South African’s will no longer be issued with a visitor’s visa upon their arrival in New Zealand and will have to have obtained their visitor’s visa before leaving the country. This new rule, which was announced yesterday, will come into effect on 21 November 2016.
Yesterday Immigration New Zealand issued a statement saying the changes are being made as a result of an increase in the number of South African nationals who have been refused entry at the New Zealand border in comparison to other visa waiver countries. With this new rule it is believed that South African’s will have fewer border post issues as, in effect, they have been cleared to enter New Zealand before their arrival.
Currently, people from South Africa do not need to apply for a visitor visa before travelling to New Zealand, with genuine visitors being granted a visitor visa on arrival. As a result of the change all visitors from South Africa will need to obtain a visa before travelling to New Zealand.
Expect at least a six-week waiting period for your Visitor’s Visa.
The new rule not only affects South Africans who haven’t purchased their flight tickets yet, but also those whom have purchased tickets for travel dates on or after 21 November. Travellers who have already purchased tickets for travel to New Zealand prior to this announcement are being advised to immediately apply for a Visitor Visa.
According to this surprise announcement by Immigration New Zealand applicants are advised to apply for a visitor visa about six weeks in advance of their intended travel dates. Visitor’s Visas will be issued for a length of 9 months, depending on the purpose of your stay.
There will be an application fee and a fee increase to follow.
The current application fee of a visitor visa is NZ$ 165.00, which at today’s exchange rate translates to about R1 637.00 for travellers who apply before 21 November 2016. South African’s who apply for this visa from 21 November 2016 will have to pay an increased application fee of NZ $ 184.00 while the online cost remains unchanged at NZ$ 165.00
Transit passengers will also need a visa before arriving in New Zealand.
South African nationals passing through New Zealand as a transit passenger will need to apply for a transit visa before you travel, unless you’re travelling to Australia and hold a valid visa for this destination. With this visa you can stay in the transit area of Auckland International airport for a maximum of 24 hours.
How did these changes come about?
The reasoning behind the change, said Immigration New Zealand, is to prevent those who do not meet immigration requirements for entering the country.
"We are committed to creating an immigration system that actively welcomes and encourages legitimate visitors to New Zealand, but at the same time is able to prevent those who do not meet immigration requirements", say Immigration New Zealand (INZ) General Manager Peter Elms
“These changes bring New Zealand into line with countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. People who have booked tickets prior to today’s announcement for travel on or after the 21 November should visit the Immigration website to find out how to apply for their visa.”