South Africans travelling to New Zealand for Christmas will have to make sure they have the appropriate visa in place before setting foot on the plane.
Fresh off the press is the news that the New Zealand Department of Immigration has confirmed that all South Africa's visitors to New Zealand will as of 21 November be required to be in possession of a visitor visa before arriving in New Zealand.
Visitor visas will, after this date, no longer be issued at New Zealand ports of entry.
The new rule will come into effect almost a month before the traditional South African influx into New Zealand to reconnect with family and friends whom have immigrated.
According to the Department’s website South Africans will require new travel documents as of 21 November 2016.
New Zealand has motivated these changes as being necessitated by the increased volume in the number of South African nationals who have been refused entry at the New Zealand border in comparison to other visa waiver countries. Being turned back at the gate of a New Zealand port of entry could seriously dampen your Christmas spirit and is the last thing you would want to contend with when all everyone has on the minds is family and relaxation.
According to the New Zealand Department of Immigration South Africans currently need not be in possession of 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.
It is a good idea to get hold of a reputable immigration agent – recognized by Kiwi authorities – if you are planning a trip South.
In a statement published on their website the New Zealand Department of Immigration General Manager, Peter Elms, is quoted as saying says “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.”
“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.”
The website recommends that;
• applicants apply for a visitor visa about six weeks in advance of their intended travel dates
• people who have already purchased tickets for travel to New Zealand should immediately apply for a visitor visa
• make sure your application is true, complete and correct or your visa may not be processed in time for your intended travel date
• If you make use of an immigration agent during your visa application process make sure that you use an agent registered and recognized by Immigration New Zealand – they will have access to the latest and most reliable information regarding visa application.
• You will be required to meet visa requirements including showing sufficient evidence that you will be able to support yourself and / your family for your stay in New Zealand. Speak to your immigration specialist about the other requirements
• You will need a visitor’s visa even if you are in transit at a New Zealand airport.