What is an ETA for New Zealand?
Who is eligible to apply for ETA New Zealand?
Important New Zealand ETA requirements
Apply for New Zealand ETA
Update your ETA New Zealand
Arrival in New Zealand
Travel to New Zealand from the UK
What is the Visa Waiver Program for New Zealand?
Visa Waiver Program for New Zealand means that citizens belonging to visa waiver countries need not apply for a visa before travelling to New Zealand in the following scenarios:
- If they need to visit for 3 months or less
- If they have British citizenship and need to visit up to 6 months
However, citizens belonging to all visa waiver countries need eTA, i.e. or Electronic Travel Authority. Please note that a visa is a must if one is travelling for medical treatment or work.
Which nations come under the Visa Waiver Program?The NZ Visa Waiver Nations (VWM) are:
13. Czech Republic
15. Estonia (citizens only)
20. Hong Kong (residents with HKSAR or British National (Overseas) passports only)
27. Korea (South)
29. Latvia (citizens only)
31. Lithuania (citizens only)
33. Macau (Macau Special Administrative Region passports only)
43. Portugal (with the right to live permanently in Portugal)
46. San Marino
47. Saudi Arabia
50. Slovak Republic
55. Taiwan (permanent residents only)
56. United Arab Emirates
57. United Kingdom (must have the right to reside permanently in the United Kingdom)
58. United States of America (includes USA nationals)
60. Vatican City
Who are exempted from having eTA?
eTA exemption is for:
- Australian citizens
- Guests of the government of New Zealand
- Foreigners who are under the Antarctic Treaty and visiting force members. As per the Antarctica Act 1960 – are exempted from the process of securing a visa.
- Individuals who hold a ‘United Nations laissez-passer’ are exempted from this visa procedure. Australian citizens are granted citizenship status upon arrival due to the strong bilateral bond between these two countries.
- British citizens are allowed to stay for as long as 6 months without a visa, but this is limited to travel purposes. If you are going for medical treatment or work or education purposes, a visa is required.
What is eTA? Do I need it if I am travelling to New Zealand?
eTA or Electronic Travel Authority is a quick and simple process which checks your credentials and informs the NZ government about your travel intent. Also, it is a way to ensure that a traveller’s visit to the nation will not affect the law and regulation of the county. This is an electronic visa waiver option that will be officially launched from July 2019 in New Zealand and will become mandatory from October 2019 for any travellers who are travelling to New Zealand or are transiting through New Zealand.
In other words, all the travellers from nations that do not fall under the list of the Visa Waiver Program need to have eTA when they are travelling to New Zealand. There are a total of 60 nations that fall under the New Zealand Visa Waiver Program. Whether you are travelling via air or cruise, an eTA is mandatory for you to set your foot on New Zealand soil. The eTA is obligatory for people travelling under the visa waiver arrangement. In order to have a better screening program and to reduce border and immigration risks, the eTA is being set to action along with the IVL (International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy) is being implemented.
Are eTA and Visa the same?
Whether you need an eTA or visa to travel to New Zealand depends on your nationality and purpose of visit. Many people think that eTA and Visa are the same, but they are actually not. eTA is a travel document required by people belonging to New Zealand’s Visa Waiver Countries who are visiting New Zealand. They need not apply for a visa as they hold the passport of a country that is listed under the Visa Waiver Program. eTA is a way to screen travellers belonging to New Zealand’s Visa Waiver Countries to enhance safety and security. eTA for New Zealand will become mandatory from October 2019 for citizens belonging to all visa waiver countries.
If you are not a citizen of New Zealand’s Visa Waiver country, you will need to apply for a visa to travel to New Zealand for tourism, study, work, to live permanently, or for business or investment purpose.
While Australian citizens are exempted from the eTA, Australian permanent residents will have to apply for an ETA and attain one before visiting NZ. The IVL needs to be paid by everyone.
Do you need to contact the New Zealand Embassy to travel to New Zealand?
The purpose of the eTA is to save the hassle of travelling to the NZ Embassy for getting the required documents if you belong to the visa waiver country. You can apply for an eTA exclusively online if your country is on the visa waiver list.
Who is required to complete an eTA application form?
Starting from October 2019, citizens of all the 60 countries who are part of the New Zealand’s Visa Waiver Program should apply for an eTA before they are eligible to set foot in the country, whether they are travelling to NZ or just transiting.
People holding the passport of countries, which are included in the Visa Waiver Program New Zealand list are allowed in the country without a visa. The identity of such individuals is known only when they are en route to the country, which often is a problem for the Immigration Department, NZ. With the eTA, the border security becomes better, and travellers too will benefit with a speeded checking process as the staff already has the required information about the individual.
What if New Zealand is not my destination, but I have to transit via New Zealand?
In case you are transiting through New Zealand and you are a citizen of one of the countries enlisted in the Visa Waiver Program of New Zealand then also you need to obtain an eTA. In case you are visiting New Zealand but are not sure about where you will be staying then that information can be updated as you land in the country.
Australian citizens are the only ones who are exempted from this rule given the strong bonds between the two countries, but permanent residents of Australia travelling or transiting through NZ need to have an eTA upon arrival to NZ.
Does the eTA or a VISA guarantee entry into New Zealand?
The New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority will be implemented in July 2019, so the regulations and immigration laws may vary.
