Government proposes an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) for international visitors

Government proposes an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) for international visitors
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said our border security needs to be managed more effectively.

SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said our border security needs to be managed more effectively.

Introducing an electronic authorisation for international travellers to New Zealand will strengthen our border security, the Government has announced.  

On Friday, the Government will begin consultation on developing an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) for most international visitors who are granted a visa on arrival in New Zealand. 

The proposal would require most airline and cruise passengers to provide better information before leaving their home country.

Under the new proposal, visitors to New Zealand would need to complete an electronic form before leaving their country, ...

Under the new proposal, visitors to New Zealand would need to complete an electronic form before leaving their country, similar to visitors travelling to the United States.

“Under an ETA applicants would provide similar information to the arrival card, including declarations of any criminal convictions. An ETA would last two years and cost about $9,” said Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. 

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“Holding an ETA will help speed up the process at the border as a result of the extra information border staff will have.

“It also provides the mechanism for helping collect the proposed International Visitor Levy, which is being consulted in conjunction with the ETA.”

New Zealand citizens and residents will be exempt from an ETA, along with holders of valid New Zealand visas and Australian citizens.

Most visitors and transit passengers from countries that do not require a visa to travel to New Zealand would need to hold an ETA, similar to the process already used by many other countries, said Lees-Galloway.

“Our tourism industry is in great health, leading to a huge increase in the number of people coming to New Zealand in recent years, so we need to manage our arrivals and our border security more effectively.”

The proposed new process follows the announcement the Government is considering taxing tourists up to $35 to enter the country. 

Lees-Galloway also announced the public consultation on a review of immigration fees and levies, the first review since 2015.

“This review aims to correct the over and under recovery in different visa categories that have emerged over time,” he said. 

“The proposed overall increase in fees and levies will help fund a number of initiatives announced in this year’s Budget such as extra immigration staff at the border and increased funding for the Immigration Advisers Authority.

“The proposed increase in visa fees and levies is a small part of the total cost of visiting, working or studying in New Zealand.  New Zealand charges remain competitive compared to other countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada.”

Consultation on the Electronic Travel Authority and fees and levies proposals is open until July 15.

Further information about the consultation process can be found at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website

 – Stuff