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NZ Parliament passes legislation for smart border system

The New Zealand Parliament has recently passed the legislation that enables the collection of the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) from 1 July 2019.

Moreover, it will enable the digital processing of the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA), which will be mandatory from 1 October 2019.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis reportedly explained that the passage of the Immigration (International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy) Amendment Bill enables the collection of the IVL.

Improving tourism

The Levy will be collected through the immigration system, with travellers paying the IVL alongside visa or NZeTA fees.

This is an important part of delivering on the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy.

The IVL is an investment in New Zealand. It is expected to raise over $450 million over 5 years, funding projects to ensure our country and our people get the best from tourism growth.

The international visitors will be contributing directly to the infrastructure they use and helping to protect the natural places they enjoy.

As visitor numbers rise, it must be guaranteed that the tourism industry is part of the solution for the biggest conservation challenges. The levy enables visitors to give nature a helping hand.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says the NZeTA is an important step in strengthening New Zealand’s border security.

Improving processes through digitalisation

The legislation extends Immigration New Zealand’s automated decision-making to include the NZeTA, creating a speedy and efficient service.

Around 1.5 million visitors come to New Zealand each year from 60 visa waiver countries. The NZeTA will provide more information about those travellers before they arrive in the country.

Additionally, it brings New Zealand’s border in line with international best practice.

Some visitors and transit passengers must have an Electronic Travel Authority and pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy before travelling to NZ, starting 1 October 2019.

It is essential that before one travels to New Zealand, they should check if an NZeTA is needed. The visitor may also have to pay for the IVL.


NZeTA has two major functions. These are:

  1. Improve the way travellers are assessed before they arrive in New Zealand
  2. Help reduce the time needed for border clearance and strengthen border security

People who are required to request for an NZeTA before traveling to the country are:

  1. Those visiting or in transit from a visa waiver country – a country whose passport holders do not need to get visa before they arrive in New Zealand
  2. Those travelling on a passport from a visa waiver country or a transit visa waiver country, and will be in transit through Auckland International Airport
  3. A cruise ship passenger, regardless of nationality
  4. A permanent resident of Australia

On the other hand, people who do not need to apply for an NZeTA before travelling to the country are:

  1. Those who must apply for a New Zealand visa before traveling
  2. Already holding a valid New Zealand visa
  3. New Zealand citizen traveling on:
  4. A New Zealand passport
  5. A foreign passport with an endorsement – to verify that traveller is a permanent resident or citizen of New Zealand.
  6. An Australian citizen traveling on an Australian passport.

Requesting for an NZeTA should be done well in advance of the trip to NZ as it can take up to 72 hours to approve it.

If traveller is not holding an NZeTA when checking in for flight or cruise, they will not be allowed to board.

The NZeTA and IVL are valid for multiple visits and up to 2 years.

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