The following conditions might affect your entry to New Zealand:
- Even if you obtain an approved eTA linked to your passport, there are instances where the immigration officers might deny your admission to New Zealand.
- Providing wrong information or fake documents is the most common reason which will quite obviously prohibit your entry.
- If anyone tries to pass through like someone else, i.e. imposter, if someone does not have a visa that is valid or suits the purpose of his/her visit, then that person’s admission to New Zealand will be denied.
Even though having a valid visa or eTA (whichever is applicable) which is checked and approved will grant you entry into New Zealand, but it is not a guarantee of entry. You need to answer the immigration questions which will decide whether or not you can enter the nation. There are two ways to do the same:
- Present all the travel documents and documents supporting your identity to the authorities.
- You can also use Smartgate or eGate (not all passport holders can use this option)
Furthermore, New Zealand Customs Service and Ministry for Primary Industries or MPI will check if you match the nation’s entry requirements. If the immigration authorities adjudge some discrepancy or error, they might stop the person from entering New Zealand.
When will I get my eTA validity dates?
Application approval will usually be granted for a maximum of two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever happens first. eTA will provide the validity dates when your request is approved. A traveller must apply for a new travel authorisation when a previous eTA authorisation or the applicant’s passport expires.
What is the advantage of submitting an eTA application online?
The biggest advantage of submitting your eTA travel application request is that you can do so easily online, and the response is immediate. On the other hand, requesting a New Zealand visa requires you to schedule an appointment and a personal interview at the New Zealand Embassy in UK. Compared to a New Zealand visa, an eTA travel authorisation is also less expensive, avoiding the hefty fees of a visa, and also has a much shorter waiting period.
What are the eTA requirements?
Conditions to apply for an eTA are:
- You must be a citizen or a valid passport holder of a country that is part of New Zealand’s Visa Waiver Program.
- The duration of your travel must not exceed more than 90 days (6 months if you are a British citizen) and the purpose of your trip is just for tourism.
- If you are transiting via New Zealand, then you are required to apply for an eTA, again you should be a citizen or passport holder of a VWP country. You must apply for the eTA at least 72 hours before the commencement of your journey.
Without an approved eTA during the time of your check-in, you will not be allowed to board the flight.
What are your passport requirements for travelling with an eTA?
The passport requirement for applying and having an approved eTA is that you need to be a citizen of a country which is under New Zealand’s Visa Waiver Program. Australian citizens are exempted from having to apply for an eTA, but Australian permanent residents are required to have an eTA when they visit the country.
Certain points to keep into consideration:
Your passport should also not expire three months after you have exited New Zealand. Your passport should be issued from the government officials and must not be invalidated before or during your stay in New Zealand. The passport details must match the details on your eTA documents. In case any of the details do not match, which might happen if you are using a renewed passport, then you must renew your eTA travel authorisation with your new passport; failing which might result in your entry delayed or even denied.
eTA or New Zealand visa: How to work out which one suits you best?
The purpose of your visit will determine the kind of travel authorisation you require to set foot in New Zealand. Your citizenship plays a vital role, and another factor that determines whether you need an eTA or a New Zealand visa is the duration of your stay in the country (for non-Australian citizens).
Citizen belonging to any one of the following countries can visit New Zealand, within a time frame, on an eTA. You need to apply for the eTA at least 72 hours before your flight. The eTA is done to promote tourism and to ensure people with eTA find it easier to clear the custom check.
See the countries list here.
Short-duration medical treatments
If you are coming down for medical treatments, then you need to apply for Visas because eTA doesn’t cover medical conditions. eTA’s purpose is to promote tourism. In order to support the country infrastructure and pay the IVL, one needs to apply for the eTA visa. With a New Zealand visa, you will find it easier to get the best medical treatment even on your short duration visit.
For business purposes, you need to apply for a New Zealand visa as an eTA will not suffice. Any form of travel other than for the sake of tourism requires you to apply for a visa even if you belong to a country, which is on the Visa Waiver Program list.
If you are planning to visit New Zealand and study for 3 months or more, then consider opting for the student visa. If you are taking a course less than 3 months long, it will be enough to get an eTA to cover your educational stay in New Zealand. The student visa has some conditions which one needs to fulfil; these are as follows:
1. Name of the program for which you are applying
2. Name of the educational provider
3. Location of the institute in New Zealand
If you are travelling through New Zealand, you are required to have an eTA if you belong to any of the Visa Waiver Program countries. If your country is not on that list, then you are required to have a transit visa. Australian citizens and New Zealand’s permanent residents are exempted from this rule.
If you plan to stay in New Zealand and work – part-time as a student or full time as a professional – then you require a New Zealand visa. An eTA or a simple visitor visa will not allow you to work in New Zealand.
To immigrate to New Zealand, you are required to apply for a New Zealand visa, which states the purpose of your stay. Immigration laws of New Zealand are strict. The whole use of the implementation of the eTA is to prevent unlawful immigration and to reduce security risks to the country. An eTA will not suffice if you plan to immigrate to New Zealand.
Is eTA sufficient to become a citizen of New Zealand?
To become a citizen of New Zealand, you are required to fulfil certain other requirements and prerequisites other than eTA. Many aspects are taken into consideration when the government processes your citizenship application. An eTA will certainly not suffice. Here a visa too might not be enough unless you have stated your intent when applying for the visa as different conditions require different measures.
