Everything You Need to Know About New Zealand’s New Travel Authorization and Tourist Tax

Only locals and visitors from Australia will be exempt from applying for the new Electronic Travel Authority and paying the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy starting on October 1.

Everything You Need to Know About New Zealand’s New Travel Authorization and Tourist Tax

The new travel authorization and tourist tax affects U.S. citizens visiting New Zealand starting October 1, 2019.

Photo by Shutterstock

There’s something for every kind of traveler in New Zealand, whether you’re looking to take in the scenery on the Coastal Pacific Train or catapult yourself across the Nevis Valley at 62 miles per hour. But as of October 1, New Zealand’s government will start making adventure seekers and slow travelers alike register and pay a new tourist tax before entering the country in order to strengthen border security and raise money for conservation and infrastructure projects in the country.

How to apply for the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority

Similar to the upcoming European Travel Information and Authorization System, travelers will need to fill out an Electronic Travel Authority (eTA) form online before they can enter New Zealand as of October 1. Although it is not a visa, the eTA will take approximately 72 hours to get approved and will cost NZD$9 (approximately US$6) if you register via the mobile app or NZD$12 (about US$8) through the Immigration NZ website. The eTA is valid for up to two years and multiple visits to New Zealand.

Here’s who will need to register for the eTA before landing in New Zealand in the future:

  • Visitors and anyone in transit from visa waiver countries (The United States, Canada, and United Kingdom are all included.)
  • Cruise ship passengers of any nationality
  • Australian permanent residents (noncitizens)
  • Any cruise or airline crew members

Travelers with a valid New Zealand visa, New Zealand passport, or Australian passport will not need to register for an eTA. Those who do need to register and are traveling to New Zealand after October 1 can now request an eTA via the mobile app or website.

This is the only official website travelers should use. The Independent noted in August that official-looking sites have popped up in the meantime to convince travelers to pay more than the actual price. In fact, the Independent pointed out that the first Google result when you search for “New Zealand eTA” is to etanewzealand.com, a company registered in Florida with no connections to the New Zealand government.

How to pay the new International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy

New Zealand will also begin charging most travelers a new International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) on October 1, to fund infrastructure and conservation projects throughout the country. All international visitors—except for Australians—will be charged NZD$35 (about US$23) per person. The government hopes that this new tax will bring in an additional NZD$57-$80 million (US$39-$54 million) a year. The new tax will be collected during your eTA application and also will be valid for up to two years and multiple visits to New Zealand.

This article originally appeared online on March 27, 2019; it was updated on August 19, 2019, to include current information.

>> Next: Plan Your Trip With AFAR’s Guide to New Zealand

Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at Afar who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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