It’s soon going to take more money and more paperwork to visit New Zealand. The government of New Zealand just announced a new process for entry called the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). What does that mean for travelers? It essentially means that anyone visiting New Zealand from a visa-waiver country will need to get a visa without actually getting a visa. There are 60 waiver countries on New Zealand’s list. All travelers coming from those countries will need to hold an ETA pass before they can enter. The new rule kicks in on Oct. 1 of this year.
What’s the difference between an ETA pass and a visa? An ETA pass will be effective for up to two years. Travelers won’t have to deal with heavy fines or long waiting periods when trying to obtain ETA passes. The cost for one is about $9 NZD ($6 USD) for requests made via a special mobile app and $12 NZD ($8 USD) for requests made through web browsers. Of course, the process will definitely feel like much more of a hassle when compared to the previous method of simply visiting New Zealand without any special pass.
One important thing to know is that you won’t just need an ETA pass if you are planning to travel to New Zealand via plane. All visitors who enter via cruise ships will also be asked to present their ETA passes. That means that you will need to worry about getting your pass before you book any upcoming cruises with itineraries that include stops in New Zealand. You will also need an ETA pass even if you are just passing through New Zealand on your way to someplace else and this is not your final destination.
Who won’t need to get an ETA pass? Anyone who holds a New Zealand passport or visa is exempt. In addition, Australian citizens do not need to worry about this change. Other exemptions include crew members and passengers on non-cruise vessels, crews on foreign cargo ships, guests of New Zealand’s government, people traveling under the Antarctic Treaty and members of a visiting force.
There’s one more big change coming on Oct. 1 that New Zealand visitors aren’t going to be thrilled about. That’s the day the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy kicks in. This fee will cost you an extra $35 NZD ($24 USD) per visit. The only good thing is that you’re good for your entire visit once you pay the fee.
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