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Electronic Travel Authority Monday, 1 October 2018

In 2019 the Government will introduce an Electronic Travel Authority for some groups of travellers. It is a new security and facilitation measure that will help to speed things up at the border.

The Electronic Travel Authority aims to:

  • enhance security and reduce immigration risks
  • address smuggling and biosecurity risks
  • improve the traveller experience
  • support New Zealand’s international relationships and agreements
  • adapt to the changing needs and requirements of the government, stakeholders and travellers over time.

The number of visitors to New Zealand has grown strongly over the past few years, and growth is expected to continue. Most short term visitors arriving by air or sea do not need to apply for a visa, which supports our tourism industry by making it easy to travel.

However, when people don’t have to apply for visas, we only learn about them once they are enroute to New Zealand. We are unable to screen these travellers in advance for border and immigration risks and have a reduced ability to make entering New Zealand smoother and faster as technology evolves.

The Electronic Travel Authority aims to deal with these issues and is part of wider government efforts to make border crossing as seamless as possible.

How the Electronic Travel Authority will work

Before coming to New Zealand, travellers required to hold an Electronic Travel Authority will fill out a simple form and pay their fee online, creating an electronic account that will be easy to set up and update.

Some travellers will also have to pay the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy at this point.

Find out more about the levy here:

www.mbie.govt.nz/border-changes

Electronic Travel Authority applicants will need to provide:

  • name and birthdate
  • passport details
  • contact details
  • some declarations, such as about criminal conviction history and travel intention.
  • optional biometric information (passport photo).

The Electronic Travel Authority will be valid for two years. Final costings are still under development, but we expect it will cost between $9 and $12.50 per person. The Government will announce the final fee in the first half of 2019.

It will likely come into effect for air passengers and crew in the second half of 2019. We expect that it will come into effect for cruise passengers and crew in 2020.

Who will have to hold an Electronic Travel Authority

  • Most travellers who aren’t required to get a visa before entering New Zealand will have to hold an Electronic Travel Authority. This includes citizens of visa waiver countries, cruise ship passengers, cruise ship crew and commercial airline crew.
  • Australian citizens will be exempt, but Australian permanent residents will need to hold an Electronic Travel Authority.
  • New Zealand citizens and holders of valid New Zealand visas (both resident visas and temporary visas) will continue to be able to enter New Zealand without an Electronic Travel Authority.