New Zealand has a relatively lenient visa policy that allows 60 nationalities, mostly from Europe and North and South America, to cross its borders without having to obtain a visa in advance. Depending on nationality, travelers can enjoy a stay that varies from 3 to 6 months. Only the citizens of Australia can stay in New Zealand indefinitely as a result of the Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement.
Just as the title suggests, New Zealand will introduce the ETA in July 2019. While it will not be mandatory for a few months, it will become mandatory by October 2019.
What is an ETA?
ETA is short for Electronic Travel Authorization. It is not a visa per se, but it grants access to New Zealand when it becomes available. Its purpose is to keep track of people entering the country. That way, the government of New Zealand will know who cross its borders at all times.
Who must apply for an ETA?
The ETA will be mandatory for all arrivals by air and by sea. However, not every nationality will be able to obtain it. That is because the electronic travel authorization will be available only for visa-exempt nationalities. For example, let’s say that you are a citizen of Argentina. At the moment, all you need is a passport to travel to New Zealand. However, starting July this year, you will have to apply for an ETA to be able to enter the country.
How to apply for an ETA?
While the details are still to be put in place, what we can tell you for sure is that many visa services will be able to help with the application process. It goes without saying that you can apply online for an ETA. The online application process is usually easy to go through, and you do not even have to wait for too long to receive the travel document you need.
Another thing that is worth mentioning is that you will not be able to apply for an ETA if you do not have a valid passport. This is a universal requirement for all electronic visas. However, we can all agree that a passport is not difficult to obtain these days. There may be more requirements, but we will not know until the ETA goes live.
As you can imagine, you need to fill in an online application form as well. Each visa service will create one that is easy to go through. You will have to be very careful when you complete the task because, as it happens, many people who overlook typos and such end up with an invalid travel document. As a result, the application process must be repeated. What a waste of time and money.
After you submit your application, you will have to wait for your ETA to arrive via e-mail in PDF format. Whether you need to print it out or not, we are about to find out. However, many countries accept a digital version. As long as you have one on you to show the person working the desk when you board your flight, you should be fine. Nevertheless, many people choose to have at least one physical copy on them. The choice is yours.
So there you have it. We will have more information as the visa goes live next month, but until then, if you are visa exempt, it is just business as usual. We wish to keep you informed so that you do not miss your flight because you do not have an ETA the next time you plan to visit New Zealand.