New Zealand welcomes visitors from across the globe, many of whom can stay in the country visa-free for a specified period of time provided they apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).
Under normal circumstances, international travellers can enter New Zealand without facing restrictions, providing they hold a valid passport and the correct visa or NZeTA.
Temporary entry limitations may be imposed at short notice in certain circumstances, it is important to stay up to date with the latest advice issued by the New Zealand government.
Visa applicants can find information below about general entry requirements plus the extraordinary restrictions currently in place due to the recent coronavirus outbreak.
Entry restrictions for visa-exempt countries
In most cases, the NZeTA will be approved within a matter of minutes. Despite this, applicants should be aware of certain criteria which, if not met, can result in entry to New Zealand being blocked.
Firstly, the applicant’s passport must be valid for 3 months or more beyond the planned stay, travellers with passports which expire before will not be granted entry.
The other reason why an NZeTA application may be blocked is based on character criteria.
Good character requirements mean that applicants with a criminal conviction or who have been deported, removed or excluded from another country may be denied entry.
Entry restrictions also apply to travellers without the following:
- Onward or return ticket
- Visa (if required) for the next destination
- Proof of sufficient funds (NZ $1,000 per person per month, $400 if accommodation is already paid for)
Provided an eligible foreign citizen meets the above requirements, they should not face any entry restrictions for New Zealand.
Passports not accepted to enter New Zealand
Almost all foreigners can enter New Zealand as long as they first obtain the relevant visa or visa waiver.
There are, however, some travel documents deemed unacceptable when applying for a visa for New Zealand:
- Somali passports, the visa is instead linked to a New Zealand Certificate of Identity
- Tongan Protected Person’s passport
- Investor passports issued by Kiribati and Nauru
- Diplomatic and official passports issued by Taiwan
- Article 17 Kuwaiti passport
- Iraqi S series passport
All other passports can be used to apply for either a visa or New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority.
Coronavirus Entry Restrictions for New Zealand
As the world responds to the recent coronavirus outbreak, New Zealand has implemented a series of entry restrictions aimed at safeguarding its residents.
These entry limitations are temporary and expected to be lifted as soon as the disease has been contained.
Entry bans for the countries hardest hit by COVID-19
New Zealand has placed a ban on foreign nationals who have been in mainland China or Iran after the 2nd February 2020. This includes the following groups of people:
- Chinese/Iranian citizens
- Residents of China/Iran
- Travellers transiting through Chinese/Iranian airports
Other foreigners will be asked to self-isolate on arrival in New Zealand
People from other countries will be granted access to New Zealand, provided they haven’t recently spent time in China or Iran, but will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
It is hoped that these measures will help to curb the spread of COVID-19. Only 12 cases of this new strain of the coronavirus have so far been confirmed in New Zealand, a very low figure compared to other affected nations.
Blocking those from states hardest hit by the outbreak and isolating other overseas visitors are considered to be the best way to manage the pandemic.
New Zealand has also made efforts to evacuate its own citizens and those of some of its international allies from China. Nearly 200 evacuees from NZ, Australia, the UK, and various Pacific island countries were flown by Air New Zealand to Auckland where they then spent time in quarantine.
How will coronavirus affect travel to New Zealand?
New Zealand’s entry restrictions are undergoing constant review as the situation develops.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with and recovered from COVID-19 will need to be cleared by a doctor and/or the airline’s own medical team, as per the rules of flying with medical conditions to New Zealand.
International travellers who have not recently passed through the People’s Republic of China or Iran and who have not been infected with the coronavirus can still access New Zealand, so long as they have the correct documentation to enter the country. They will, however, need to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
For nationals of many countries, this will mean obtaining the New Zealand eTA – electronic travel Authority.