Is there any specific computer configuration required when applying for ETA?
The application for ETA can be submitted online through our secure website. You need a regular computer in order to complete your registration and application procedure. Your browser must support 128-bit encryption. Any of the following – Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari – will suffice if you have the latest browser version installed in your computer. Allow Java scripts and cookies from the website to run on your browser and disable ad blocker if you have it installed. The process is simple and will not take more than 10 minutes.
In which cases can I use the eTA form to apply online for the VWP?
If you plan to visit the country within the time frame that is allotted to your country of citizenship under the VWP, then applying for an eTA is a better option than waiting for the visa. That said, there are certain facilities that a New Zealand visa offers which are lacking in the eTA; for instance, medical treatment is not included in an eTA so that you will require a visa. Similarly, if you are just transiting through New Zealand, then you do not require a visa, rather an eTA is sufficient.
How much time in advance do I need to request the travel authorisation?
Since the process is new, you must apply for the eTA well in advance. Preferably you should apply a week before your flight as the processing may take about 72 hours for your eTA to be issued. You also need to pay a service and processing taxes, including the IVL, for your eTA to be approved. Not having an approved eTA during the time of check-in means you will not be allowed to board the flight.
While applying for an eTA, which details do I need to submit?
When you are applying for the eTA, you need to provide details pertaining to your identification:
- date of birth,
- along with contact details,
- your passport details,
- travel details,
- declaration of any criminal record
- and biometric information.
Once these details are confirmed and your eTA is issued, it will be valid for two years.
Can I apply for an eTA if I am unsure of my travel dates to New Zealand?
Yes. In case your travel dates are uncertain, you can leave that section and edit the information later. Application for potential travellers is mandatory. If in case you are not sure whether you are planning to visit New Zealand in the near future but want to keep the travel documents in check for emergency visits, then you can surely apply for an eTA. Please keep in mind that the same is valid for only two years from the time of issue or until your passport is valid (whichever instance occurs first).
Do I need to pay any eTA fee?
While applying for the eTA, you are required to pay online the service and processing fees, including the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy. IVL has been implemented to make sure that the tourists help as well in maintaining the infrastructure of New Zealand that they will be using when visiting. Given that New Zealand is a popular holiday destination, this taxation seems reasonable since the NZ government and the citizens strive hard to maintain the country’s heritage.
For how long the application data is stored?
The data provided by the individual seeking an eTA is stored for a maximum of three years after which the data gets deleted automatically from the system. This is in compliance with the validity of the eTA issued to the individual, which is two years. This helps the security personnel to keep track of the traveller’s records, both personal and professional, and also to check for any existing criminal record or past criminal history. The added one-year retention is to be able to provide the applicants, if they request, with an electronic copy of the data they provided. Additionally, the applicant can request deletion of their data, but action will be taken keeping the law in mind.
What if my eTA application is denied?
Though the vast majority of eTA applications are approved immediately, there are rare cases where it may be delayed or denied. This does not mean you are barred from entering New Zealand, it simply means you need to apply for a regular visa in order to travel to NZ.
You will need to contact the UK New Zealand Embassy in such a case. A new application is not advised if your old application has been denied, as it mostly means that you are not eligible under the Visa Waiver Program. Also, you must know that you must be Bona Fide to enter New Zealand.
What does a Bona Fide citizen mean?
Bona Fide means that you are a genuine person and you have no malicious intentions of visiting a nation. It also means that:
- Your travel will not affect the peace and legal aspect of the country.
- You don’t have a criminal record.
- You will follow all the regulations of the nation.
- You must not break the visa conditions.
Can I get an emergency visa in case my ETA has been denied?
If your ETA has been denied, you can apply for a regular visa. After applying for the visa, the immigration officer will look into your consideration and take the decision to approve or reject the application.
What could be the probable reason for the denial of an ETA?
The eTA could be denied under any of the following conditions:
- There is a security threat from a person
- The person is barred by law to travel to New Zealand particularly
- If the validity on the applicant passport has expired
- The applicant must not have been sentenced for 5 years
- The subject is prohibited from entering New Zealand as per Section 179 and 180 of the immigration law
- The applicant must not have been deported from some other country
- If the applicant is found to be associated with any of the terrorist activities
What are the possible responses that I can get?
Once you have submitted the form, all the intimation regarding the update of the form will be sent to the email id that you have entered in the form. Here are the possible responses that you can get.
- Approved: If the information filled is right, and the form is processed, then your eTA will be approved. You will be informed on your email id. Once you have the approved eTA, you can easily board the plane and arrive in New Zealand. However, you would still need to get approval from the immigration office at the airport. Once you have cleared it, you can enter New Zealand.
- Under Process: Sometimes, the eTA is under process or on hold. In such cases, you would be given an intimation on your email id stating that your application is still under process.
- Denial: If there are any errors and discrepancies in the form or your application, then your application would be denied. It is advisable that you should fill the form right without any error. In case, the application status is denied, then you will not be allowed to board any means of transportation.
Make sure that you will have to get the eTA, travel cards and other supporting documents handy with you when you arrive at the airport. Here the immigration officials will ask you certain questions to verify your identity and then approve your entry into the nation.
Should a traveller who is not authorised for travel through eTA reapply?
