The New Zealand Government will have systems in place for pre-registration for the Electronic Travel Authority as of July 2019. Travelers from the United States and other current visa-waiver countries will require the eTA from 1st October 2019.
What the Electronic Travel Authority (eTA) means for United States travelers
Travelers who do not required a visa to enter New Zealand, such as United States nationals, will require this electronic form of authorization which is provided in PDF form. The passport will not present a visible label as this eTA visa waiver will be generated online on a website. The electronic authority will then be submitted to the applicant’s inbox via email.
By gathering and screening applicants’ essential information, this new facilitation measure will significantly accelerate the border clearance process and enhance security. All data on the prospective traveler can be verified against security databases before the individual even arrives at New Zealand’s borders.
The United States was among the first of many countries globally who have, or are now, implementing similar steps to simplify the travel application process and strengthen their borders. The United States’ Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is a visa waiver system for travelers visiting the United States either by sea or air for tourism, transit or business visits under 90 days. Application is made online before embarking on travels to the United States, and the electronic authorization is valid for two years.
Travelers in possession of Australia’s Electronic Travel Authority are permitted to stay for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is due to come into play in 2021. Visitors to the Schengen area will need this travel authorization, which will be valid for 3 years or until the passport expiration date, whichever comes first, prior to embarking on their trip. Visitors will then be permitted to stay for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.
Aims of The Electronic Travel Authority:
- Provide the characteristics of foreign travelers planning to visit New Zealand;
- Screen for the purpose of the visit of prospective travelers;
- Minimize New Zealand’s security to risk of exposure;
- Cut immigration threats;
- Challenge smuggling and biosecurity hazards;
- Limit New Zealand’s borders to exposure posed by cruise liners and travelers arriving via the marine pathway;
- Modernize New Zealand’s border controls in accordance with optimal international practices;
- Keep up to date with the changing needs and requirements of travelers, stakeholders and government;
- Meet expectations of carriers and travelers by providing personalized services in accordance with and relating to digital interaction with authorities;
- Provide a platform for collecting the IVL (International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy)
At present, travelers from the United States arriving in New Zealand on board air carriers or cruise liners require only a valid passport, and no other travel authorization or Visitor’s visa. Current numbers suggest that approximately one-and-a-half-million of the approximately four million annual travelers to New Zealand from around the world will be impacted by the impending Electronic Travel Authorization.
Electronic Travel Authority Process
Anyone wanting to travel to New Zealand after 1 October 2019, who is required to hold the Electronic Travel Authority, will not be permitted to board their flight or cruise without it. Once the Electronic Travel Authorization is issued, it will apply for up to 2 years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. The eTA will permit multiple entries for business and tourism purposes.
Applicants should complete the online process in five to ten minutes.
- Complete the application for the Electronic Travel Authority online
- Make the payment online using the systems provided
- Submit the application
- Successful application is verified via email
Applicants are required to provide the following information on application
- Birth date
- Contact details
- A passport photo
The following declarations must be made to ascertain eligibility to travel to New Zealand
- Criminal conviction history
- Travel intention
A physical entry into the passport will be done away with, and the electronic authorization system will confirm the successful application by way of a verification email. Approval should take only a matter of minutes but may take up to 72 hours.
Applications should therefore be made well in advance of the intended travel date. Applicants may register for the eTA at check in, although this is not recommended as boarding will not be permitted in the event of declined applications or those not processed in time.
The Electronic Travel Authority in PDF format will be scanned when the holder enters New Zealand and may be checked by immigration officers.
Passport requirements for application for eTA by US passport holders
New Zealand has Visa Waiver Agreements with the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Passport holders from these countries may visit New Zealand visa-free for anywhere up to 3 months. These passport holders are required to have:
- a passport that is neither defaced nor damaged
- return air tickets or valid onwards ticket to a country with permission/right to enter
- a passport valid for three months after the date they are leaving New Zealand
- proof of sufficient funds for the duration of the visit
- a wish to visit for the time granted on arrival
United States travelers requiring the Electronic Travel Authority
- When arriving on a cruise ship, regardless of nationality
- Cruise ship crew and Commercial Airline crew: eTA linked to employment will be valid for up to 5 years. Employers should request an eTA on behalf of all working crew and positioning crew traveling to New Zealand in the scope of their employment, using the bulk upload feature to handle mass applicants in a single transaction
- Australian permanent residents
- Travelers in transit through Auckland Airport whether New Zealand is their intended final destination or not
United States citizens do not require a visa to travel in New Zealand if:
- visiting for 3 months or less
- not visiting for the purpose of medical consultation or treatment
These are the visa waiver countries:
European Union Countries (incl. United Kingdom):
Travelers who do NOT require the Electronic Travel Authority
- Any citizen who must apply for, or is already in possession of, a visa
- Australian citizens traveling on Australian passports
- New Zealand citizens using a New Zealand passport or New Zealand citizens traveling with a foreign passport which recognizes the passport holder as a New Zealand citizen
- Crew and passengers of a non-cruise vessel
- Crew on any foreign cargo ship
- Members of a visiting force and linked crew members
- Foreign citizens traveling under The Antarctic Treaty
- Guests of the New Zealand Government