In the aftermath of the terrorist attack that left 50 people dead in Christchurch, New Zealand has reconfirmed that it will introduce the long-planned measures to tighten pre-entry screening. As previously announced, travelers from 60 countries under the New Zealand visa-free entry program, will need to apply for an eTA before traveling to the country as of summer this year.
The eTA stands for the Electronic Travel Authority security and facilitation measure. Its main purpose is to improve security in NZ by reducing immigration risks, addressing smuggling and biosecurity risks. It also intends to support New Zealand’s international relationships and agreements as well as improve the traveler experience.
The authorization is quite similar to the US Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and the Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). The European Union has also recently announced that a similar authorization called the European Travel Information Authorization System (ETIAS) will come into force from January 2021.
Travelers in need of an eTA will need to complete the form, which requires information as name & surname, birthday, passport and contact details. Declarations about criminal conviction history and travel intention will also be required.
An eTA will be valid for a period of 2 years and will cost NZD $9.00 for mobile application requests and NZD $12.00 for web browser requests. However, a final fee will be announced on July this year.
In need of an eTA are the nationals of 60 countries, which have been so far exempt from the requirement of a visa or any authorization to enter New Zealand. These countries are:
- All European Union member countries
- Hong Kong
- San Marino
- Saudi Arabia
- Republic of South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- United States
- Vatican City
Australian citizens will be exempt from applying for the eTA, whereas Australian permanent residents will need to apply for one before traveling to New Zealand.