When a traveller from any part of the world has been denied authorisation of eTA, they are advised to apply for a non-immigrant visa in the New Zealand Embassy. This is mostly because the denial of eTA visa means you have not met the grounds for travelling through eTA under the Visa Waiver Program. Therefore re-applying would also mean the same as before, as you have already been denied. Therefore, a non-immigrant visa would be the best alternative. Re-applying with false information in order to qualify for an eTA can result in debarring from flying to New Zealand permanently under the Visa Waiver Program of eTA.
In which cases should I renew my ETA application?
In these given instances, it is obligatory for you to renew your ETA application-
- If your passport has somehow been lost, stolen or damaged, and you have a new passport, you need to request a new ETA application as well. Because one ETA application is valid for an individual passport only.
- If your passport is renewed, you will have to renew your ETA application as well.
- In case you have your name changed.
- In case you have changed your gender.
- If you have changed your citizenship or residence to another country.
What information can I update in my eTA application?
Before submitting your electronic travel authorisation application, you are free to update all application data fields. Once an application is complete and submitted with all the required payment information, you can still modify any one of the following fields:
- Email address
- Telephone number
- Carrier Information
- City where you are boarding
- Address where you will be staying in New Zealand
What should I do if my passport information has changed, has been corrected or contained a mistake?
The eTA permit is linked directly to your passport information. In case you have acquired a new passport or have made modifications to your passport information, it is recommended that you apply for a new eTA permit. In case there is a change in the passport, then one needs to request a new eTA as well. Failing to do so will restrict your entry due to discrepancies in your passport and eTA application. Also, you will be required to pay the required fee for the eTA application.
What if my passport has expired?
Your passport is a travel document containing your identity and nationality and has international validity, which permits you to travel internationally. Before going on a trip, it’s important to check whether your passport is valid for a time span either equal to the term of your intended stay or for a longer period. As the eTA (Electronic Travel Authority) is linked electronically to your passport, in case your passport has expired, your eTA (already approved) will also expire. After you renew or update your passport, you have to request for a new eTA application.
How to avoid problems at the port of entry?
Even if you have eTA and have arrived at the New Zealand airport, you would be asked to meet the immigration officer and answer a few questions. Once they have completed the verification process, you can enter the country. During this, process you must have all the travel documents and eTA along with Travel Card handy with you.
The eTA of New Zealand will start from July 1st, 2019. eTA applicants are allowed to travel to New Zealand for a period of 90 days, but some of the applicants can become a perpetual threat in willing to immigrate permanently with the help of eTA. Hence, it is beneficial to understand that even though you have an eTA visa, the customs officer is the primary official, whose decision is final. The custom agent decides whether you are allowed to enter the country or not. It is the customs officer’s job to judge if a particular person could be a threat or trying to immigrate to New Zealand illegally. He will check all your documents and other details thoroughly to authorise your entry. So, you should have proper documents that prove why you are travelling to New Zealand. These can either be proof of your studentship, proof of business ownership, the declaration of your last income, investment in your country of origin that you own, and so on. You have to prove to the customs agent that you would be back by 90 days and would not opt for illegal immigration. Documents verifying that you have familial ties in your home country can also be shown. To keep your clause more plausible, you could ask for a recommendation from your University in New Zealand, to hand you a letter of invitation as proof that you are an overseas student from your country of origin.
If the customs officer has even a minuscule of suspicion on anyone, it could lead to the cancellation of your eTA. In case of false information or intention of overstaying more than the legal period that the eTA allows that is 90 days, is susceptible to the eyes of the customs officer and in such a case your entry at the port may be denied. Therefore, understanding and respecting the work of a customs agent is important, and it is always advisable to abstain from unhealthy conversations during a check with the customs agent. Therefore, applicants are needed to be careful and abide by the rules of the Customs Department. In case they are required to stay more than 90 days, the best option would be to apply for a non-immigrant visa of New Zealand.
How do I apply for entry permission?
You need to present your documents that verify your identity and purpose of visit.
You can also use Smartgate or eGate (not all passport holders can use this option).
For eGate you need:
- Completed arrival card (You will get this while you board the plane or ship)
- Travel document
What if I don’t meet the customs and biosecurity parameters?
In addition, New Zealand Customs Service and Ministry for Primary Industries or MPI will check if you need the nation’s entry parameters. In case of any doubt, your entry into New Zealand might be subjected to denial.
Arriving in New Zealand: Getting through the airport hassle-free
Getting through airport security can be a long and stressful process. If you are travelling with your family, especially with your children, the number of luggage increases and so does the duration of security procedures. In order to make it through the check-in quick and easier, you must go through the passenger arrival card, which you will be given during your flight. You will get a fair idea of certain things which you cannot bring into New Zealand. And if you have packed right, you need not worry about getting your things confiscated by the airport authority during Customs and Biosecurity.
The most common scenarios that require attention:
Keep in mind the restrictions pertaining to the transportation of specific items in New Zealand.
If your children are travelling overseas for the first time, they might get puzzled by all the security checks. So, it is your duty to guide your children regarding the airport’s security procedures.
What can you bring into New Zealand?
