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Arriving in New Zealand – Visas, Permits, Customs

Arrival at the Airport
Arrival at the Airport

COVID-19: Travel to New Zealand

Official Website: Travel to New Zealand | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)

Do I need a visa for visiting NZ?

The requirement for obtaining a visa from the New Zealand consulates depends on the traveler’s nationality.
Travelers from many countries do not need a visa (Visa-free countries) to visit NZ for stays up to 90 days, among these countries are for example: travelers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, the UK, United States. This list is not complete but for the most recent list please check the provided Web Link (What’s required to visit NZ) further below.
Australian nationals do not need a visa. British passport who has the right to live in the United Kingdom may stay up to 6 months.

In general: what is required to visit NZ?
The New Zealand Immigration Service states following:

  • you must be in good health and of good character
  • you must have a passport that’s valid for at least three months past the date you are to leave New Zealand
  • You must have plans to leave the country after your permit expires you you can prove this
  • proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay
  • if you’re not from a visa-free country, you must have the right visa for your visit

Please visit the New Zealand Immigration Service Website for most recent information: www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas

NZ Passport control, Customs & Biosecurity inspection

On the airplane or ship you will receive a New Zealand Passenger Arrival Card.
Check “Yes” in the Customs section if you have something to declare, see following an overview of allowed items. But make sure to check the NZ Customs Website (see link below) for most recent information.
After passing the NZ Immigration officer who checked your eligibility to travel to NZ you will collect your baggage with which you proceed to the Customs and Biosecurity control.

Biosecurity Screening

New Zealand has strict biosecurity procedures at airports and ports to prevent the introduction of unwanted pests and diseases.

On your arrival card you have to answer questions about what you bring to the country and e.g. if you were camping in other countries before which could mean that your equipment is not clean and bears the potential to bring in pests and diseases. At you NZ destination airport / port you will then be questioned again by the biosecurity officer if all those infos are true. After that your baggage will be screened again and if they find stuff you did not declared or mentioned to the officer you will likely get a hefty instant fine.

As a traveller to NZ you should study following official New Zealand website as well to prevent surprises upon arrival. Read more about New Zealand’s Biosecurity and Screening when entering the country:

What can you bring / Biosecurity Information: www.mpi.govt.nz/bring-send-to-nz/

Cigarettes, Tobacco, etc. — what can you bring to NZ

Here’s another official resource from the NZ Government: www.govt.nz/browse/immigration-and-visas/bringing-things-into-nz/what-you-can-bring-into-nz/

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