Travelling to and arriving in New Zealand

Part of Immigration New Zealand’s role is to make sure people coming to New Zealand don’t pose a potential risk to the country. We do this by screening passengers both at check-in and on arrival in New Zealand.

Checking in for your travel to New Zealand

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) checks that every person who is checking in for a flight or voyage to New Zealand is allowed to travel here. This applies to everyone – even people who already hold a visa and those who will only be transiting New Zealand. We also obtain passenger information known as Passenger Name Record (PNR) data from airlines which we use to further screen travellers. We may need to ask you some questions before you board your aircraft or vessel.

Checking that you are OK to travel to New Zealand

To be allowed to travel to New Zealand and to enter when you get here, you’ll need to:

  • hold a valid passport or travel document
  • hold a valid visa to travel to or transit New Zealand (if one is required). If you’ve been issued an eVisa it’s a good idea to print out a copy to bring with you when you travel
  • make sure your visa is in the passport you use to travel to New Zealand – if you want to use a different passport, you’ll need to make sure you apply to transfer your visa to the right passport before you travel
  • show us you have a travel ticket out of New Zealand to a country you can enter at the end of your stay (unless you’re an Australian citizen/permanent resident or you already hold a visa label or letter that says “Return/onward travel not required” or “The holder of this visa is sponsored”). If after your New Zealand visit, you’re travelling to a country that also requires you to have a visa or travel ticket, we may ask you to show us your visa or ticket out of that country too
  • if we ask, show us you have enough money to support yourself while you’re in New Zealand (unless you’re an Australian citizen/permanent resident or you already hold a visa label or letter that says “Return/onward travel not required” or “The holder of this visa is sponsored”). Amounts can vary depending on the visa, so make sure you check the amount before you travel
  • meet our health and character requirements
  • be a bona fide visitor and answer truthfully when we ask you about the reason for your visit

Character requirements - temporary 
Character requirements - residence
Bona fide

Making travel easier

It’s a good idea to make sure you are well-prepared for your travel. This includes making sure your passport is in good condition, is valid (including not having been reported lost/stolen or invalidated by the government that issued it) and includes the right visa for your travel. You’ll also need to make sure you can provide any evidence required by the conditions of your visa, like a travel ticket or bank statements showing you have money to live on while you’re in New Zealand.

If your circumstances have changed since you were granted a visa, or if you’re travelling visa waiver and you’re unsure if you’ll meet our requirements for entry permission, you should contact us before travelling to New Zealand.

When you may be prevented from travelling to New Zealand

INZ, your airline, or other carrier can stop you from travelling to New Zealand if any of the following apply:

  • INZ is unable to confirm your identity.
  • The passport or travel document you’re travelling on has expired, is damaged, or has been reported lost, stolen or has been invalidated - if you apply for a new passport, your old passport can be invalidated even if it hasn’t expired yet.
  • You don’t have a visa and you need one to travel to or transit New Zealand.
  • Your visa isn’t in the passport you use to travel to New Zealand.
  • You don’t have evidence you have enough money to live on, if it’s required by the conditions of your visa.
  • You’re unable to provide evidence of any onward travel required by the conditions of your visa, or we’re unable to accept your onward travel arrangements because your travel ticket isn’t to a country you have the right to enter.
  • We have reason to believe you’re not a bona fide visitor and you don’t intend a temporary stay in New Zealand, or that the reason for your visit is unlawful. We may ask you for more information about the reasons for your visit before you board your aircraft or vessel.
  • We have reason to believe that you’re unlikely to comply with the conditions of your visa, or to leave at the end of your stay - we may ask you for more information about your plans before you board your aircraft or vessel.
  • You don’t meet health or character requirements.
  • You provided false or misleading information in your visa application or to an immigration officer.
  • Your circumstances have changed since you were granted a visa, for example, you were granted a Work Visa on the basis of a New Zealand job offer, but the job offer was withdrawn after your visa was granted.
  • We have reason to believe you may be a risk to New Zealand’s security, public order public interest. People who may be considered a risk, include those who are or have been associated with a gang, and registered sex offenders.

Your airline or other carrier can be fined if they allow you to board an aircraft or vessel after we’ve alerted them that it’s not OK for you to travel.
Character requirements - temporary 
Character requirements - residence
Bona fide

Arriving in New Zealand

When you arrive in New Zealand, you’ll need to apply for entry permission. You can do this by giving an immigration officer:

  • your completed arrival card (this will be given to you on your way to New Zealand)
  • your passport or travel document
  • if you’re not travelling visa waiver, your visa (you can provide a print-out if you have an eVisa)
  • your travel ticket out of New Zealand to a country you have the right to enter (unless your visa label or letter says ‘Return/onward travel not required’ or ‘The holder of this visa is sponsored’).
  • You can also be asked for evidence that your travel ticket is to a country you have the right to enter.

Normally, applying for entry permission is quick, however immigration officers may ask you some extra questions before granting you entry permission. You must answer these questions truthfully.

Depending on the passport you are travelling on, you may be able to use New Zealand’s electronic immigration gates, which are called ‘SmartGate’, to apply for entry permission.

Other border agencies such as the New Zealand Customs Service and Ministry for Primary Industries (Biosecurity) also have important requirements for entering New Zealand. You need to make sure you meet these requirements too – you could be refused entry if you don’t. To find out more about these, visit their websites at:

New Zealand Customs Service website
Ministry for Primary Industries (Biosecurity) website

When you may be refused entry permission

You can be refused entry permission for all the same reasons you can be prevented from travelling to New Zealand. Additionally, you can be refused entry permission if any of the following apply to you:

  • You refuse to complete an arrival card.
  • You provide false or misleading information on your visa application, or on any part of your arrival card.
  • You possess controlled or prohibited substances/imports without proper authority.
  • You possess a forged, fraudulent or improperly altered identity document or any other official document.
  • You don’t follow instructions from Immigration, Customs, Biosecurity or New Zealand Police.
  • You refuse to let an immigration officer take your photo or to provide them with your fingerprints or an iris scan, if asked for them.
  • We believe your circumstances have changed since you were granted a visa, or that you no longer meet the criteria for your visa.
  • We have reason to believe you are likely to commit an offence that you could be put in jail for while in New Zealand.
If you’re concerned you about whether you’ll be allowed to travel to or enter New Zealand, contact Immigration New Zealand before you plan your travel.

What if I have been prevented from travelling to New Zealand or refused entry?

If you have been stopped from travelling to New Zealand or refused entry on arrival, you should seek further advice before travelling to New Zealand again. You may be required to apply for a visa before any further travel. You can:

  • Contact our Immigration Contact Centre for advice.
  • Visit your nearest Immigration New Zealand branch or New Zealand Embassy, Consulate or High Commission.
  • Apply for a visa online or manually.