Visa policy of New Zealand

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Foreign nationals wishing to enter the Realm of New Zealand must obtain a visa unless they are

  • a citizen or permanent resident of Australia or
  • a citizen of one of the 60 visa waiver eligible countries and territories
  • a holder of the United Nations laissez-passer or
  • eligible for visa-free travel under other specific provisions (visiting force, cruise ship passengers and crew, aircraft crew, etc.).

Both citizens and permanent residents of Australia are deemed to hold resident status in New Zealand upon arrival under the Trans-Tasman travel arrangement.

Visitors must hold passports that are valid for at least 3 months beyond the period of intended stay. Visitors are required to hold proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay: NZD 1,000 per person per month of stay or NZD 400 if accommodation has been prepaid. Visitors are required to hold documents required for their next destination.[1]

New Zealand issues eVisas to nationals of visa waiver countries and China. Applications for student, work, and visitor visas can be lodged online.[2]

Overview[edit]

A specimen of a New Zealand eVisa confirmation letter, for a Visitor Visa.
A New Zealand Visitor Visa label in a passport. Such labels are only issued upon request.

Any person who is not a New Zealand citizen may only travel to New Zealand if holding a valid visa or is a person to whom a visa waiver applies.[3]

While there are many different categories of visa, they can be fundamentally broken down into three classes:[4]

  • Residence class visas allows the holder to work, study and remain in New Zealand indefinitely, and does not expire while the holder remains in New Zealand.[5] Conditions may be placed on a Resident Visa: most commonly, these conditions specify a period of time where one may leave and re-enter New Zealand as a resident, but may also relate to other matters (for example, a migrant applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category may have a condition imposed of taking up an offer of skilled employment within 3 months of arrival).[6] It is, however, possible for the holder of a Resident Visa to obtain a Permanent Resident Visa upon meeting all conditions and upon demonstrating a commitment to New Zealand, which allows the holder to work, study and remain in New Zealand unconditionally, as well as leave and re-enter New Zealand at any time, and the Permanent Resident Visa itself never expires.[7]
  • Temporary entry class visas have a set expiry date, and conditions placed upon them based on the category under which the holder applied for a visa. Visas intended for tourism, long-term study or foreign employment in New Zealand are typical examples of a temporary entry class visa.[8]
  • Transit visas allow the holder to pass through New Zealand on a journey between two sovereign states.[9]

Holding a visa, or taking advantage of a visa waiver, does not in itself entitle a person to enter New Zealand itself: it only entitles the person to travel to New Zealand and apply for entry permission.[5][8] Entry permission to New Zealand must be granted to a person for that person to be able to enter New Zealand; this is typically done by an immigration officer at the border. Refusal of entry permission results in automatic visa cancellation, and the person being made liable for turnaround if the person has arrived at the border.[10] While most foreign nationals must apply for, and be granted, entry permission at the border, holders of a Permanent Resident Visa, a Resident Visa granted in New Zealand, or a Resident Visa granted outside New Zealand where the holder has previously travelled to New Zealand are granted entry permission as of right.[11]

New Zealand issues electronic visas (an "eVisa") for all visa application types, though a physical label may be placed in a passport upon request. Electronic visas are linked to a specific passport, and it is necessary for a visa holder to formally request a visa transfer if a new passport is obtained.[2]

New Zealand does not stamp passports of New Zealand citizens, residence class visa holders, or Australian citizens and permanent residents. Holders of a temporary entry class visa, or visa waiver travellers seeking a Visitor Visa on arrival may receive passport stamps if they enter through a staffed immigration counter instead of the automated eGates; however, Immigration New Zealand and the New Zealand Customs Service are investigating the possibility of removing passport stamps entirely.[12]

Australian citizens and permanent residents[edit]

By virtue of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, Australian citizens and permanent residents are granted a Resident Visa on arrival if they are of good character. This Resident Visa expires when the holder leaves New Zealand; a variation of travel conditions may be sought if the holder later intends to re-enter New Zealand on that same visa. This then allows the holder's residence in New Zealand to be considered continuous, which is an important factor if the holder intends to later apply for a Permanent Resident Visa or the grant of New Zealand citizenship.[13]

