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All the information on the New Zealand Visa for US Citizens

by Juan José Herranz | July 27, 2020
rocks at sea in New Zealand

If you are a nature lover and an adventure seeker, you should travel to New Zealand. The small island country served as the setting for The Lord of the Rings and since then its immense beauty has finally received the attention it deserved. New Zealand cities and stunning landscapes, glaciers, lakes and mountain ranges are praised all over the world and, in addition, the Kiwi people are known to be one of the friendliest on earth.

The United States ranks third in the arrival of international tourists to New Zealand, with more than 350,000 visitors a year, a figure that continues to increase each year. Whether you're looking for the ultimate adventure destination, here's everything you need to know about getting a New Zealand visa for U.S. citizens.

Do US citizens need a visa for New Zealand?

If you are traveling from the US to New Zealand, you might wonder, does a US citizen need a visa for New Zealand? The U.S. is among the 60 nations in the world that do not need a visa to travel to New Zealand. People with a U.S. passport can stay in New Zealand for up to 90 days without applying for a visa. However, since October 2019, all US citizens must obtain an electronic travel authorization. They must apply for the New Zealand visa for US citizens. 

New Zealand visa US citizen: How do I apply for a New Zealand visa for US citizens?

The New Zealand Electronic Travel Authorization (NZeTA) can be obtained online. The process is cheaper and is fairly easy and it takes 1 to 3 business days to get a response and receive the authorization in your mailbox.

The New Zealand visa for U.S. citizens is valid for up to 2 years from the time it is issued. That means it can be used within 2 years, but the total time spent in the country cannot exceed 90 days.

Visa requirements for New Zealand for US citizens

The New Zealand entry requirements and necessary documentation to be able to apply for the New Zealand visa for US citizens are:

  • Valid passport that does not expire until 6 months after your expected date of departure from the country
  • Basic and accurate personal information
  • Photo of the applicant
  • Pay NZeTA fees

While it is not a requirement to enter New Zealand, it is advisable to obtain New Zealand currency. The New Zealand dollar is an official currency and, as such, the country doesn’t accept any other currencies like USD, Euro, etc. 

New Zealand visa for US citizens to go trekking in New Zealand

How long can a US citizen stay in New Zealand?

The New Zealand visa for US citizens allows U.S. nationals to stay in the country for up to 90 days without having to apply for a visa. However, there are other types of New Zealand visa for US citizens who wish to stay for more than 90 days in New Zealand so you should definitely chek out our article on How to get a New Zealand visa

These visas must be obtained at consulates or embassies in person and include the following types:

  • Visitor Visa for Medical Treatment: If you are a U.S. citizen who wants medical advice or treatment in New Zealand you may be eligible for a Visitor Visa for Medical Treatment. 
  • Student Visa: This visa is intended for foreigners wishing to study in New Zealand for more than 90 days. It also allows students to work part-time under certain regulations during their studies. If the holder of a student visa wishes to remain in the country after completing his studies, he/she must apply for another visa.
  • Business and work visas: If a foreigner wishes to work in New Zealand, they must apply for a business and work visa. There are several types of visas for people who wish to work or do business in New Zealand, ranging from skilled workers to post-school work visas.
  • Family visas: These visas allow members of the same family unit to meet in New Zealand. There are more than 20 types of family visas for New Zealand and the nature of the relationship between applicants will determine the most convenient type of visa. 

Where should I stay when visiting New Zealand?

Here are some accommodation tips:

Auckland and Wellington are the two safest options for setting up a "base camp" for any trip to New Zealand. Auckland is New Zealand's largest and most vibrant city. Wellington is the capital and its location allows visitors to easily travel to the southern island, which has the most beautiful parts of the archipelago.

Something very appealing of travelling to New Zealand is to enjoy the remote location of many of its cities. However, staying in an extremely remote location can mean higher housing prices and fewer facilities and services available. If you're looking for a perfect mix of nature and civilization, choose medium-sized cities that aren't extremely remote and are also not very populated. Examples of these cities are Motueka and Greymouth in the north and northwest of the South Island or Tauranga and Whakatane in the east of Auckland.