Whenever you are travelling to a different nation, it becomes imperative that you must have all the information about immigration and other rules which define the entry parameters of a country. The same applies to New Zealand. Once you have cleared the passport control, you must collect your baggage and move to the customs and biosecurity check. These agencies have the complete right to ban your entry into the nation. Hence, it is advisable that you must produce the right information before them for unrestricted movement.
You must know here that there are certain items which are prohibited in New Zealand, and you must know about it before you pack your bags for New Zealand. These include plants, food, animals and outdoor recreational equipment.
What do you need to bring with you?
You need to bring the following documents with you:
- Birth certificate
- Academic qualifications
- Marriage certificate
- Reference from previous employers (in case you are coming for work)
- Credit references
- International driver’s licence
Border clearance levy
If you are coming or transiting via New Zealand, then you must pay border clearance levy, the charges of the same would vary for air travellers and cruise passengers. These charges would be included in your ticket. If you are travelling via private aircraft or yachts, then also these charges are applicable.
What should you know about the cash policy while travelling to New Zealand?
If you are coming to New Zealand, then you must complete NZCS 337: Border Cash Report if you are carrying NZ$10,000 or more (or foreign equivalent) or more cash or equivalent into or out of New Zealand.
What all is included in physical currency?
- Physical currency
- Travellers’ cheques
- Bearer Bonds
- Promissory Notes
- Money Orders
- Postal Orders
- A Bill of Exchange
- Promissory Notes
- Any monetary instruments that are a part of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009.
In case you produce wrong monetary details, you would be charged with :
- Your cash could be seized
To avoid any inconvenience regarding the inspection of your luggage, you should pack in accordance with the biosecurity laws of New Zealand. It will also help the officers’ work easier, who will be inspecting your travel documents and your luggage. Remember, you have a long queue of people waiting behind you to pass through the security checks. Consider it your duty to make it quicker for them to abide by the Customs rules and regulations.
Give a thorough read to the list of prohibited items and restricted items before you start packing.
The list of prohibited items includes those which you cannot under any circumstances bring to New Zealand:
- Flammable or explosive objects
- Liquid oxygen systems
- Videotapes, CD-ROMS, films and publications containing materials subject to objection
- Weapons such as swordsticks, knuckle-dusters, butterfly knives, flick knives
- Equipment to use hemp
The risk items are items that you need to declare once in your Passenger Arrival Card and later to the Immigrant Officer and Customs Officer. If a risk item is found in your bag, it will be confiscated and destroyed. Such items include:
- Animals products
- Plants products
- Unclean equipment used outdoors
In case one fails to abide by the regulations, a fine of up to $100,000 can be levied, or one may also get imprisonment of up to 5 years in case of a serious breach of New Zealand’s biosecurity laws.
Why you should prepare your carry-on luggage carefully
If you wish to complete the airport security procedures quickly without any hassle, it is necessary for you to pack your carry-on luggage while keeping in mind the items that you should and should not take.
If you have packed items such as aerosols, liquids or gels, you must follow these provisions-
Liquids, aerosols and gels must be carried in individual containers of 100ml and not larger than this volume.
You must pack them in a transparent plastic bag that can be re-sealed, and the maximum capacity of the bag must not exceed 1 litre.
You can carry only one plastic bag containing liquids, aerosols and gels in your carry-on luggage.
This plastic bag has to be placed separately to make the inspection easier.
There are certain anomalies in the allowed quantity of liquids:
- If you’re with an infant in your journey, you are given the allowance to carry baby food containing milk, or other liquid food adequate for your trip, which is not limited to 100ml. You do not have to contain it in the transparent bag for security screening, and you have to declare the items while undergoing the inspection zone.
- You are also allowed to carry your liquid medicines larger in quantity than 100ml, and you have to declare them while undergoing the inspection zone.
As per the standard, one can carry a bag weighing up to 23 kg and its length, width and height must add up to 158cm (62”) or less.
Arriving in New Zealand by plane
All passengers on the flight must fill out the Passenger Arrival Card.
Foreign nationals who are not from a country under the Visa Waiver Programme need to travel with their visas and must choose the appropriate permission for travel.
There are certain instances where you can enter New Zealand without a visa.
- If you are a citizen of Australia or a permanent resident of the said country, you can travel to New Zealand under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.
- If you are a citizen of the UK or a UK passport holder (from July 2019, you would need to apply for eTA before arriving in New Zealand).
- If you are travelling under the Visa Waiver Program (from July 2019, you would need to apply for eTA before arriving in New Zealand).
- If you are a member of airline crew or cruise ship passengers and crew.
- The Customs, Biosecurity and Immigration officials regulate the entry of the travellers from other countries into New Zealand.
- On arrival at the airport, all the passengers are required to go through passport control. The passengers must keep their travel documents ready along with the completed Passenger Arrival Card.
- If you are not a citizen of New Zealand or a resident from one of the visa-free countries, you will be required to carry a valid visa that suits the purpose of your stay in New Zealand.
- Visitors who are not obliged to obtain a visa, e.g. passengers carrying an ETA application will still need to have-
- A return travel ticket or other documents concerning preceding travel planning.
- Monetary evidence that is sufficient for your visit.
If you hold an e-passport, you need to use the e-Gate for passport control.
The security zone
In order to pass through the security zone quickly, you must follow these solicitations.
- Arrive on time.
- Carry your ID and other travel documents in hand.
- Wear shoes that are easy to take off.
- Carry as fewer metal items as possible in order to get through the metal detectors sooner.
