New Zealand is introducing a new Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) that will come into effect in October and will mean that travellers from 60 countries that are included in the county’s visa waiver scheme will be required to apply.
The government website, Immigration New Zealand, states: “[This] is a new security and facilitation measure that will help to speed things up at the border.” The measure will enhance security and reduce immigration risks, address smuggling and biosecurity risks, and overall improve the traveller experience. It will also support New Zealand’s international relationships and agreements and adapt to the changing needs and requirements of the government, stakeholders and travellers over time.
Most short-term visitors arriving by air or sea do not currently need to apply for a visa – though this easy and efficient travelling supports the New Zealand tourism industry, it means that officials only know about the incoming travellers once they are en route to the country. The result of this is that New Zealand is unable to screen these visitors for border and immigration risks in advance, which slows down the entrance process.
With the number of visitors steadily increasing, this new technology aims to make entering New Zealand smoother and faster. Immigration New Zealand adds: “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.”
Before coming to New Zealand, travellers required to hold an ETA will simply fill out a simple form and pay their fee online. The fee is expected to cost between NZ$9 and $12.50 per person. The Government will announce the final fee in the first half of 2019.
Immigration New Zealand notes that Australian citizens will be exempt, but Australian permanent residents will need to hold an ETA; and that 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 ETA.
For more information, visit the Immigration New Zealand website.