Starting July 2019, the Government of New Zealand will open up pre-registration for the new New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, due to be implemented from October 2019. The eTA will be an entry requirement for all travellers of countries currently part of the visa-waiver agreement with New Zealand, including Canada.
What should Canadian travellers expect from the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (eTA)
Canadian travellers, as well as other nationals who currently enjoy the New Zealand visa waiver scheme, will have to apply online for an eTA before boarding for New Zealand. Since this is an electronic authorization, the process will be done fully online by filling up a website form and submitting it together with the necessary documents. Hence, instead of a label on the passport applicants will receive the response for their eTA approval via email.
By electronically processing each applicant’s travel information and running it through security databases prior to their departure, New Zealand authorities will be able to both speed up border security checks and decrease the chances of immigration-related issues.
Canada had its own Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) come into effect in March 2016 – a measure that created a simpler, faster and more secure system for visa-exempt nationals wanting to visit Canadian territory. Since then, citizens of these countries have had to apply for an eTA online prior to departing for Canada on tourism, business or transit for a period no longer than 90 days.
Australia also offers an Electronic Travel Authority for travellers visiting the country for stays under 90 days with the sole purpose of business or tourism.
Similarly, many European countries will see the implementation of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) as of 2021. The ETIAS will be valid for a period of 3 years or until the registered passport expires and aimed at visitors from countries which are currently part of the Schengen visa-waiver program, such as Canada. Travellers will be required to apply for an ETIAS before departure and will be allowed to stay and transit within the Schengen Area for no longer than 90 days within every period of 180 days.
Travellers who hold a passport from one of the following countries are eligible to visa waiver program of New Zealand:
What is the purpose behind the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority
- Gather information on foreigners travelling to New Zealand;
- Implement a screening system for prospective travellers;
- Improve New Zealand’s security risk assessment;
- Diminish threats related to immigration;
- Manage issues such as trafficking and biosecurity;
- Enhance the protection of New Zealand’s maritime borders;
- Optimize New Zealand’s immigration frameworks;
- Update border control systems according to the needs of the government and foreign travellers;
- Provide state of the art services that comply with carriers’ regulations, aid travellers and allow ease of interaction with national and international authorities;
- Establish a scheme that makes the collection of the IVL (International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy) possible
At the moment, Canadian passport holders are exempt from travel authorizations and visas when coming to New Zealand by air or sea, requiring solely a valid passport when on tourism or business trips. With the implementation of the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, it is estimated that an average of one-and-a-half-million out of the nearly four million worldwide travellers to visit New Zealand annually will be impacted.
The Electronic Travel Authority Framework
All foreign nationals eligible to the eTA who intend to travel to New Zealand as of the 1st of October 2019 will not be allowed to board the carrier without a valid authorization. If granted, the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority will be valid for a period of 2 years – unless the registered passport expires beforehand – affording multiple entries for tourism and business trips.
The online application process shouldn’t take longer than five to ten minutes to complete.
The New Zealand eTA application entails:
- Fill up the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority online application form
- Pay the processing fee via one of the provided systems
- Submit New Zealand eTA application form
- When the application is delivered successfully the applicant will receive a confirmation email
All applicants must provide the following details upon completion of the application form:
- Contact details
- Passport photos
Besides personal details, all applicants will be asked to provide the following declarations in order to ensure they are eligible to visit New Zealand:
- Declaration of criminal history
- Purpose of travel
The New Zealand eTA process will not require a stamp or label to be placed into the passport. Instead, every successful applicant will receive their electronic authorization via email within a few minutes. As some cases may take up to 72 hours to process, it is advisable that travellers submit their applications at least 3 days prior to the intended departure. Although there will be the possibility to apply for an New Zealand eTA when checking-in for a flight, this should only be considered in an emergency as travellers will be refused to board if the application is declined or not processed in due time.
A PDF document with the valid New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority will be provided to each successful applicant for scan upon arrival to New Zealand and further checks by immigration authorities.