The government of New Zealand, on February 25, 2019, confirmed the details of the Electronic Travel Authority — ETA for short. The document, going by the description given of it by Immigration New Zealand, (INZ) provides a facilitative and security measure that will help hasten things up at the country's border.
Travelers who will be eligible to present the ETA before traveling to New Zealand include:
- Nationals of countries on the New Zealand visa waiver list
- Persons who have the Australian residence permit. Those with the Australian passport are exempt here.
- All passengers on cruise ships, no matter their nationality.
- All crew travelling by air and cruise.
Applications for the ETA will be open by next month for all persons included in these groups, but from October 1, it will become mandatory that all persons traveling into the country must have the travel document.
There will be varied costs for the application of the ETA. Those sending in their applications via a mobile application will have to pay NZD 9 while those applying on a website will pay NZD 12. For each application, it will take up to 72 hours to make a decision. Exceptions to the decision time-frame will only apply in cases of emergency, which will have a different cost and application process.
The initial application fee, according to the government, will pay for the running of the systems, which will be more than $14 million every year. The government also plans to introduce a $35 Levy for Tourism and Conservation per person. This levy will fund conservation and infrastructure projects. It will also have the same duration as the ETA, but will not apply to those with Australian Permanent Residence Permits.
Will the ETA discourage travellers from coming to NZ?
There are concerns however about the workability if the ETA such as the possibility that this arrangement might not work for passengers of cruise ships as the time it takes to board up to 3,500 passengers onto a ship takes a lot of time and adding the ETA-checking protocol to it could make it even more unbearably tedious that passengers might be turned away from New Zealand.
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