens traveling on an Australian passport) also must apply for an ETA before traveling to New Zealand
- All cruise ship passengers (regardless of nationality) require an ETA if the cruise stops in New Zealand
- Visitors who already must apply for a New Zealand visa before traveling do NOT need to also apply for an ETA
- Those who hold a foreign passport with an endorsement (that states that the bearer is a permanent resident or citizen of New Zealand) do not require an ETA
How Much Will the New Zealand ETA and IVL Cost?
The ETA will cost NZD $9 (~USD $7) if the request is submitted on the mobile app (which will become available in July 2019) or NZD $12 (~USD $9) if the form is completed on the immigration.govt.nz Web site.
The IVL will cost NZD $35 (~USD $24) per person and will be charged as part of the ETA transaction.
When to Apply for a New Zealand ETA
You'll need to wait until July 2019 to apply for a New Zealand ETA and pay the IVL fee, and again, this is only for travel to New Zealand for dates of October 1, 2019 or later.
You should apply for the New Zealand ETA as soon as you make plans to visit New Zealand, as it can take up to 72 hours to have the ETA approved. While it will be possible to request it when you check-in for a flight, this is definitely not ideal, since if your request isn't approved in time, you won't be allowed to board the aircraft.
While it's an extra step for U.S. and other visa waiver country visitors, ultimately it's not surprising when countries adopt reciprocal security measures to the ones their own citizens face when traveling to the U.S. or other countries. The fees involved are nominal, and I'm all for reasonable fees that will actually be used to preserve and protect national parks, walking trails, and natural wonders, which are a key part of the attraction for many visitors to New Zealand.
If you've visited New Zealand, what were your favorite experiences?
Need Award Booking Help? Our fee is as low as $75 per ticket if you book your hotel through us.
Become a TravelSort Client and Book Your Hotel with Virtuoso or Four Seasons Preferred Partner Benefits!