The Government of New Zealand has proposed to establish an Electronic Travel Authorization for New Zealand (ETA), for most international visitors who currently can obtain a visa-on-arrival. New Zealand Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway revealed plans to strengthen its borders by requiring foreign visitors provide more and better information before leaving their home country.
In a statement, Less-Galloway said, "Our tourism industry is in great health, leading to a huge increase in the number of people coming to New Zealand in recent years, so we need to manage our arrivals and our border security more effectively." Under the ETA, those who wish to visit New Zealand would have to provide their personal information and declarations of any criminal convictions. The electronic travel authorization for New Zealand would be valid for a period of two consecutive years, or until the holder's passport expires.
Electronic Travel Authorization for New Zealand
Lees-Galloway said that "holding an ETA will help speed up the process at the border as a result of the extra information border staff will have." The ETA will be a tool as well as a mechanism to collect information about each traveller. The government of New Zealand has also proposed an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy to ensure that foreign visitors contribute to New Zealand's infrastructure and to protecting all natural parks and areas that are visited by tourists.
The ETA and the new tax on tourists will apply to most international visitors entering New Zealand for 12 months or less. Australians would be excluded from obtaining the ETA for New Zealand or paying the new tax. However, the proposed levy will need to go through a legislative process and is likely to be implemented in the second half of 2019.
New Zealand's electronic travel authorization is a step many other countries in the world have taken to strengthen their borders and to simplify the process of obtaining a visa. An electronic travel authorization gathers essential information that is screened and checked against security databases.
In 2016, the European Union announced that they would introduce an electronic travel authorization for foreign visitors from visa exempt countries who wish to visit the Schengen Area. The ETIAS Visa for Europe is expected to be a mandatory entry requirement in 2020. The United States was one of the first countries to introduce an electronic system, ESTA, that gathers traveller's personal and passport details. The US ESTA should be completed online before the applicant's trip and is valid for a period of 2 consecutive years.
Australia has a system in place to determine visitors eligibility. The Electronic Travel Authority for Australia, ETA, can be obtained for tourism or business purposes. The ETA for Australia grants visitors a stay of up to 90 days.
Why Visit New Zealand
Even though a new tax is likely to be implemented in 2019, there are many reasons to visit New Zealand. The country has an incredible amount of national parks and world-class surfing and skiing spots. Tourism has become an important part of New Zealand's economy as it creates employment for its citizens and generates 5.6% of the country's GDP.
New Zealand was the main location for filming the "Lord of the Rings" because of its stunning and varied landscapes. It's natural beauty and culture are worth exploring. The country is also an ideal destination for those who seek adventure.
Top reasons to visit New Zealand include:
- Māori Culture
- Abel Tasman National Park
- Milford Sound
- Waitangi Treaty Grounds
- Te Matua Ngahere
- Blue Penguin Colony
- One Tree Hill
- Cape Reinga