Visa policy map[edit]

Visa policy of New Zealand
  New Zealand
  Visa-free entry for an indefinite period (Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement)
  Visa-free entry for 6 months, subject to Visitor Visa rules (no employment, no study for more than 3 months)
  Visa-free entry for 3 months, subject to Visitor Visa rules
  Visa required for entry; visa-free transit (up to 24 hours)
  Visa required for entry and transit

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic New Zealand's government implemented a series of measures regarding entry into New Zealand.

Entry into New Zealand is currently prohibited. This does not apply to: [14]

  • Nationals and permanent residents of New Zealand.
  • People holding a resident visa issued by New Zealand with valid travel conditions.
  • Partners and children of nationals or residents of New Zealand. Their visa must be based on the relationship.

Passengers are not allowed to transit through New Zealand. This does not apply to:

  • Nationals of Australia and New Zealand.
  • Permanent residents of New Zealand.
  • Passengers with a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).
  • Passengers holding a transit visa issued by New Zealand.

People allowed to transit through New Zealand can only transit through Auckland for a maximum of 24 hours. Transit through New Zealand to China is completely prohibited.

All arrivals into New Zealand must have a voucher confirming their allocation to a place in managed isolation and are subject to quarantine for 14 days. [15]

Anyone entering or transiting through New Zealand from the United Kingdom or USA must have a medical certificate with a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken at most 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point.

Visa waiver travellers[edit]

A New Zealand general entry stamp issued to a temporary entry class visa holder.
A New Zealand Visitor Visa stamp granted on arrival to a visa waiver traveller.
A New Zealand Resident Visa stamp granted on arrival under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement on an Australian travel document. These stamps have been discontinued from 19 March 2018.[12]

As of 1 October 2019, a visa waiver applies to, but is not limited to, the following people:[16]

  • under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia, holders of a current Permanent Residence Visa issued by the Government of Australia, and holders of a current Resident Return Visa issued by the Government of Australia; and
  • people granted a visa waiver by special direction; and
  • members of a visiting force (including members of the civilian component of the visiting force) as defined in the Visiting Forces Act 2004, but only if:
    • each person is travelling to New Zealand in the ordinary course of the person's duty or employment; and
    • each person is seeking a temporary entry class visa at an immigration control area; and
    • the craft transporting the visiting force is a commercial craft; and
  • members of, or any person associated with, a scientific programme or expedition under the auspices of a Contracting Party to the Antarctic Treaty (within the meaning of the Antarctica Act 1960) or any person to whom section 5 of that Act applies, but only if:
    • the person concerned is seeking a temporary entry class visa; and
    • the application is made at an immigration control area; and
  • cruise ship passengers; and
  • cruise ship crew travelling in the ordinary course of business of the ship; and
  • positioning cruise ship crew; and
  • aircraft crew of an aircraft on a flight between any other country and New Zealand in the course of a scheduled international service; and
  • positioning aircraft crew; and
  • British citizens, and any other British passport holder who can produce evidence of the right to reside permanently in the United Kingdom, but only if the person concerned is seeking a Visitor Visa current for not more than six months and the purposes of the visit do not include medical consultation or treatment; and
  • people travelling on a United Nations laissez-passer who are seeking a Visitor Visa current for not more than three months; and
  • any other class of persons specified in the Immigration (Visa, Entry Permission, and Related Matters) Regulations 2010; and
  • citizens of the following countries, but only if the person concerned is seeking a Visitor Visa current for not more than three months and the purposes of the visit is not for medical consultation or treatment:
Notes
  1. ^ Visa waiver does not apply to people travelling on alien's (non-citizen's) passports issued by these countries.
  2. ^ Only Greek passport holders whose passports were issued on and after 1 January 2006. From 1 January 2007, Greek passports issued before 1 January 2006 are not acceptable for travel to New Zealand.
  3. ^ Residents of Hong Kong travelling on Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or British National (Overseas) passports.
  4. ^ Residents of Macau travelling on Macau Special Administrative Region passports.
  5. ^ Portuguese passport holders must also have the right to live permanently in Portugal.
  6. ^ Permanent residents of Taiwan travelling on a Taiwan passport. A personal identity number printed within the visible section of the biographical page of the Taiwan passport demonstrates that the holder is a permanent resident of Taiwan.
  7. ^ Including nationals of the USA.

