Entering New Zealand for a short-stay

Travelling to New Zealand
Updated 2023-02-12 11:20

Whether you are coming to New Zealand for a few weeks or hoping to stay a little longer, there are many options available for visiting New Zealand as a tourist. For citizens of many countries, you can travel to New Zealand without a visa for up to three months – though you will need to apply for an NZeTA prior to your arrival. If your country does not have a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand, then you will need to apply for a Visitor Visa to New Zealand.

For longer stays and other visa requirements, refer to our guide to New Zealand visas.

Visa waiver agreements in New Zealand

New Zealand has visa waiver agreements with 45 countries, meaning that citizens of those countries can travel to New Zealand for up to three months without a visa, as long as they have an NZeTA and a passport that will still be valid for at least three months after their intended departure date. A full list of countries and territories with current visa waivers in place is available here.


NZeTA stands for “New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority.” It is a simple, online assessment from Immigration New Zealand, available to residents of countries who have visa waiver arrangements with New Zealand and who aren't required to apply for a Visitor Visa. Applying for the NZeTA takes a few minutes and can easily be done online or via an app. You must apply for the NZeTA 72 hours prior to your arrival in New Zealand, as it can take this long for the application to be processed.

How much does it cost?

There is a small fee to pay for the NZeTA - $17 on the Immigration New Zealand app and $23 when applied for online. In addition to this fee, receiving the NZeTA also involves paying the “International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy“, which is an additional tourist tax of $35. In total, the maximum fee for the travel authority plus the levy would be $58. The New Zealand government uses the IVL to fund projects that will lead to sustainable tourism growth and protect New Zealand's natural environment.

What does it provide?

Each NZeTA lasts for up to two years, with unlimited entries to the country and a maximum length of stay of three months per visit – allowing for a total of six months spent in New Zealand in one calendar year. You do not need to reapply for an NZeTA if you are returning to New Zealand within two years of your first visit. The NZeTA is intended for tourism visits, and you are unable to work in New Zealand while you're on an NZeTA.

If you are from the United Kingdom, the visa waiver time limit is extended to six months, and the same passport validity conditions apply. If you are from Australia, you can freely travel to New Zealand for an indefinite period.


To participate in the NZeTA visa waiver program, you will need to fill in an arrival card on the plane into New Zealand and meet specific character and health requirements. You may also need to show your onward flight out of New Zealand and proof that you have enough funds to support yourself (NZ$1,000 for every month you intend to stay in New Zealand). You may also need to show your visa for the country that you're flying to after New Zealand.

Depending on the type of passport you have, permission for entry may be obtained very quickly and automatically using the electronic immigration SmartGates.

If you are coming to New Zealand on another visa, such as a paid Visitor Visa, a Working Holiday Visa, a Student Visa, or another work visa, you will not need to purchase an NZeTA. You will have already paid to purchase your visa, and you do not need the NZeTA in addition to this.

The Visitor Visa in New Zealand

If you are not eligible for a visa waiver, you will need to apply for a visitor's visa. You can apply for this visa on the New Zealand immigration website. First, determine if you are eligible for an NZeTA by consulting the list of visa waiver countries.

What does it provide?

A visitor visa will allow you to stay in New Zealand for up to nine months in an 18-month period. If granted this visa, you can study for a short period of time as well as attend a job interview. Spouses and dependents can all be included in your application for this visa. As with the eTA, you cannot work while in New Zealand on a visitor visa.

On this visa, you can also apply for another three months' stay, extending your visit to 12 months in a 24-month period. This extension can be granted if you need more time to complete your tourist itinerary, you cannot leave New Zealand due to circumstances outside of your control, or you've applied for residence for the first time. To be eligible to apply for this extension, you must have financially supported yourself during the stay rather than have been sponsored, working, or studying in New Zealand.

How much does it cost?

The visitor visa comes with a non-refundable fee of $246. As with the NZeTA, you must also pay the IVL (International Visitor Levy). You are also responsible for paying for any health screenings or police screenings the visa application requires.


To be approved for this visa, you will need enough money to support yourself during your stay or have an acceptable sponsor. Funds for visiting New Zealand are calculated at NZ$1000 per month of your trip or NZ$400 if you have already paid in full for your accommodation.

Other requirements include being in good health, of good character, and that you genuinely intend to meet the conditions of your visa. In the visa application, you must declare your liability for any healthcare or medical assistance you receive in New Zealand.

Evidence of your onward travel is also required, and you must be able to provide evidence that you can leave New Zealand (e.g., you possess enough funds to purchase a return ticket) or have already pre-purchased your departing flights.

This visa must be in the passport you use to travel. To apply, you will need to supply a police certificate from your home country, as well as potentially provide a medical examination and/or chest x-ray.

Covid restrictions in New Zealand

Though New Zealand closed its borders during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic and introduced strict quarantine requirements for those who managed to acquire permission to enter, New Zealand's restrictions around Covid-19 have now eased, and tourists can travel to New Zealand much as they did before March 2020.

New Zealand no longer quarantines positive covid cases. If you test positive for Covid-19 while visiting New Zealand, you will need to self-isolate for seven days and are responsible for finding your own place in which to self-isolate.

Things to know when traveling to New Zealand

  • Download the NZeTA app from the App Store or Google Play. It makes applying for the NZeTA cheaper and faster. The process takes approximately five minutes using the app, and you can use your phone to scan your passport information directly.
  • Get travel insurance when visiting New Zealand. In New Zealand, the ACC scheme covers everyone, including visitors, who are injured in an accident while in New Zealand. However, this applies only to accidents, so travel insurance is still required to cover illness, disruption to plans, canceled flights, and so on.
  • Watch out for NZeTA scams. Only fill out forms that you have sourced directly from the New Zealand government's website – or use the app. There are several third-party sites that charge more for the eTA than the official websites are asking.
  • Familiarize yourself with New Zealand's biosecurity laws and customs restrictions before traveling. Even if your official entry goes smoothly, travelers to New Zealand can get held up at customs if they are unaware of the requirements. Being an island nation, there are rigorous systems in place to prevent invasive species from arriving in New Zealand.

If you have done your homework and have all your travel documents in order, then it is very unlikely you will be refused entry into New Zealand. This would only happen if you refuse to comply with the entry requirements, i.e., decline to fill in an arrival card or provide biometric data, fail to submit necessary evidence or submit fraudulent evidence, falsely answer any questions, or be in possession of controlled/illegal substances. Your character may also come into question if you have ever been deported from another country, have been convicted of an offense, or are perceived as a threat to national security.

New Zealand is a beautiful, friendly country, and it is very welcoming to foreigners. In most cases, the entry process is fairly painless and just a quick part of the process.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.