Last week, New Zealand and Peru confirmed the date for their FIFA World Cup inter-continental playoff matches this November. Wellington will hold the match on Saturday, November 11th and Lima will have theirs on November 15th. Following this announcement, New Zealand and its immigration department are working on ways to simplify the visa process for Peruvian football fans who wish to visit the country for the playoff match.
Currently, Peru is not part of the visa waiver program that grants citizens of specific countries to travel freely to New Zealand. Generally, the application process for Peruvians who wish to travel to New Zealand can take up to 20 working days if not more. It has been reported that Peru's Foreign Affairs Ministry, as well as New Zealand's, are both working on speeding up the visa delivery process. The objective is that Peruvian football fans can make it to Wellington and attend the World Cup play-off.
Gabriel Pacheco, Peruvian Consul General to Australia, is responsible for consular permissions in New Zealand. In a statement, Pacheco said, "We will meet New Zealand's immigration authority accredited in Sydney first thing in the morning tomorrow to reiterate our awareness of the upcoming Peru-New Zealand game." The current visitor visa for Peruvians includes an obligatory fee. The applicant must qualify and present additional documentation. Besides the passport, a Peruvian wishing to obtain a visitor visa should also meet explicit criteria determined by New Zealand.
Peruvian nationals traveling for the match to receive special consideration
New Zealand's official immigration website offers detailed information to travelers who wish to visit. However, the country has defined and specific criteria depending on your country of origin. Among some of the requirements, a traveler should demonstrate good health, good character, and proof of identity. The applicant should show that he or she has enough money to live on while in the country or demonstrate an acceptable sponsor.
On an interview with RPP, a local news station, Pacheco added, "We'll seek relevant assistance so that visa requests can be processed in shorter time and Peruvians can attend the soccer match without any hassles." It certainly is a long journey for any Peruvian who chooses to follow their team across the globe. Football fans, however, are often willing to spend their money to support their favorite players and even more so, when they can support their country.
INZ Area Manager Marcelle Foley has said that the agency will waive the requirements for Peruvian citizens that send their passport to New Zealand's office in Washington. This is part of the online visitor visa application process. Foley said, "so they can get decisions on visas in time to travel to New Zealand for the World Cup qualifier next month." Peruvian football fans would miss the opportunity to see their team play otherwise.
Peru qualified for this playoff after a match with Colombia ended in a tie. New Zealand and Peru have not been to many World Cups. The All Whites, as the New Zealand team, is called, classified in 1982 and in 2010. Peru, on the other hand, qualified four times, nonetheless, their last participation was in 1982.