New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority[edit]

Since 1 October 2019, travellers that are visa waiver must request a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) prior to travel.[59] The NZeTA is mandatory for all sea and air arrivals, including transit, unless exempt. When issued, it remains valid for the period of two years.[60] NZeTA is priced at NZD 9 or NZD 12 depending on whether the applicant applies through a mobile app or online.[61]

The New Zealand government expects the NZeTA to cause visitor numbers to drop and reduce visitor spending by NZD 51 million.[62]

Exemptions from the NZeTA

The following visa waiver travellers are exempt from the requirement to hold a NZeTA before travelling to New Zealand:

  • citizens of Australia
  • members of, or any person associated with, a scientific programme or expedition under the auspices of a Contracting Party to the Antarctic Treaty
  • members of a visiting force (including civilian components) travelling in the ordinary course of their employment or duty

International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy[edit]

Many tourists, people on working holidays, and some students and workers coming to New Zealand must pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) of NZD $35. This fee is payable at the time of applying for a visa or requesting an NZeTA.[63]

Exemptions from the IVL
  • Australian citizens and residents are exempt from paying the IVL.
  • The following Pacific Island nations are exempt from paying the IVL:

Additionally, exemptions exist for transit passengers arriving at and leaving from Auckland International Airport, holders of a Business Visitor Visa, and holders of an APEC Business Travel Card. Applicants for specific visas also do not need to pay the IVL.

Unacceptable travel documents[edit]

Any travel document issued by the countries or sources listed below are unacceptable for travel to New Zealand, and visas will not be endorsed in them:[64]

APEC Business Travel Card[edit]

Holders of passports issued by the following countries who possess an APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) with the "NZL" code on the reverse that denotes it is valid for travel to New Zealand can enter visa-free for business trips for up to 90 days.[67]

ABTCs are issued to nationals of:[68]

Transit[edit]

A person intending to travel and be in New Zealand as a transit passenger must apply for and obtain a Transit Visa before proceeding to New Zealand, unless this requirement is waived.

Transit facilities are only available at Auckland Airport, and transit passengers must remain in the transit area for the entire period of time in New Zealand and for not longer than 24 hours. Transit passengers not passing through Auckland Airport, or who must leave the transit area of Auckland Airport, or who will remain in the transit area of Auckland Airport for longer than 24 hours are ineligible to enter New Zealand as a transit passenger and will need to obtain a Visitor Visa if they are not a visa waiver traveller.[69]

Transit visa waiver travellers[edit]

As of 20 June 2020, a transit visa waiver applies to, but is not limited to, the following people:[70]

  • a New Zealand citizen or residence class visa holder; or
  • the holder of a temporary entry class visa with relevant travel conditions; or
  • a person to whom a visa waiver applies, but only if a transit or traveller Electronic Travel Authority is held; or
  • if travelling to or from Australia:
    • a person whose immediate or final destination after transiting through New Zealand is Australia, but only if they hold a current visa issued by the Government of Australia to enter Australia, and they hold a transit Electronic Travel Authority; or
    • a person travelling from Australia and holding a transit Electronic Travel Authority; or
  • a person that the Minister of Immigration has, by special direction, classified as a person to whom a transit visa waiver applies; or
  • citizens of the following countries; but only if a transit Electronic Travel Authority is held:[71]

Associated states and dependent territories[edit]

Cook Islands entry stamp issued at Rarotonga International Airport
Niue entry stamp issued at Hanan International Airport

The associated states of the Cook Islands and Niue, and the dependent territory of Tokelau, have visa policies separate to that of New Zealand.

