The rule change affects Australian permanent residents but not Australian citizens.
Sydneysider Ramesh Kumar has been planning to spend his Christmas holidays in New Zealand.
After going on a business trip last year, he wanted to take his family to the beautiful country in the summer.
However, he won’t be able to just board a plane and travel to Wellington as he did last year. As an Australian permanent resident, Mr Kumar now has to apply for an electronic visa before his travel.
A new rule introduced by the New Zealand government means that starting from 1st October, Australian permanent residents are required to take an electronic visa to visit the neighboring country.
Australian citizens are exempt from this rule
“I had booked the ticket well in advance, but my travel agent called me a few days back and advised me of the change”, he told SBS Malayalam.
“Now I have to apply for an e-visa prior to the journey.”
Until last month Australian citizens and permanent residents were allowed to enter New Zealand with an on-arrival visa. But with the new regulation announced by the New Zealand government recently, permanent residents no longer have parity with their fellow Australians who hold citizenship.
Australian citizens continue to be exempt and can travel to New Zealand without the need of a visa in advance.
“If you come to New Zealand on holiday, you'll need to get either a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) or a visitor visa – unless you are an Australian citizen”, the New Zealand government immigration website states.
“The e-visa doesn’t cost much,” says Sydney based travel agent Jiju Peter.
“The visa fee is just NZ$12, and if you apply via their mobile app it will even come down to NZ$9."
There will also e a tourist tax of NZ$35 along with this.
“New Zealand authorities have said that it could take up to 72 hours for granting the document, but could be as little as 10 minutes,” Mr Peter said.
Both Australian citizens and permanent residents will continue to get the Australian Resident Visa once they arrive in New Zealand. This visa allows one to live, study and work in New Zealand.
E-visa for 60 countries
News website stuff.nz reports that it is part of an immigration rule change affecting people from 60 countries.
“From October 1 about 1.5 million travelers from 60 countries who previously did not need visitor visas will now have to declare any criminal history before departure,” the website reports.
They will also need to apply for NZeTA like Australian permanent residents.
They will also have to pass a health test, character test and must have genuine intentions also in order to get a NZeTA, the immigration department website states.
People who are not from a visa waiver country or who want to stay for more than three months need to apply for a visitor visa.