Understanding New Zealand Visa Laws (NZeTA)
Since October 2019, visa waiver travellers need to apply for an NZeTA to visit New Zealand.
Like virtually all countries in the world, New Zealand has its own visa system in place to screen incoming travellers and prevent undesirable individuals from entering the country. Yet the rules and regulations surrounding the New Zealand visa can sometimes appear confusing, especially to inexperienced travellers. In this article, we’ll go over them in detail.
The NZeTA visa
In the past, New Zealand had visa waivers in place for a wide variety of travellers that wanted to visit the country on a Visitor Visa. These included, for example, citizens from 60 countries and cruise ship passengers and crew. All of those individuals were allowed to enter New Zealand without a visa. However, this no longer applies since 1 October 2019. If you are visa waiver, you now need to apply for the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, or NZeTA.
The NZeTA is, by all accounts, a visa, since it functions in exactly the same way. It allows you to enter New Zealand for a limited amount of time and must be applied for before departure. The NZeTA has to be acquired for all trips to New Zealand, including brief transits. The only people that are exempt from it are Australian nationals.
The visa is fit for a variety of activities in New Zealand, from tourism to business trips and even job applications. The visa is valid for two years, and you are allowed to stay in the country for up to 3 consecutive months.
How to apply for one
However, unlike most regular visas that require a visit to the embassy, the NZeTA is instead applied for online. The application starts by filling out the online application form. This form asks all the standard personal questions such as date of birth and expected date of arrival. You must also state the purpose of your trip, tourism, business, medical or a transit. Extra care should be taken when filling out the passport details. The NZeTA visa is electronically linked to your passport number. If the number filled in on the application form is not correct, airlines and customs will not be able to tell whether you were granted a visa. You will not be allowed to board the plane to New Zealand. After everything has been filled in, the visa cost has to be paid. The visa is then granted on average within 5 working days.
NZeTA visa requirements
To apply for an NZeTA, a number of requirements have to be met. The passport used to apply for it needs to be valid for at least 3 more months after the planned date of departure from New Zealand. A return or onward ticket must already have been booked before departure. You must also be able to prove that you have sufficient financial means to pay for your entire stay. Working in New Zealand is not allowed under any circumstances, even if it concerns unpaid volunteer work. While you are allowed to go on a business trip with the NZeTA, this does not include actual labour. Finally, you cannot have received a prison sentence of 5 or more years. Additionally, if in the past 10 years you received a prison sentence of 12 months or longer, you also do not qualify for the NZeTA.
Failure to observe New Zealand’s visa laws can lead to immediate deportation and even a total ban on submitting any future applications.