Cook Islands[edit]

All visitors to the Cook Islands, irrespective of nationality, are visa-exempt for a maximum stay of 31 days. Visitors travelling for tourist purposes may extend their stay, for periods of 31 days, up to a maximum of 6 months.[72]

Niue[edit]

Visas are required for all visitors to Niue, except for nationals of New Zealand who are Niueans or descendants of Niueans and nationals of other countries who are bona fide visitors staying 30 days or less. Visitors must have sufficient funds for the length of their stay together with a confirmed reservation for accommodation and those not holding return or onward tickets could be refused entry. Extensions of stay are possible.[73][74]

Tokelau[edit]

All visitors must obtain a permit to enter Tokelau from the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office in Apia, at least 2 weeks prior to travel. Tokelau can only be reached by boat from Samoa and a permit from the Samoan Immigration Authorities is required to leave and re-enter Samoa.[75]

Statistics[edit]

New Zealand issued 262,033 general visitor visas in the 2016/17 fiscal year. Top nationalities were:[76]

Applicant nationality Number of general visitor visas issued
 China 183,692
 India 45,906
 Indonesia 14,378
 Fiji 13,511
 Philippines 17,730
 Thailand 15,074
 South Africa 11,232
 Vietnam 10,216
 Tonga 9,918
 Samoa 9,438
 Russia 5,036

Most visitors came from the following countries of residence:[77]

Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Change (%)
2016-17
2018
 Australia 1,155,792 1,218,016 1,247,760 1,326,800 1,409,200 1,472,160 Increase 4.5 1,494,541
 China, People's Republic of 197,024 228,928 264,864 355,904 409,008 417,872 Increase 2.2 448,189
 United States 177,680 201,424 220,512 243,104 291,392 330,128 Increase 13.3 352,074
 United Kingdom 189,648 191,632 194,416 203,952 220,976 249,264 Increase 12.8 237,166
 Germany 63,776 69,808 78,912 84,544 96,848 104,864 Increase 8.3 102,087
 Japan 72,080 74,560 81,136 87,328 100,736 102,048 Increase 1.3 99,784
 Korea, Republic of 52,896 50,992 55,488 64,992 82,384 91,168 Increase 10.7 87,853
 Canada 46,448 48,192 48,800 52,352 59,760 67,280 Increase 12.6 71,261
 India 29,856 30,976 37,392 46,000 52,016 61,440 Increase 18.1 67,953
 Singapore 36,400 42,256 46,848 49,584 57,344 58,544 Increase 2.1 61,464
 Hong Kong 26,272 28,080 31,456 36,288 44,768 54,688 Increase 22.2 58,763
 Malaysia 29,424 28,976 31,536 34,240 51,792 53,840 Increase 4.0 56,430
Other countries 487,322 503,855 518,280 546,839 623,715 670,411 Increase 7.5
Total 2,564,618 2,717,695 2,857,400 3,131,927 3,499,939 3,733,707 Increase 6.7 3,863,217

History[edit]

Before 1881[edit]

In the early years New Zealand was seen by Europeans as the most remote country on earth. For most Europeans New Zealand was an unappealing prospect, a strange and lonely land reached after 100 days on dangerous seas; its coasts were thought treacherous, its inhabitants bloodthirsty. Only exceptional reasons led people to set off for such a distant corner of the globe. Many of New Zealand's early immigrants first spent time in Australia, and most of them were only temporary visitors in search of items to trade.[citation needed]

Among the earliest visitors were sealers, attracted by the promise of high-quality oil, and fur for hats (often sold in China in return for tea). As early as 1792, whalers came to the northern end of the country, also as temporary visitors. Also missionaries arrived in New Zealand. By 1839 the total non-Māori population was about 2,000.[citation needed]

Until 1839 there were only about 2,000 immigrants in New Zealand; by 1852 there were about 28,000. The decisive moment for this remarkable change was 1840. In that year, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. This established British authority in European eyes, and gave British immigrants legal rights as citizens. Most of the people who moved to New Zealand Company settlements were British.[citation needed]

From 1853 to 1870 the non-Māori population of New Zealand rose from just under 30,000 to over 250,000. As with the inflow of the 1840s, there were three main groups – assisted families coming directly from Britain; individuals from across the Tasman Sea looking for a better life; and military settlers.[78]

1881–1914[edit]

Restrictions on immigration were first imposed in 1881. Until then, anyone who arrived in New Zealand had been able to remain in the country.