- If you are carrying a laptop, take it out of its carrier and put it in a separate tray.
- If you are travelling with your children or infants, they too will need to go through the inspection process. You do not need to worry about them being separated from you.
If your child is able to walk without assistance, then it will be sooner to send him/her through the metal detector on his/her own. In case you’re travelling with an infant, you will have to take him/her with you while passing through the metal detector.
Baby strollers or prams and other goods containing baby products will also be inspected.
If you want to quicken the process, you can follow these steps:
- Take your children out of their strollers and prams before arriving at the security checks.
- Keep your child with you during the inspection procedures and do not ask any stranger to hold your child while you go through inspection.
- If you are carrying any liquids viz. breast milk or infant food, declare them.
- If you cannot decide whether or not to declare something, declare it anyway, there’s no harm in declaring the items that do not pose a risk. But if you do not declare something, even if unknowingly, you will be charged with an instant fine of NZ$400.
You will be informed by the immigration officer whether or not you are allowed to enter the country and the duration of your stay. You will be given your travel documents along with a stamped passport. This process is crucial as it will contain the date up to which your stay is legally granted in the country.
Arriving in New Zealand by sea
The inspection procedures are similar to that of the airport. Here, also the passengers need to fill out a Passenger Arrival Card before getting off the ship. If you have packed any risk items, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, meat or fish, prepared meals, honey products, dairy products, flowers, plants or seeds, you will have to leave it in the vessel; these items are prohibited from removing from the vessel.
Requirements for entry into New Zealand territory:
- You need to obtain a passport, that has a validity beyond the duration of your stay in New Zealand.
- UK passport holder who wants to visit New Zealand for a time period of 6 months without a visa has to satisfy the Immigration Officer that his/her eligibility matches the immigration rules along with obtaining a return ticket.
- Filling out the Passenger Arrival Card carefully and declaring anything that may pose a risk to the country.
- Either dispose of the risk items (if the visitor is carrying any) after getting off from the flight or declare the items to the Customs and Biosecurity officials.
- Getting through the Customs and Biosecurity checks with satisfying the inspecting officials of your admissibility along with your inspected baggage.
- E-passport holders going through the e-Gates need to make sure that they look similar to their e-Passport photo, avoiding any accessories that might cover a part of their face.
- Abiding by certain restrictions regarding the transportation of medicines into New Zealand. If the visitor has a prescription of the medicines, he/she is carrying then he/she must declare it in the passenger arrival card.
- Attaining a stamped passport along with a travel authorisation application that proves the approval of your visit.
Items You Must Declare when entering New Zealang
You must be aware that New Zealand has very severe biosecurity guidelines at their international borders so that there is no risk of detrimental pests and diseases. Every risky or objectionable item is required to be declared or disposed of in amnesty bins. It is better to declare if you are not sure about any item.
You must be aware of the following for smooth arrival in New Zealand:
- Passenger Arrival Cards –These cards are handed over to the passengers by the crew onboard. The cards inform you about the ‘risk goods’
- You must declare all the items that are termed risky on your card. These are goods like food, plants, wood products, soil, water, outdoor equipment, and animal products.
- You must dispose of goods that are risky and undeclared in marked amnesty bins after you arrive at the airport.
- All prohibited and restricted items must be declared.
- You will need to pay infringement fee, fine or penalty if you do not declare risk items mentioned on your Passenger Arrival Card.
Prohibited articles when entering New Zealand
Many items are prohibited, and you cannot import them into New Zealand. There are some items that need approval to import.
Here is a list of items that you cannot carry into NZ:
- offensive content on videotapes and CD-ROMs, etc.
- Any sort of weapons like flick knives and knuckle-dusters, etc.
- Any disguised weapon
- Equipment to use cannabis or methamphetamine
- Any item that can be used in any sort of criminal activity.
For carrying the following items, you will need a permit:
- ivory items like jewellery or carved items
- jewellery made from tortoise or sea turtle shell
- meat or food items derived from whales, dolphins, rare crane, and pheasants, or sea turtles
- medicines that contain musk or rhinoceros or tiger derivatives
- items made out of whalebone or bone of any sea mammals
- cat skin
- trophies made from sea turtles, all big cats, rare reptiles, cranes, pheasants, bears, antelope, and deer
- live animals, including pet eagles, hawks, owls and parrots, many cacti, orchids, cycads, and cyclamens
- carnivorous plants
You cannot carry controlled drugs into NZ like medicines that contain pseudoephedrine.
You can carry prescription medicines if you have a valid prescription.
Any pests or diseases that can result from the items you carry can be risky as they can cause harm to New Zealand’s environment and economy.
Passengers are therefore required to declare any items that could be risky (Ministry for Primary Industries) as mentioned on the passenger arrival card.
List of risky items:
- fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, honey, ingredients used in cooking, and all dairy products
- alive or dead plants and seeds
- wooden items
- alive or dead animals
- alive or dead animal products
- traditional/herbal medicines
- any shoes, sports or outdoor equipment you’ve used.
If you fail to declare these items, you can be fined or prosecuted by MPI.
After MPI officers finish inspecting your items, they may return them to you. In certain cases, your items might need to be treated, but for this, you will need to make a payment.
Carrying food items for personal use
You are required to declare all food items that you carry into New Zealand. Quarantine officers may inspect the food items you are carrying.
