New Zealand recently introduced the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL). Most foreign visitors are required to pay for a levy of 35 USD that will be invested in sustainable tourism and conservation projects. This way, international travellers will be contributing directly to protecting nature and the infrastructure they use and enjoy while visiting New Zealand.
The amount of foreign visitors to New Zealand has been growing over the years and the number of international travellers is expected to continue to increase. New Zealand introduced a new electronic travel authority. The New Zealand eTA is mandatory starting October 1st, 2019. The eTA for New Zealand is available for citizens of 60 eligible countries and all cruise travellers. Airline and cruise line crew need to apply for a Crew eTA to enter New Zealand.
Citizens from visa waiver countries need to meet the NZ eTA travel authority requirements in order to obtain it. The New Zealand eTA application form is straightforward and easy to complete. Although most applications are approved within 1 business day, applicants are advised to submit their application at least 3 business days before their expected date of departure. Once the eTA has been processed and approved, it will be sent to the traveller by email.
The NZ eTA is a multiple entry travel authority that is valid for a period of 2 years. To get the eTA, the applicant needs to cover the fee of the travel authority as well as the tourist tax, known as IVL. Nationals who are not eligible for the eTA will still need to apply for a tourist visa for New Zealand and will need to cover the IVL as well. Once in the country, visitors are advised not to overstay in New Zealand as this has serious repercussions.
By covering the IVL foreign visitors will be investing in New Zealand. The country expects this new tax will raise over 450 million USD over the first 5 years. The money will be invested in ensuring that tourism growth is sustainable.
Who is required to pay the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL)?
The majority of foreign visitors entering New Zealand for short-term stays are now required to pay for the IVL. However, those travelling on student visas and short-term work visas must also cover the new New Zealand tourist tax.
There are a few exceptions, though, Australian citizens and permanent residents, as well as nationals from several Pacific Island countries, are not required to pay the IVL.
To make it easier for foreign visitors, the immigration system of New Zealand will determine if the traveller needs to pay for the IVL when they apply for an NZ eTA or for a visa.
The following individuals will not need to cover the IVL:
- New Zealand citizens and residents
- Travellers transiting New Zealand on a transit visa or a transit NZ eTA
- Australian citizens and permanent residents
- Diplomatic, military, medical, and humanitarian visas
- Business visitor visas, including APEC business travel cards
- Nationals of the following Pacific Island countries: American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federal States of Micronesia, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu
- Ship and airline crew
- People travelling to Antarctica under the Antarctic Treaty (including people travelling on the Antarctic Traveller Transit Visa)
- Recognised Seasonal Employment workers
- Business Visitor Visas (including APEC business travel cards)
- Most visas for dependants (partners and children) of work and student visa holders
- Travellers whose visa or NZeTA requirements have been waived by Immigration New Zealand
When do travellers need to pay for the IVL?
Foreign visitors who are eligible for the New Zealand eTA will need to pay for the IVL when they request the travel authority. The tax will automatically be added to the travellers’ NZeTA fee during the application process.
Nationals that are not eligible for the NZ eTA and must get a visa, will need to pay for the IVL when applying for their visa.
Travellers will need to pay for the IVL each time they apply for a visa or apply for the NZ eTA.
How will the IVL be spent?
New Zealand has introduced the IVL with a clear goal in mind, to change the way foreign visitors invest in tourism. The government hopes that this will have a long term impact on the way tourism works.
There are 3 areas where the IVL will be spent:
However, so that the money is well invested, an advisory group will be set up with expertise in local government, conservation, tourism, and Māori perspectives. The advisory group will be working with MBIE and the Department of Conservation to develop an Investment plan that will support various programs.