Do I Need a Visa to Travel to New Zealand? | Pitt & Moore, Lawyers in Nelson

Do I need a visa to travel to New Zealand?

New Zealand is a popular holiday destination, coveted for its stunning scenery and friendly Kiwi hospitality. However, these days many people will need more than just their plane ticket and passport to travel to New Zealand. It really pays to find out the visa requirements in advance.

Currently, if you are coming to New Zealand for a short holiday, depending on where you are from, you may not need to apply for and be granted a Visitor Visa before you travel.

At present, citizens of 60 Visa Waiver countries do not have to apply for a Visa to travel to New Zealand. Depending on their country of passport, these citizens can get either a 6 month or a 3 month Visa Waiver Visitor Visa on arrival, provided they meet the good character and health requirements.

However, from 1 October 2019, all air travellers from 60 Visa Waiver countries, and all cruise travellers, will need to hold an Electronic Travel Authority (‘ETA’) before travelling to New Zealand.

It has been announced that an ETA will last up to 2 years and cost NZD $9.00 for mobile application requests and NZD $12.00 for web browser requests.

This doesn’t mean that all ETA holders will be allowed to stay in New Zealand for 2 years at a time. The precise details of maximum periods of stay per visit for each country are yet to be confirmed by the New Zealand government. However, they are likely to be in line with the current maximum of 6 months stay at a time in any 12 month period (for UK passport holders) or 3 months stay at a time (for all other Visa Waiver countries).

We will continue to monitor the developments and provide further updates as needed.

New Zealand passport holders

New Zealand passport holders do not need a visa to enter New Zealand.

If you hold New Zealand citizenship and reside outside of New Zealand, one option is for you to obtain your New Zealand passport to give you the right to enter New Zealand.

From 1 October 2019, New Zealand citizens, provided they travel on their New Zealand passports, will continue to be able to enter New Zealand without an ETA.

New Zealand visa holders

Holders of valid New Zealand visas (both resident and temporary visas) are able to travel to New Zealand as per their travel conditions.

From 1 October 2019, holders of valid New Zealand visas, both resident visas and temporary visas, will continue to be able to enter New Zealand without an ETA.

We recommend that you always check the travel conditions attached to your visa to make sure you are not caught out.

Australian passport holders

Generally, Australian passport holders can travel to New Zealand without a visa and obtain a Resident Visa upon arrival, giving them a right to indefinitely live, work or study in New Zealand.

Australian citizens may be refused entry into New Zealand if they are not of ‘good character’.

As an Australian citizen, you may need to apply for a visa prior to traveling to New Zealand if you have:

  • served time in prison

  • been deported, removed or excluded from any country

  • been involved in criminal or terrorist groups

  • have been refused entry to New Zealand on a prior occasion.

People who may be considered a risk to New Zealand’s security, public order or public interest can be refused entry to New Zealand at the border or be stopped from travelling to New Zealand at check-in.

If you aren’t sure whether you will meet New Zealand’s requirements for good character, we recommend that you seek legal advice before trying to travel to New Zealand.

Australian permanent resident visa holders

Travellers need to ensure that their Australian permanent resident visa is linked to or associated with their current passport. 

If an Australian permanent resident has obtained a new passport, and not transferred their Australian visa to that passport, they may not be able to travel to New Zealand.

Before 1 October 2019

If you hold a valid Australian permanent resident visa, provided you meet the good character requirements, you would not need to apply for a visa prior to boarding your flight for New Zealand.

Generally, Australian permanent resident visa holders can travel to New Zealand without a visa and obtain a Resident Visa upon arrival, giving them a right to indefinitely live, work or study in New Zealand.

From 1 October 2019

It has been announced that Australian permanent residents will need to hold an ETA before travelling to New Zealand.

An ETA will not be issued if the applicant does not meet the good character requirements.

At this stage it isn’t clear, whether the current practice of New Zealand government issuing a Resident Visa to Australian permanent resident visa holders upon arrival in New Zealand will continue from 1 October 2019.

It would be a significant shift in government policy if Australian permanent residents were no longer issued with a Resident Visa and thus as a result were no longer able to indefinitely live, work or study in New Zealand. We will continue to monitor the developments in this area and will provide further updates as needed.

If you aren’t sure whether you will meet New Zealand’s requirements for good character, we recommend that you seek legal advice before trying to travel to New Zealand.

United Kingdom passport holders

Before 1 October 2019

Provided you don’t have a criminal record or health concerns, you can come to New Zealand as a visitor for up to 6 months without applying for a visa before you arrive, if you hold a UK passport, and have the right to live there permanently.

From 1 October 2019

UK passport holders will need to hold an ETA before travelling to New Zealand.

An ETA will not be issued if the applicant does not meet the good character or heath requirements.

Who must apply for a visitor visa prior to arriving in New Zealand

Generally, travellers need to apply for and be granted a visitor visa before boarding the plane for New Zealand, if any of the following apply:

  • You have been refused entry to New Zealand on a prior occasion;

  • You don’t hold a passport from a ‘Visa Waiver’ country as specified by Immigration New Zealand (see full list of countries here);

  • You want to visit for more than 3 months (or 6 months if you're from the United Kingdom);

  • You have a criminal record;

  • You have health problems that could be a danger to public health or be expensive for New Zealand's health services.

Get legal / immigration advice

If you are not sure if you have a right to enter New Zealand or which visa matches what you want to do in New Zealand, get legal/immigration advice before you travel or make your visa application to Immigration New Zealand.

Being refused a visa or entry to New Zealand can be very costly and detrimental to your immigration history.

Talk to us

Contact us for professional legal advice that will give you peace of mind.

Talk to Elly Fleming, Solicitor, Pitt & Moore.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended as legal advice. It is important that you seek legal / immigration advice that is specific to your circumstances.

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Elly Fleming

Position: Solicitor
Email: elly.fleming@pittandmoore.co.nz
DDI: +64 3 545 6714