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Visa changes for South African nationals visiting New Zealand

Visa changes for South African nationals visiting New Zealand

Posted on 11th October 2016 by Russell Phillips

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Immigration New Zealand has released updates regarding imminent changes to certain visa requirements.

Please read the update regarding changes for South African nationals below.

All South African visitors to New Zealand will require visitor visas from the 21 November this year.

These 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.

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.

” 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.”

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) General Manager Peter Elms 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.”

INZ recommends that applicants apply for a visitor visa about six weeks in advance of their intended travel dates.

For further information on the changes see our question and answers below or contact Immigration NZ:

South Africa visa changes – Questions and Answers

Why is the Government introducing visitor visa requirements for all South African nationals wishing to travel to New Zealand?

The Government is introducing these changes as a result of an increase in the number of ineligible passengers who do not meet New Zealand entry instructions.

This is evidenced by an increase in the number of passengers who have been refused permission to board a flight to New Zealand or refused entry at the border in comparison to other visa waiver countries.

Additionally, there have been incidents of passengers who have been found holding counterfeit or fraudulently obtained South African passports.


What do these changes mean?

This means that on and after the 21 November all South African nationals will need to obtain a visa before travelling to New Zealand

Applicants wishing to travel to New Zealand should visit the Immigration New Zealand website to find out how to apply for a visitor visa.

Visitor Visa


I’m from South Africa and purchased a ticket prior to today’s announcement, what happens now?

People who have already purchased tickets for travel to New Zealand prior to today’s announcement should immediately apply for a visitor visa.

Visitor Visa


I’m due to travel to New Zealand next week, is that enough time to be granted a visitor visa?

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is committed to delivering the fastest possible service for visa applicants but processing times will always depend on the complexity of an application and some applications will take longer to process than others, particularly if the information provided by applicants needs to be clarified.

INZ recommends that applicants apply for a visitor visa about six weeks in advance of their intended travel dates.


I’m planning to travel to New Zealand before 21 November, but I won’t be leaving until afterwards. Do I need to apply for a visa before I travel?

No. You will be a granted visitor visa on your arrival in New Zealand providing you meet standard requirements (such as having sufficient funds, an outward ticket and satisfying the immigration officer you are genuinely intending a visit). The visitor visa will remain valid for up to three months from your arrival.


I’m a South African national in New Zealand and wish to extend my stay; do I need to apply for a visitor visa?

Yes – whether you were granted a visa under visa waiver provisions or arrived with a visa you will need to ensure you remain lawfully in New Zealand. If you wish to stay beyond the duration of the visa you currently have please apply for another visa well before your current visa is due to expire.

Applicants wishing to travel to New Zealand should find out how to apply for a visitor visa.

Visitor Visa


How much does a visitor visa cost?

The cost of a visitor visa is $165.00 (NZ) if you apply before 21 November 2016.

From 21 November 2016, the cost for paper applications increases to $184 while the online cost remains $165.

I’m travelling with my family, there are four of us, do all family members have to pay?

If you are applying online then each applicant will have to pay the cost of a visitor visa which is $165.00 (NZ) each.

If you are applying on a paper form, you can include all your family members in your form for a single fee of either $165 before 21 November 2016 or $184 on or afterwards.

What do I need to know about the visitor visas?

With this visa, you can come to New Zealand as a visitor.

During your stay, you’ll need enough money to support yourself and everyone included in your application. While you’re here, you can enjoy New Zealand’s scenery, adventure, and culture.

Will I have to send my passport in as part of the application?

Yes. You can find out where you need to lodge your application using our Office and fees finder.

Office and fees finder


I’m travelling as part of a sports team coming to New Zealand to play in a rugby tournament, do I need to apply?

Yes, you need to apply for a visitor visa. There are special provisions for sports teams which allow them to enter New Zealand on visitor’s visas, even for professional teams that will be earning money in New Zealand.

I’m planning to travel from the other side of the world to New Zealand, leaving on the 19 November. Will I need a visa when I arrive in New Zealand?

It’s important to be aware that New Zealand is one of the first places in the world to see the new day. With that in mind, it’s important to familiarise yourself with what the date and time will be when you arrive in New Zealand. On and from 21 November you will need a visitor visa to enter New Zealand.

On the 21 November I’ll be passing through New Zealand as a transit passenger, do I need a visa?

Yes, on and from the 21 November all 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.