New Zealand is a stunningly beautiful and unique country, spread over two islands. It is especially well known as being the set for the “Hobbit” films and according to the Express, around 200,000 British tourists head to New Zealand each year. They visit the Hobbit’s film set home and explore the lovely scenery, but many Brits also head to New Zealand for adventure sports such as bungee jumping, parachuting, caving, rafting and canyoning.

However, news is that from 1 October 2019, British tourists will have to pay for the privilege of visiting New Zealand in the form of an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), a new addition to the country’s visa scheme.

Britons to require ETAs to visit New Zealand

In this case, ETA does not refer to "expected time of arrival." At present, there is no need for a visa to travel from the UK to New Zealand. However, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) shared the information about the new visa requirements. Their directive said that anyone from the UK visiting New Zealand without a visa from this autumn onward would require the ETA.

There are two ways of getting these, and two different prices involved. The cost for those using mobile applications will be £4.60 (9 NZD), while Internet applications will cost £6.10 (12 NZD) The Foreign Office issued the new regulations on 16 May, to let British nationals planning on traveling to and entering New Zealand by air or by sea cruise would need to have the ETA before leaving home.

The new ETA applications will be available from July this year.

The new ruling isn’t just for British nationals, however, as the ETA will be a necessary item for any citizens traveling from countries that are currently visa-exempt when visiting New Zealand. Reportedly once the ETA has been organised, it will be digitally linked to the traveller’s passport.

There’s good news for regular travellers to New Zealand, however, as the ETA will be valid for a two year period, unless the traveller’s passport expires in the meantime.

New Zealand introducing a tourist tax too

New Zealand has other plans for visitors, on top of the new ETA requirement. The country will be introducing a new tourist tax, the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) to be exact.

The country is introducing the new tax with the aim of protecting New Zealand’s precious natural environment and infrastructure. The new tax is also set to come into effect from October this year, along with the ETA. The new IVL tax is a charge of £17.90 (35 NZD) and needs to be paid at the same time as application is made for the ETA.

According to a report by the Evening Standard, so far there is no set date to apply for the ETA before visiting New Zealand, but authorities recommend applying a minimum of a month prior to your departure, just in case something should go wrong and mess up your travel plans.