Starting on Oct. 1, 2019, all travelers from 60 visa waiver countries, including the US, including all incoming cruise travelers, will need to hold an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) before entering New Zealand.
According to the New Zealand government, an ETA will last travelers for up to two years. Unlike a visa, it doesn’t come with hefty fines or long wait periods. Instead, it will cost NZD $9.00 (about $6) for all mobile application requests and NZD $12.00 (about $8) for web browser requests.
Passengers simply transiting through New Zealand are also required to hold an ETA, even if New Zealand is not their final destination.
Those who hold either a New Zealand passport or visa will not be required to obtain an ETA. Australian citizens will also be exempt. Other exemptions include crew and passengers on a non-cruise vessel; crew on a foreign ship carrying cargo; guests of the government; people traveling under The Antarctic Treaty; and members of a visiting force and associated crew members.
According to New Zealand’s official website, the new ETA will “enhance security and reduce immigration risks, address smuggling and biosecurity risks, improve the traveler experience, support New Zealand’s international relationships and agreements, [and] adapt to the changing needs and requirements of the government, stakeholders and travelers over time.”
Beyond the ETA, visitors to New Zealand — either by land or by sea — will also soon have to pay The International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy. Starting on Oct. 1 as well, this payment will be made in conjunction with the ETA and will cost $35 NZD (about $24) and be valid the duration of the traveler’s ETA. But, as one of the most beautiful and thrilling countries on Earth, the extra few bucks to get in is still well worth it.