New Zealand consults public on proposed ETA

Auckland Airport
Air Vanuatu 737-800 at Auckland Airport. Courtesy: Phillip Capper.

New Zealand plans to strengthen its border security by requiring most airline and cruise passengers to provide better information before leaving their home country via an ETA process. The government’s plans were released for consultation in June.

Border speed and security

“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,” said Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

“To help with this the Government proposes to establish an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) for most international visitors who are granted a visa on arrival in New Zealand…”

“An ETA would last two years and cost about NZD 9,” he said. “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 Iain Lees-Galloway.

Fees reviewed

Mr Lees-Galloway also announced the opening of public consultation on a review of immigration fees and levies to ensure they reflect the actual costs of providing services and managing risks associated with immigration. The last review was carried out in 2015.

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

“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 closed on 15 July. Final decisions are expected in September. If the proposed changes are adopted, any introduction of an ETA would likely occur in the second half of 2019. Fees and levy changes are expected to come into effect this November.

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