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Visitor Visa: Do You Need a Visa to Visit New Zealand?

© NZPocketGuide.com

Holiday and Travel in New Zealand on a Visitor Visa!

It’s no secret that the New Zealand borders are pretty strict. Nevertheless, the vast majority of visitors to New Zealand. i.e. people visiting to travel and explore, do not need to apply for a Visitor Visa before arriving in the country. Those visitors do, however, need to pay for the NZeTA. Alternatively, there are certain nationalities that will need to apply for a Visitor Visa before arrival. Sounds complicated? We aim to break it down and make the visa process easier to understand in this guide to visas for visiting New Zealand.

“Visiting” New Zealand refers to someone temporarily staying in New Zealand without working in the country. The maximum time you can stay in New Zealand as a visitor depends on what country you are from. Read our quick guide below to find out what you need to visit New Zealand.

Before you continue reading our visitor visa guide to New Zealand, be sure to check if you can currently travel to New Zealand. For the latest travel restrictions and border closures for New Zealand, the best source is the New Zealand Government-run website covid19.govt.nz.

When you’re done, take a look at our Travel Advice article and video to know what other steps you need to take to plan a trip to New Zealand. Or head over to our complete New Zealand travel guide.

First Things First, a Note About the Visitor Visa and COVID-19

After the COVID-19 breakout, there have been some major changes to border restrictions and which nationalities can enter New Zealand as a visitor. We recommend researching the latest border restrictions on the New Zealand Government-run website covid19.govt.nz/travel/ before applying for any visas or the NZeTA.

Second, You Do Not Need to Get a Visitor Visa if…

If any of the following circumstances apply to you, you do not need to apply for a visitor visa to New Zealand. Some of them are pretty darn obvious, but we will list them to cover all the bases.

  • You are a New Zealand or Australian citizen
  • You have a New Zealand resident visa
  • You have a New Zealand permanent resident visa
  • You have an Australian permanent residence visa
  • You have an Australian resident return visa (excludes Australian temporary or provisional residence visa)
  • You are from a visa-waiver country (see below).

There are also exceptions for people, for example, who are air flight crew, military, cruise ship passengers, etc. You can find more information about that on the Immigration New Zealand website.

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Visa-Waiver Countries

Some countries have an agreement with New Zealand and are allowed to come to New Zealand for three months to travel without having to go through the process of getting a visa. As you can see, there are heaps of countries on the visa-waiver list. We have listed them by continent to make finding your country easier.

Europe

Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (6 months allowance), Vatican City

North America

Canada, United States of America

South America

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay

Middle East

Bahrain, Israel, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

Asia

Brunei, Korea (South), Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan

Africa

South Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius

List date: 2021. For the full list please refer to the official visa waiver countries page.

Visitor Visa: Do You Need a Visa to Visit New Zealand?© NZPocketGuide.com

Conditions for People from a Visa-Waiver Country

From a visa-waiver country? That’s great! This means you don’t have to apply for a visa before you come to New Zealand. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before arriving in the country.

You must make sure you:

  • have paid the NZeTA and IVL (see section below)
  • complete the “Passenger Arrival Card” during the flight to New Zealand (this is essentially how you apply for your visitor visa)
  • have a passport that is valid three months beyond the date you intend to leave New Zealand
  • have evidence for sufficient funds and onwards travel (see the section below)
  • stay in New Zealand for nine months or less in an 18-month period
  • have no intention of studying or working in New Zealand (for that, you would need a working holiday visa or student visa).

Please note that, as a citizen of a visa-waiver country, your visitor visa will be granted at the airport on arrival in New Zealand. It will usually be electronic, meaning that you may not get a visa stamp or label in your passport.

Visitor Visa: Do You Need a Visa to Visit New Zealand?© NZPocketGuide.com

The NZeTA and IVL

Travellers from visa-waiver countries might not have to physically apply for a visitor visa for New Zealand but they do have to request and pay the NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) and IVL (International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy) before arrival. It is best to request them as soon as possible, as it can take up to 72 hours for an NZeTA approval.

There are two ways of paying for the NZeTA and IVL:

The NZeTA and IVL are valid for multiple visits and transits to New Zealand for up to two years.

For more information on the NZeTA and IVL, take a look at the What You Need to Know About the New Zealand ETA & Visitor Levy and the 10 Things You Need to Know About the NZETA.

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Evidence of Sufficient Funds and Onward Travel

You will need to prepare some documents to present to the immigration officer on arrival in New Zealand. It’s true that these documents are not always asked for, but the time you risk it will no doubt be the time that you need the documents. You will need evidence of onward travel and evidence of sufficient maintenance funds while you are in the country.

What Type of Onward Travel Evidence is Accepted?

  • Travel tickets (can be confirmed or open-dated) out of New Zealand.
  • Written confirmation from an airline or travel agency that onward travel is booked and paid.
  • Anything that demonstrates a confirmed departure from New Zealand, like a yacht or private aircraft departure.

How Much “Sufficient Funds” Do You Need to Visit New Zealand?

You need to provide evidence to show you have either NZ$1,000 per month that you intend to stay in New Zealand or NZ$400 per month with evidence that you have paid-for accommodation. (Learn more about the New Zealand currency here).

What Types of Sufficient Fund Evidence are Accepted?

  • Bank drafts
  • Bank statements in your name
  • Letters of credit
  • Photocopies of travellers’ cheques.
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Not from a Visa-Waiver Country?

… Then You Will Need to Apply for a Visitor Visa Before Arrival

Sure, it’s a bit more hassle, but nothing that a bit of forward-planning can’t handle. Those from countries not listed on the visa-waiver list must print and fill out the Visitor Visa Application (INZ 1017) form and send the paper application to your nearest Immigration New Zealand office. You can find the address on the Office and Fee Finder. Your visitor visa must be accepted before you enter New Zealand.

In order to complete the visitor visa application form, you need the following:

  • The appropriate fee (see the Office and Fee Finder)
  • Two passport-sized coloured photos
  • Your passport or travel document
  • If required, a medical and x-ray certificate (in most cases it is not required)
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to support your stay (see the section above)
  • Evidence of onward travel (see the section above).

Note that those who have to apply and pay for a visitor visa are not required to pay the NZeTA and IVL.

Author

Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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