Mount Cook in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the few countries which experiences nearly as many visitors as it has citizens. Each year almost four million travellers descend upon the South Pacific paradise, and no matter what they seek, they tend to find it. New Zealand is a “top five” for adventure seekers, wine enthusiasts, beachgoers and foodies alike. Plus, they have cute birds.

For a nation so tied to nature, natural beauty and conservation, millions of travellers take their toll. In an effort to make tourists directly contribute to replenishing the resources they drain, the country has officially launched a new ETA form you’ll need to fill out and pay for before hopping on a plane, for all travel after October 1st, 2019. It’s basically like a visa, but people get mad if you say visa.

Here’s everything you need to know…

a road next to a lakeFrom October 1st, 2019…

If you’re traveling to New Zealand any time after October 1st, 2019, you’re going to need either an actual visa, or an ETA if you’re from a “visa waiver country”. Basically, if you needed a visa before this date, you still need one.

If you didn’t, and could simply hop on a plane, like citizens from the USA, UK, Canada, Singapore, Germany and numerous other countries you’ll now need to fill out the ETA before you do and pay for it too. If you don’t, you won’t be able to board the plane.

The New Zealand ETA visa i s now available online, here.

Mount Cook in New ZealandNew Zealand ETA Costs

The fee to enter New Zealand on an ETA is $9NZD if you use the New Zealand tourism mobile app, or $12NZD online with your browser. You’ll also pay the IVL fee at the same time, which covers tourism infrastructure for New Zealand which is $35NZD. All in, that comes to about £23 or $30USD.

Here’s full details. The ETA is electronic, so there wont’ be any hassle, and as long as your passport remains the same, it’ll work for two years allowing multiple visits.

a road with trees and mountains in the backgroundWhen To Apply For NZ ETA

Much like the ESTA in the USA, or the new European equivalent, these “visas” in everything but name require up to 72 hours of processing. If you were landing on the 1st of October, you’d want to apply before the 28th of September, just to be safe.

Most ETA’s should be approved within hours, but you won’t be able to board a plane before you have an approval. It’s also worth noting that even if you do have an ETA, you must be able to show a ticket not only arriving, but also departing New Zealand.


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Everyone is getting into the money-grab habit of fleece the tourist before he even arrives.

    1. Not really a money grab. Many overseas tourists taking cheap camper van holidays go freedom camping, ie not using camp sites and lots of scenic areas are experiencing illegal rubbish dumping that costs money to be cleaned up etc. just to name one example.

  2. I was lucky last year to hop on a plane in Melbourne, Australia, and land in Christchurch, NZ, before driving around the beautiful coast and then flying out of Auckland, NZ. The recent unfortunate event will make another visit a little more difficult with ETA and its cost not required before. C’est la vie.

  3. About March in 2018, I hopped on a plane in Melbourne, Australia, and flew to Christchurch, NZ, before driving around the beautiful coast and then up to Auckland in the north before flying out of the country. My next visit will now be made a little more difficult with the new ETA and its associated cost.

  4. Our motto in Canada is”leave it cleaner than you found it” currently in Malaysia (from Thailand) the amount of garbage, air pollution (see: Chang mai, most polluted air in the world) and environmental degradation is appalling! If only these monies were used for their stated purpose!

  5. Tourists to most countries already pay a tax simply by spending money while they are there, this is just extra tax.

  6. Crap, you have to pay those fees even if connecting on Air New Zealand, like USA to Australia via Auckland, NZ

  7. It’s a money grab to stop the country being overrun… or at least to try to recover some of the costs of the impact huge numbers of tourists are making. Certain Asia countries seem to come in large and growing numbers recently and apparently don’t always respect the environment.

    What if you have to fly in a hurry for an urgent call to get there? are they seriously going to stop you attending your grandmother’s funeral? It take more than a day to fly there from Europe plus the visa, er….. sorry ETA, processing time, plus booking time…. What is someone supposed to do in that situation?

  8. Aussie citizens don’t need to pay for the NZETA. The IVL is not applicable to Aussie citizens or permanent residents, or citizens of pacific island countries.

  9. We turned up at the airport yesterday without the correct visa/eta because nobody had informed me we needed one – had to apply online there and then and in order to have it cleared immediately so we could board the plane we were charged £79.51 each!
    I have no objection to a reasonable fee as per Australia but this doesn’t seem to have been advertised sufficiently so you feel as you are been conned.

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