Most travellers from European countries do not require a physical visa for a trip to New Zealand, but can use the NZeTA. For most of New Zealand’s neighbours, this is quite different for the time being. Here, you can read more about the attempts of the island nation Fiji to reach agreements about visa-free travel in the Oceanic region, among others.
Travelling to New Zealand with an NZeTA
For a trip to or through New Zealand, almost all international travellers require a physical visa or an NZeTA. The NZeTA was introduced on 1 October 2019 and is available for travellers from a set number of countries. Travellers who are eligible for the NZeTA only require this electronic travel authorisation for a trip to New Zealand. There are only a number of exceptions to the requirement of having an NZeTA or visa for New Zealand.
Travellers from European countries
Travellers from all 27 EU member states, among others, but also from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, can easily apply for an NZeTA. Travellers who, based on their nationality, are eligible for the NZeTA have to keep in mind that, in addition, they also have to meet all other requirements of the NZeTA visa for New Zealand.
Exception for a transfer in Auckland
One of the few exceptions to the New Zealand visa requirement is for transferring travellers from 24 countries, about half of which are in Oceania. These currently include travellers from Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Palau, the Federal States of Micronesia, the Independent State of Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Travellers from these countries, among others, can use the NZeTA visa for New Zealand for transit via Auckland Airport.
European travellers who transit in New Zealand have been able to use an NZeTA for this for some time now. These travellers can use the NZeTA for both a tourist trip and a transit trip, or for another travel purpose allowed with this travel authorisation.
Applying for an NZeTA for transit
In the application form for the NZeTA visa for New Zealand, travellers only have to select ‘Transit’ under ‘Purpose of Travel' if it is a transit at Auckland International Airport. In addition, they cannot leave the international transit zone and the transit time cannot be longer than 24 hours. If the transit takes place at another airport in New Zealand, ‘Tourism’ needs to be selected here. In this case, the NZeTA is applied to a tourist trip, and travellers can transit at every airport in New Zealand. The travel authorisation can then also be used for a transit longer than 24 hours or where travellers have to leave the international transit zone of Auckland airport.
Travellers from New Zealand’s neighbouring countries
Another exception to the New Zealand visa requirement is for travellers from Australia. Travellers who hold a passport from neighbouring country Australia and use this passport to travel to New Zealand do not require a visa or NZeTA. Even if they plan to settle permanently in New Zealand. In that case, they can travel to New Zealand without a visa and apply for the Australian Resident Visa required for this purpose after they arrive. Holders of an Australian residence permit who do not have Australian nationality can apply for an NZeTA for a stay of up to 3 months.
Visa requirement for other travellers from Oceania
For Fiji nationals, travel to New Zealand is considerably more difficult, despite having a closer proximity (2,100km) to New Zealand than many other countries eligible for the NZeTA. The deputy prime minister of Fiji recently cited the distance from countries like Lithuania and Latvia, which are about 17,000 km away from New Zealand. He argued that it Fiji residents, who are much, much closer to New Zealand, should also be eligible for a more lenient visa procedure for New Zealand.
Fijiʼs 2023 population was over 920,000. This is a substantial number and could prove quite interesting in terms of travel numbers for New Zealand.
Proposal from Fiji
The proposal of Fiji’s deputy prime minister is that the residents of Fiji and the Solomon Islands, among others, should be able to travel to both New Zealand and Australia as easily as European travellers. With this, the island state in the Melanesian part of the Pacific appears to be making an effort to connect the region in a broader way. As far as he is concerned, visa-free travel is a must and a first step in terms of further integration of the countries of Oceania into a common market. In light of China’s maritime presence in Pacific waters, New Zealand and Fiji are also taking steps towards greater military cooperation.