With effect from 1st October 2019, the New Zealand Government will have implemented the Electronic Travel Authority. Travellers requiring the eTA will be able to access the system for pre-registration as of July 2019. This implementation will impact individuals and groups of travellers from those countries who currently benefit from the visa-waiver agreement.
Explanation of The Electronic Travel Authority (eTA)
The Electronic Travel Authority is an electronic authorisation issued in PDF format, not visible in a passport, which is to be generated online through the designated website. The eTA permission will be submitted to the applicant’s inbox via email.
Applicants will provide vital information which can then be screened before they even leave their countries. The data provided by applicants can be verified against security databases, which will assist in speeding up border clearance procedures and intensify border security.
The United States has a similar authority in place that requires travellers from many countries, including the United Kingdom, to apply for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Applications are also completed online and are valid for two years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.
Europe’s ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) is due to be implemented in 2021. Citizens who can currently travel visa-free to the Schengen Area will need this travel authorization prior to embarking on trips to European countries. The EU Commission has confirmed that, once Brexit has been finalised, United Kingdom citizens will have to complete the online ETIAS application form to visit Europe.
Australia has their Electronic Travel Authority which grants tourists and business visitors permission to stay for periods up to 90 days.
Aims of The Electronic Travel Authority:
- Conduct screening to determine the purpose of proposed visits;
- Provide particulars of the character of international visitors to New Zealand;
- Limit exposure posed by travellers arriving via the marine pathways and on cruise liners;
- Reduce immigration risks;
- Decrease the risk of exposure to security;
- Confront smuggling and biosecurity risks;
- Streamline New Zealand’s border controls in accordance with the best international practices;
- Promote improved experience through controlling the anticipated increasing numbers of travellers arriving at the borders;
- Remain proactive according to the dynamic needs of travellers, stakeholders, and government;
- Deliver personalised services regarding digital interaction with authorities, according to carriers and travellers’ expectations;
- Be a platform for collecting the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL)
Those United Kingdom citizens arriving in New Zealand by air carrier or cruise liner presently need only a valid passport, and no further travel authorization or visa. Approximately one-and-a-half-million of the approximately four million annual global travellers to New Zealand are expected to be affected by the soon to be implemented Electronic Travel Authorization.
The Electronic Travel Authority Procedure
Those travellers subject to the Electronic Travel Authority, wanting to enter New Zealand after 1st October 2019, will not be permitted to board their cruise or flight without the eTA. The eTA will permit multiple entries for business and tourism purposes. This Authority will be valid for up to 2 years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.
The following is required to be provided on the application:
- A passport photo is required and needs to be provided when applying online
- Birth date
- Contact details
- Biometrics data
The application process should take between five to ten minutes to complete.
- Complete the application for the Electronic Travel Authority online
- Make the payment online using the systems provided
- Submit the application
- A successful application is verified via email
To determine eligibility, applicants are required to submit the following declarations:
- Criminal conviction history
- Travel intention
Make applications in advance of the intended travel as approval could take as long as 72 hours despite the norm expected to be within minutes. Although applications may be submitted at check-in, this option is not suggested. Travellers whose applications cannot be processed in time or are declined for whatever reason will not be permitted to board for travel to New Zealand. Confirmation of successful applications will be sent as a verification email to the applicant’s inbox.
Immigration officers will scan the PDF document that is the Electronic Travel Authority, and this may be checked when entering into New Zealand.
Countries with visa waiver program with New Zealand:
Visa vs. Electronic Travel Authority
The Electronic Travel Authority may be similar to a Visa, but since it is not classified as a visa, we point out the pertinent differences.
The Electronic Travel Authority application can be completed online 7 days/week, 24hrs/days without an appointment and without consulting an agency or visiting an embassy, consulate or other authority.
- The Electronic Travel Authority is a “new security and facilitation measure that will help to speed things up at the border”.
- Travellers not requiring an entry visa, will need an eTA.
- The eTA is electronically stored and the passport therefore is not marked with a visible stamp or label.
Visa means charta visa, which is Latin for “document that has been seen”. It is issued as a stamp or form of indication in the passport, permitting a person to enter and stay in the country for a stated period of time.
Entering New Zealand visa-free
Travellers of certain nationalities are permitted entry into New Zealand without a visa. British Citizen passport holders can enter for up to six months without a visa. Australians may enter and stay in New Zealand indefinitely. Citizens of many countries may visit for periods of up to 90 days visa-free, such as all European Union members, Brazil, United States, Japan, Argentina, and Canada.