New Zealand introduces stricter travel requirements

Passengers travelling to New Zealand from visa waiver countries must now apply for electronic pre-approval and pay a tourism tax

New Zealand, 2006
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From October 1, travellers heading to New Zealand from 60 countries included in a visa wavier scheme will need to hold an Electronic Travel Authority before visiting.

Introduced to enhance security and reduce immigration risks, the ETA has a minimal cost and will be valid for two years. It is being introduced alongside an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy, which will cost Dh89 and remain valid for the length of the ETA.

The UAE is included in the list of visa waiver countries, as is the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

New Zealand citizens, holders of valid New Zealand visas and Australian citizens will be exempt from the scheme. Australian permanent residents will need to apply for the ETA, but do not need to pay the tourism levy.

Passengers travelling through New Zealand must also hold an ETA, even if they are only in transit. Applications can be done through a mobile phone app at a cost of NZ$9 (Dh12) or online for NZ$12.

According to New Zealand's official government portal, the ETA will enhance security, reduce immigration risks and address smuggling and bio-security risks. It will also give authorities the opportunity to risk-assess passengers before they board a plane.

The scheme was first announced on March 6, just nine days before the country experienced the biggest massacre in New Zealand's modern history. Carried out by an Australian citizen living in New Zealand, the new measures would not have covered the terrorist even if they had been in force at the time of the shooting.

More information will be released closer to July 1, when travellers can begin to apply for ETA approval.