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New Zealand introduces new electronic travel authorisation and levy

Short on time? Here are the highlights:

  • New Zealand is introducing a new electronic travel authorisation requirement (the NZeTA) for visitors from 60 visa exempt countries
  • The NZeTA comes into effect on 1 October 2019
  • It will be required for all visitors from visa waiver countries who are planning shorter-term studies in New Zealand without a student visa

Immigration New Zealand has announced that a new electronic travel authorisation will be in effect as of 1 October 2019. The new authorisation – the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) – will be mandatory for all visitors, including students, from 60 visa waiver (that is, visa exempt) countries.

Visitors can apply for the NZeTA online or via a mobile app. The NZeTA will cost NZD$9 via the mobile app and NZD$12 through the website. At the same time that a visitor requests an NZeTA, they will be asked to pay a further NZD$35 International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy, or IVL, which was separately introduced by the New Zealand government on 1 July 2019.

“Around one and a half million people travel to New Zealand each year from 60 different visa waiver countries,” said Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. “The NZeTA is a quick and easy way to ensure we know more about people travelling to New Zealand from visa waiver countries. The NZeTA request takes less than 10 minutes to complete and will bring New Zealand’s border control into line with international best practices, with the United States, Canada, and Australia already having electronic travel authorities.”

The NZeTA is valid for two years and can be used for multiple entries to New Zealand during that time. The IVL is charged every time a visitor requests a new visa or NZeTA.

Revenues raised via the IVL will be used to fund projects that support New Zealand’s “natural environment and biodiversity”. A statement from Immigration New Zealand adds, “[The IVL] is expected to raise over NZD$450 million over five years, funding projects to ensure our country and our people get the best from tourism growth. Our international visitors will be contributing directly to the infrastructure they use and helping to protect the natural places they enjoy.”

How does this apply to students?

Students from visa exempt countries who are planning to visit or study in New Zealand without a visa (that is, for six months or less) will need to apply for an NZeTA before they travel, and will be asked to pay the IVL at the same time. Immigration New Zealand suggests allowing up to 72 hours for an NZeTA application to be processed, but notes as well that requests may be processed in minutes.

Those from visa waiver countries planning to study for six months or more will need to apply for a student visa but will not require a NZeTA. These applicants will still be required to pay the IVL, however, which will now be automatically added to the fees for a new student visa or visa renewal.

For additional background, please see:

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