Food restrictions as a preventive measure
MPI does not allow certain some food products that they consider risky as they may result in pests or diseases or both. Also, they restrict food items that can
- harm their natural resources
- affect agricultural and horticultural production negatively
- have an effect on trade with other nations
- act as a threat to NZ’s economy
When you land on the New Zealand airport, you should declare on your Passenger Arrival Card any food item you have. Biosecurity quarantine inspectors might inspect the food. If you are confused about something, it is suggested not to carry it with you. Any food item that you don’t declare can be taken away, or you may need to pay a fine even if the item is allowed.
Restriction on fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish or honey
You are not allowed to carry fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meat or fish, honey and bee products. It is better to declare them if you have them, else you may be fined, or items can be confiscated.
Food you can carry
You are required to declare even those food items that you are allowed to carry into New Zealand. Usually, MPI officials allow food that is packaged, has shelf-life and unopened.
To ensure that the toxic elements in colours, crayons, finger paints and water colours, don’t harm anyone, these items are not allowed. In case you are carrying any such items, they need to be in accordance to Graphic Materials Group Standard 2009 available on the EPA website. The importers are responsible for ensuring that the items/ substances they have don not fall under the scope of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996. Regarding queries on the same, contact the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has been established so that no trade happens related to dead or alive endangered, threatened, or exploited plants and/or animals, such as souvenirs. In case you are carrying any such item, you need a special permit (Department of Conservation).
Equipment for smoking / taking drugs
Any equipment that is used in smoking or taking drugs like methamphetamine and cannabis utensils or even their parts are restricted items. Some examples are bongs and hash pipes, vaporisers including their parts, roach clips with a pincer or tweezer and anything to use methamphetamine.
The only exception is tobacco pipes.
Firearms and weapons
To carry firearms and weapons into New Zealand, you need an NZ Police permit. You should attain the permit before arriving at the NZ airport. Certain prohibited items of this category are flick knives, butterfly knives, knuckle-dusters, swordsticks or any disguised weapon.
Bringing human ashes into NZ is permitted but do declare them and carry a death certificate or cremation certificate of the person. In case you are sending human ashes by post, you are required to do postal declaration about the contents of the package. Do include a copy of death or cremation certificate.
Any type of publication falls under the category of objectionable if it pertains to sex, horror, crime, cruelty or violence and is likely to harm the public interest in any way. Some examples of such material could be in the form of films, videos, computer games, DVDs, CD-ROMs, books, posters, music recordings, magazines, photographs, paintings, t-shirts and computer files.
Such items must be declared when you arrive in New Zealand.
Importing or exporting any objectionable publications, involving children or young people, related to terrorism or violent themes, or sexual violence is an offence that can lead to arrest or even imprisonment.
This also applies to using the internet or social media apps, downloading and/or uploading any objectionable files. Obscene sex toys or dolls can also be seized.
Legislation: Sections 95, 96 and 99 of the Customs and Excise Act 2018, Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.
Radio transmitters and telecommunications equipment
If you have any transmitting devices, they are required to meet the NZ technical standards set by Radio Spectrum Management. Some examples are
- dog-tracking devices
- radio transmitters
- cordless phones
- cellphones (mobile phones)
- baby monitor,
- similar equipment.
Vaporisers are strictly prohibited under the Misuse of Drugs (Prohibition of Cannabis Utensils and Methamphetamine Utensils) Notice 2014. If you have any such item, they will be seized and destroyed.
Prohibited and restricted exports
Prohibited or restricted items that you cannot take with you out of NZ without a permit, or at all include pounamu (greenstone) in its natural state, paua, wildlife, antiquities, some works of art.
If you need to carry any pets to New Zealand, they must meet the health requirements that are different for each animal and nation. MPI has set these standards for pets to ensure no unwanted diseases, pests, and animals enter New Zealand.
Does a British citizen need a visa to travel to New Zealand?
Even if you are a British citizen, you would need an eTA or visa depending on the purpose and duration of travel from July 2019. Currently, UK passport holders can stay in New Zealand for up to 6 months since the US falls under the Visa Waiver Program 2009. But from July 2019 onwards, a New Zealand eTA will be a must for the UK citizens wishing to visit New Zealand for short stays up to 180 days. From October 1st, 2019, it will become mandatory for British travellers to obtain an eTA before boarding a plane. For purposes other than tourism, the UK citizens need to apply for a visa.
How to apply for eTA from the UK?
The New Zealand eTA aims to enhance security and immigration risks and to make the process of obtaining NZ eTA as hassle-free and quick as possible. The online form on our website takes just a few minutes to complete without needing to go physically to the embassy or consulate.
All British citizens must have a valid unexpired passport and meet the basic visa requirements, such as not have had any prison time in the last 5 years, not have committed offenses in the last one year, not have been deported or excluded from any other country or if you are deemed to be dangerous enough to commit a crime or present a security or public threat.
You will also be required to pay a processing fee, and a tourist tax levy called the International Visitor Conservation & Tourism Levy (IVL) of NZ to apply for an NZ eTA.
