ESTA for New Zealand Citizens
As part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), citizens from New Zealand are able to visit the US using an ESTA instead of applying for a visa. The ESTA is a much faster and simpler way to get travel authorization to visit the US, so New Zealand citizens can benefit from their country’s agreement with the US government.
ESTA Requirements and Important Information
- Can be used for multiple visits to US
- ESTA has a limit of maximum 90 days
- Required for travellers either flying or arriving by sea to the US
- ESTA links to biometric passports
- ESTA is issued for two years, or until passport expires
- Can be used for tourism, business, medical or transit
- Children are required to have their own ESTA
How New Zealand Citizens Can Benefit From Using ESTA
Anyone with a NZ citizenship who wants to visit the US for business, tourism, medical or transit purposes can apply for an ESTA as travel authorization. The trip must be for no longer than 90 days in length but the approved ESTA will be valid for two years, or until the expiry of the passport it is linked to. During that period of validity, the ESTA holder is able to make multiple trips to the US using the same ESTA each time. However, if the linked passport expires, a new ESTA must be obtained for the new passport for any future trips to the US.
Applying for a US visa can take a while and involves attending an interview at the US Embassy, so being able to apply using a simple online form is a huge benefit to New Zealand citizens. The application fee is also considerably less for an ESTA than for a US visa, which is another of the advantages.
How New Zealand Citizens Can Apply for ESTA
Citizens from New Zealand can apply for an ESTA by filling in the online ESTA form. They are required to provide information such as personal details, passport details and to answer a set of eligibility questions. The US Department of Homeland Security will use the information to pre-screen the applicant to identify any potential risks to the US. For example, they will be screened for terrorism links, criminal convictions and some medical conditions can also be a reason for an application to be denied.
Citizens from New Zealand should be extremely careful when completing the ESTA application form, as any errors could delay the application. It is recommended that the application is submitted at least 72 hours before the planned travel date. This should hopefully provide enough time to resolve any issues that may arise with the application.
Important Advice for ESTA Application
Applying for the ESTA well in advance of the travel date is important and another factor to remember is that any kind of error could lead to the ESTA being declined. Therefore, it is vital that you check through all of the information you complete before you submit the application. If you need to re-apply for the ESTA, this could disrupt your travel plans.
What if my ESTA is Declined?
If your ESTA application is declined, there could still be a solution to enable you to travel to the US. You may be able to obtain a US tourism or business visa, depending on the purposes of your travel. To apply for a US visa, you will need to complete a DS-160 form and then book an appointment to attend an interview at the US Embassy.
New Zealand US Embassy Address:
US Embassy Wellington
29 Fitzherbert Terrac
There is also the US Consulate General in Auckland.
Benefits of ESTA for New Zealand citizens:
- Speedy processing time
- Use for tourism, business, medical or transit
- Can stay in US for up to 90 days
- Quick to complete application
- Submit ESTA form using mobile or desktop
- Use for multiple visits to US