A Guide to the Tourist Visa (Visitor Visa) and the NZeTA for New Zealand
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 (Tourist 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.
What is a Visitor Visa For and How Long Can You Stay in New Zealand on a Tourist Visa?
“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.
COVID Update: Can You Travel to 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.
First Things First, a Note About the Tourist 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 Tourist Visa if…
If any of the following circumstances apply to you, you do not need to apply for a visitor visa (tourist 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.
Visa-Waiver Countries: Which Countries Do Not Need a Visa for New Zealand?
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.
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
Canada, United States of America
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay
Bahrain, Israel, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
Brunei, Korea (South), Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan
South Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius
List date: 2022. For the full list please refer to the official visa waiver countries page.
New Zealand Visitor Visa Requirements: 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
- 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, for example).
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.
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.
How Long Does it Take to Get an NZeTA?
It is best to request them as soon as possible, as it can take up to 72 hours for an NZeTA approval.
How to Get an NZeTA
There are two ways of paying for the NZeTA and IVL:
- Through the Immigration New Zealand Android or Apple App
- Through the Immigration New Zealand website form.
How Long is the NZeTA Valid?
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.
Evidence of Sufficient Funds and Onward Travel for Visitors and Tourists
Whether you have a New Zealand tourist visa (visitor visa) or an NZeTA, 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 Funds Do You Need to Visit New Zealand?
In other words, how much money do you need in your bank account to go to 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 Fund Evidence are Accepted?
- Bank drafts
- Bank statements in your name
- Letters of credit
- Photocopies of travellers’ cheques.
Not from a Visa-Waiver Country?
… Then You Will Need to Apply for a New Zealand Tourist Visa (Visitor Visa) Before Arrival
Sure, it’s a bit more hassle, but nothing that a bit of forward-planning can’t handle.
How to Get a New Zealand Tourist Visa (Visitor Visa)
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.
How Long Does it Take to Get an NZ Visitor Visa?
Processing times for visas have been fluctuating post-COVID, but Immigration New Zealand is known for processing Visitor Visas within 50 days for 50% of applications. See the latest processing time on this page of the Immigration New Zealand website.
More About the Visa to Visit New Zealand
That’s it for our complete guide to the New Zealand tourist visa and NZeTA. For more advice on visiting formalities, check out the following guides:
- Arriving in New Zealand: Airport Customs, Biosecurity & the Arrival Process
- The New Zealand Working Holiday Visa: Everything You Need to Know!
- Which Visa Do You Need to Study in New Zealand?