The application process for the NZ eTA is pretty simple and is done in three steps:
- Applicants are filling up the online eTA application, which takes a few minutes. You need to provide certain details, such as :
- Full name of the applicant
- Date of Birth
- Passport details
- Contact details
- Declarations about travel intention and criminal conviction history
- Biometric information- passport photo (optional)
- Once the online application is completed, you are required to pay the processing fee as well as the IVL in the same transaction via either a credit card or debit card.
- The eTAs are processed within 72 hours. Once your application is approved, you will receive the eTA visa waiver in your inbox by email.
You must thoroughly verify all the information you have provided in the form before you complete your payment. The response to the eTA application form is immediate and often within just a few minutes. Remember to note the ‘case number’ which can be used for future verifications, any potential corrections and your application status. It is advised to put in your contact details a telephone number or an email address so that you can get regular updates and notifications about your eTA application status and expiry date.
It is essential that you apply for NZ eTA at least 72 hours before boarding a flight or a cruise due to the processing time of eTA. While you may be able to request an eTA when you are checking-in, if the application is not processed in time or is declined due to some reason, you will not be allowed to board.
What are the visa requirements for UK citizen travelling to New Zealand?
If you have a UK passport, you don’t need an NZ visa for tourist stays up to 6 months. However, your passport must be valid for at least three months from your date of departure from New Zealand.
Is the process of eTA application same for UK and all other Visa Waiver Nations?
Yes, the process of application remains the same. eTA represents the system for Electronic Travel Authorisation. Upon the qualification under the Visa Waiver Program, all British citizens are permitted to stay in New Zealand for not more than 180 days. Anybody with an eTA cannot exercise the same rights as a fellow person with a Visa. A non-immigrant visa and eTA are different travel permits. If you wish to stay over at New Zealand permanently, there is a requirement for you to fill up the form of Immigrant Visa. Without it, if you plan to overstay your eTA, it will be considered illegal.
Every UK traveller can easily go online and fill up the secure application form on our website. The eTA of New Zealand would also require a processing fee. You can pay your fee with a debit card or a credit card. All cards including MasterCard, Visa card and American Express are accepted. It is necessary that you should have sufficient funds in the bank account to pay for the processing fee after you have filled up the form.
On most cases, the applicant can expect feedback of their application form submission almost immediately and rarely does it take 72 hours for them to respond.
Before you submit the information, you should check the application form thoroughly to ensure every detail is correct. Once your payment is done, it cannot be reverted. Even if the mistake is inconsequential, you will have to pay a fee for another form. In case of false information, your eTA will be denied, and you would not be able to travel to New Zealand.
The application form is straightforward and in your native language, for your convenience. It should be noted that the date format varies from one-time zone to another and hence the form should be filled diligently. If not filled up properly, it can lead to cancellation. It should also be noted that there is a specific case number for each eTA application. Thus, these case numbers should be penned down properly for future reference regarding your eTA application to New Zealand. In case of an emergency, this reference number will help you overcome the problem.
How long is eTA authorisation for British citizens valid?
Your eTA authorisation for your travel to New Zealand shall be valid for 2 years and till the date before the expiry of your passport. In such a case, whichever comes first shall determine the validity of your eTA authorisation. If there is a case where you have applied for your eTA for your trip to New Zealand and your journey to the country is within the span of the 2 years, the validity of your eTA is still up. If you’re touring on the last year of your eTA validity and its terms end when you are in New Zealand, it shall remain unexpired until you come back to the country of your origin.
What are NZ entry requirements for British citizens?
To gain entry to New Zealand, you need to meet a few more requirements apart from having a valid eTA or Visa. If all the requirements are not met, then your entry into the country will be restricted.
Given below are the basic requirements for entry into New Zealand country:
- All your documents should be arranged in order. Attested copies and originals should be within your reach, and they should tally with the information you have provided when applying for an eTA or Visa.
- Your passport should have a blank page for the entry stamp.
- Unless you are planning to migrate to New Zealand, you must have a return ticket along with your travelling ticket. Visa Waiver countries or other countries with a valid visa must oblige to this rule.
- You must have enough money that will cover your deportation, if the need may arise.
- Customs officers will check your electronic gadgets like laptops and cell phones. You might be asked to unlock your device in case further scrutiny is required. Failure to comply will draw a fine up to 5000 NZD.
- Biosecurity items as declared by the Customs should be disposed of before entering the country. New Zealand takes pride in being environmentally-friendly and clean and the same is expected from the visitors.
- Food items, such as honey or plant items like seeds are not allowed into the territory unless sanctioned by the government. Pets too have to be quarantined for at least 3 months before they are allowed in the country. So unless you are planning to move to NZ, it is advised not bring your pets.
- Your vaccinations must be up to date, and you must carry the same in person when travelling to New Zealand. Many medications are banned in NZ and if you are found to be in possession of them they will be disposed of immediately.
Contact Information of New Zealand Embassies in UK
New Zealand High Commission in London, United Kingdom:
Address – 2nd floor, New Zealand House
80 Haymarket SW1Y 4TQ
Telephone – 020 7930 8422
Working Hours – Monday to Friday, 9.00 hours to 17.00 hours
New Zealand Consulate in Belfast
Address – The Ballance House
118A Lisburn Road, Glenavy, Co. Antrim BT29NY
Telephone – +44 28 7181 2699
New Zealand Consulate in Edinburgh
Address – 5 Rutland Square
Edinburgh EH1 2AX
Telephone – +44 131 220 0591