The Chinese Immigrants Act 1881 was the first to restrict the entry of a specific group of people. The number of Chinese who could arrive on one ship was limited to one for every 10 tons of the vessel's weight. A poll tax of £10 was also imposed on each Chinese person entering the country. Unlike the Chinese, most Indians were British subjects and free to enter New Zealand until the very end of the 19th century. From 1896, despite objections from the British government, New Zealand tried to pass more comprehensive legislation restricting the immigration not just of the Chinese but also of Indians and other Asians.

The 1899 act prohibited the entry of immigrants who were not of British or Irish parentage and who could not fill in an application form 'in any European language' – which in practice meant English. These rules were in place for the next 20 years. The fear of economic competition was one reason why the entry of Chinese, Indians and other 'race aliens' was restricted.

1914–1945[edit]

Under the War Regulations of 1916, during the First World War, no person over the age of 15 could land in New Zealand without a passport or other document establishing his or her nationality or identity.

Under the Undesirable Immigrants Exclusion Act 1919, Germans and Austro-Hungarians were prohibited from entering without a licence issued by the attorney general. The act also gave power to the attorney general to prohibit the entry of any person not resident in New Zealand – including British subjects – who was disaffected or disloyal, or of such a character that his presence would be injurious to the peace, order and good government' of New Zealand.

The Immigration Restriction Amendment Act 1920 was passed primarily to restrict possible Asian immigration, but Asians were not its only targets. It was also used to curb the entry of other non-British people, particularly Southern Europeans such as Dalmatians and Italians.

The 1931 Immigration Restriction Amendment Act, passed during the Depression period of the 1930s, prevented aliens (as non-British immigrants were still known) from Europe entering New Zealand. The only exceptions were if they had guaranteed employment, a considerable amount of capital, or knowledge and skills.

After 1945[edit]

Visa policy of New Zealand from 1987 to 2017
  New Zealand
  Visa free access

From 1961 only Australians had unrestricted entry to New Zealand. This was a long-standing right, established in 1840 when New Zealand became a British colony like Australia. Reciprocal travel arrangements, beginning in the 1920s, formalised this free movement from one country to the other. In 1973, the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement allowed Australian and New Zealand citizens to enter each other's countries to visit, live, work, or remain indefinitely without having to apply for a permit.

Under the 1961 Immigration Amendment Act, British and Irish immigrants, along with other non-New Zealand citizens (except Australians, who could enter freely) were required to have a permit before entering New Zealand. In practice, the permit was only a formality for Britons and Irish; they were issued with permits on arrival. Nevertheless, for the first time, the 1961 act put British and non-British people on the same footing when they sought to enter New Zealand. After the immigration policy review of 1974, British migrants, like all others, were required to obtain a permit before they left their homelands. The British and Irish were now on the same footing as the nationals of other countries.

Between the 1940s and the 1970s, New Zealand concluded visa-free agreements with countries of Western Europe.

Visa-free access for citizens of Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu, Indonesia, Thailand, Zimbabwe, Samoa, South Africa and Tonga has been cancelled because of illegal immigration.

As of 2017, under the Immigration Act 2009[79] and the Immigration (Visa, Entry Permission, and Related Matters) Regulations 2010[80] passport holders of the 60 jurisdictions may travel to New Zealand without obtaining a visa for up to 90 days.[81]

See also[edit]

VISITOR VISA FOR UNITED KINGDOM CITIZENS

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