Since October 1st, 2019, citizens of 60 countries (including EU member states) are required to obtain a New Zealand eTA for short trips and transit through NZ. This applies to nations that were previously able to visit New Zealand visa-free, otherwise known as visa waiver countries.
Check the list of visa waiver countries detailed on the NZeTA requirements page to see if your nationality is eligible for a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority.
Check the list of transit visa waiver countries detailed on the New Zealand eTA Transit page to see if your passport enables you to transit through Auckland International Airport with an NZeTA rather than a Transit Visa.
Australian foreign permanent residents, regardless of their nationality, need to obtain the new electronic travel authority, NZ eTA (but are not charged the associated tourist levy). Australian citizens, however, can travel to New Zealand without a visa and do not need to register for an NZeTA either.
The eTA for New Zealand does not change a traveller’s visa-free status. In fact, it can be considered a visa waiver, meaning that it confirms that the traveller does not need a visa for New Zealand, but rather a simple electronic authorisation.
The eTA allows New Zealand authorities to keep better track of who crosses the border and when, and to digitize all verification processes, making queues at the border noticeably shorter.
Can you enter New Zealand without a visa?
Citizens of 60 countries can travel to New Zealand without a visa for short stays or transit, but must apply online for the new electronic travel authority: the New Zealand eTA.
Transit passengers holding passports from transit visa waiver countries are required to apply for a Transit eTA before departure if their trip requires a layover in Auckland International Airport.
Pre-registering an eTA application online is obligatory for these citizens from October 2019.
However, Australian permanent residents of other nationalities will also be required to apply for the eTA (although they are not charged the associated International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy).
Australian nationals are the only exception, since they are permitted visa-exempt travel to New Zealand and are not expected to apply for an NZeTA either.
Did eTA eligible citizens lose visa-free status for New Zealand?
The eTA did not change relations between New Zealand and its visa waiver countries (which include the EU). On the contrary, citizens who enjoyed visa-free status before, still do. The NZeTA is intended to benefit both New Zealand and international tourism thanks to:
- Better border control
- The latest technology in fighting serious crimes like identity theft
- Completely electronic, online process
- Shorter waiting times at passport control