Home » New Travel Rules for New Zealand, New Zealand Tourist Visa

New Travel Rules for New Zealand, New Zealand Tourist Visa

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It’s going to take a few extra steps to get into New Zealand soon! You will now require a New Zealand tourist visa to visit NZ. The new tourist visa requirements kick into effect on the 1st October 2019! It is important to remember as the new visa needs affect those from countries that were previously exempt from having to get a New Zealand visa, also known as ‘visa waiver countries’.

This whole thing could come as a shock for people used to travelling with a visa to New Zealand but for new visitors, it will probably feel like standard procedure for travel to a foreign country. Residents from 60 visa waiver countries like citizens of European Union (EU) countries, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) were able to simply book a flight and go, but no more.

New Zealand has experienced quite an increase in tourism numbers over the recent decade (both Lord of the Rings inspired and general travel curiosity about his land down here). That has meant a lot more pressure on the very natural environment people come to enjoy. Preserving and protecting a pristine land is no easy task, but when you’re getting a whole lot of visitors at the same time, it can become overwhelming.

Countries across the world have lost green spaces due to urbanization and commercial ventures, but New Zealand remains one of the few places that can boast a sea of protected green.  But due to high visitor numbers, small communities have been struggling. The costs to maintain this green however have significantly increased and the government has said it is hoping the new fees associated with the visa requirements will help them better maintain that natural perfection.

plane to new zealand
Make sure you get your visa before you get on your plane – as you won’t be able to board!

How to apply for a tourist visa to New Zealand

Before the new rules, residents of the 60 visa waiver countries were able to stay in New Zealand for 90 days without a visa.  Citizens of the UK were able to stay for six months.

But all of this changes as of October 2019 -maintaining tourist infrastructure isn’t that easy when you’re a country trying to hold onto its green roots.

If you are from one of the 60 visa waiver countries, you must apply for the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA). The NZeTA is an electronic version of the old visa waiver and you can do it online before booking your trip. Most applications take from 24 hours to 72 hours to approve. Once you are approved you can book your ticket, travel and gain entry into the country. 

Additionally, if you are a cruise ship passenger, regardless of your citizenship country, you’ve got to apply. And if you are transiting through an airport in the country, you will need one also. Australian citizens and citizens from some Pacific islands are exempt.

To check out if these new rules apply to you, you can follow this link to find out:

To apply with assistance and without adding any stress to your life just click on this link or check out the official link below.


Although there is an added step here versus travel before, you don’t have to go to an embassy or consulate to get the visa waiver.  And BONUS, the NZeTA is valid for two years and you can use it for multiple visits. So overall, it is still pretty easy to travel to New Zealand, you’ve just got to take an extra few minutes to click and type in your details.

New Costs for the New Zealand visitor visa

The cost for applying for the NZeTA online is NZ $12 (if you download New Zealand Immigration’s mobile app, it’s NZ $9). There is an additional International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) of NZ$ 35 that was put into place on July 1. If you use this link, you won’t have the worry of doing it yourself all for a reasonable fee of $57 USD. It is an added cost for your trip to New Zealand, but the government has promised that the money will be used for upkeep.

Musings from the inside

There has definitely been debate within New Zealand about how NZeTA requirements will affect tourism. New Zealanders love sharing the beauties of their country and many have gone into the tourism business to help visitors get a real taste of this land down under. The debate has been around how the new rules will affect tourism numbers.

The new rules have been designed to help keep the country the way it is so visitors will be able to enjoy the unique landscape. And also to help ensure that residents of the country can continue to enjoy the lifestyle they do. But some people worry that the additional dollars to protect the land could reduce the number of people who visit. And this would be rather counter-intuitive.

However, these types of fees are quite standard practice across the board while travelling to foreign countries. Most people who want to experience New Zealand are not going to change their mind over NZ $47 fee.  There have, however, been some numbers coming out since July, when the international travel levy was introduced, that indicate a reduction in tourism from certain countries. Particularly China and Indian – which people believe is due to the slowness of getting a suitable visa granted from NZ embassies in their country.

But overall, tourism as a sector always has fluctuations in numbers. And as with anything new, there is always a bit of time required to adjust to the new way of things. The government has already pledged funds from the international tourist levy to boost at least 10 tourism-related projects which could help protect our local wealth of nature!

The new funds from the visa requirements and tourism levy have the potential to keep New Zealand the way it is, for many years to come. This wild and free world of ours is what visitors expect and the people that call New Zealand home love. So now that all of that stuff is explained don’t forget to organise your visa before you hop on that plane!