New Zealand has introduced new requirements for passengers from Visa waiver countries to have a ETA – NZ Electronic Travel Authorization – since October 1, 2019.
It’s the first time that New Zealand introduces such a requirement even though it has been the norm in Australia for decades and later the U.S. jumped on the bandwagon with ESTA, followed by Canada with their ETA as well.
The fee for the NZ version of the ETA which is valid for up to 2 years is NZ$9/NZ$12 depending whether you do it using an app or on their website (reduced fee on the app). Most NZeTA eligible passengers are also required to pay IVL (International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy) of NZ$35.
You can access New Zealand Immigration’s page for NZeTA here.
Note that Australian citizens do not require this travel authorization.
The ETA is however required for all travelers touching New Zealand soil including for TRANSIT. Additionally this requirement also extends to cruise ship passengers.
Visa Waiver Countries (require NZeTA effective October 1, 2019):
Many passengers are caught off guard by these ETA’s as they are being told they can’t check in by the airline staff. The airlines have access to the database of the respective country and if there is no ETA saved under the respective passport it pings back with an error.
In some cases like Australia airlines can process the ETA on their internal system and it usually goes through immediately for which they charge a pretty hefty fee as I recently witnessed in Hong Kong at the Cathay Pacific transit desk. For the U.S. ESTA a last minute application isn’t possible anymore as per recent changes and those arriving at the airport without one will definitely no fly that day.
For travelers to New Zealand who were used to just present their passport this is definitely something new and the NZ ETA should be applied for close to the departure date so you have a long validity for possible future travel dates.
The cheapest method is to use the app and lodge the application there as it costs NZ$9 ($3 less than on the website – no idea why).