Security Alert
May 17, 2024

Worldwide Caution

International Travel


Learn About Your Destination

New Zealand

New Zealand
New Zealand
Exercise normal precautions in New Zealand.

Reissued with removal of major event information.          

Exercise normal precautions in New Zealand.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to New Zealand.

If you decide to travel to New Zealand:


Embassy Messages


Quick Facts


Three months beyond the planned date of departure from New Zealand.


One page required for entry stamp.


New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) or visa is required.




Border Cash Report required for New Zealand Dollars (NZD) $10,000 or more in cash or foreign equivalent.



Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Auckland
Citigroup Centre, 3rd Floor,
23 Customs Street East
Auckland, New Zealand
+(64) (9) 303-2724
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(64) (4) 462-6000
Fax: +(64) (9) 303-1069

U.S. Embassy Wellington
29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon
Wellington, New Zealand
+(64) (4) 462-6000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(64) (4) 462-6000
Fax: +(64) (4) 499-0490

Consular services to U.S. citizens are available only at the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland. Consular services are unavailable at the U.S. Embassy in Wellington even in case of emergency. Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland for consular assistance.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA):

  • U.S. citizens traveling to or transiting through New Zealand under the visa waiver program are required to have an NZeTA. This is also true for cruise ship passengers. It can take up to 72 hours to process an NZeTA so apply well in advance of your trip. The NZeTA is valid for multiple visits for up to two years.
  • If your NZeTA application is denied, you will need to apply for a visa. Visit the Embassy of New Zealand website for the most current visa information.

International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL):

  • U.S. citizens traveling to New Zealand for tourism, certain student programs, and short-term business trips are required to pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL). This levy is assessed when a person applies for an NZeTA or New Zealand visa. The IVL is not required of passengers that are transiting New Zealand on a transit visa or transit ETA.

Arrival Information:

  • A customs officer at the port of entry into New Zealand may examine items such as mobile phones, iPads, Android tablets, hard drives, laptops, and digital cameras. The officer may ask for your password or ask you to enter it. Fines of up to NZD $5,000 may be enforced for failure to comply. Passwords are not kept, nor is personal data altered.
  • New Zealand has very strict biosecurity procedures to prevent the introduction of harmful pests and diseases. All biosecurity-risk goods must be declared or disposed of in marked amnesty bins at airports and seaports. If you do not declare goods considered to be a biosecurity risk, such as honey, fresh fruit, seeds, and plants, you can receive an immediate fine of NZD $400.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of, New Zealand. 

Cook Islands: Cook Islands is self-governing in free association with New Zealand. U.S. citizen visitors do not require an entry permit for stays up to 31 days. Your passport needs to be valid for at least six months past the arrival date in the Cook Islands.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Crime: The crime rate in New Zealand is relatively low, but theft from cars, recreational vehicles, and hostels is common, especially in areas frequented by tourists.

Do not leave passports or other valuable items in unattended vehicles.

Violent crime against tourists is rare; however, if you are traveling alone, you should remain vigilant and be cautious in secluded areas.

International Financial Scams:  See the  Department of State and the  FBI  pages for information.

Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in New Zealand. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:  

  • Romance/Online dating 
  • Money transfers 
  • Grandparent/Relative targeting 

Victims of Crime: For emergencies please dial 111 for Police, Fire and Ambulance. For non-emergencies please dial 105 for Police, and contact the U.S. Consulate General Auckland at +64 4 462 6000.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

If you are on the Cook Islands, the emergency police number is 999.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

How we can assist:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police 
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent 
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion 
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution 
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home 
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport 

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Consulate General for assistance.

Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules [with regards to best practices and safety inspections] are regularly enforced.  Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in New Zealand are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

In New Zealand, driving under the influence could land you in jail. Roadside sobriety checks by police are common. The blood alcohol limit in New Zealand is lower than that in most U.S. states.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Consulate General immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Natural Disasters and Weather Conditions: Natural disasters occur in New Zealand and include earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, and cyclones. In addition, weather conditions can change quickly leaving you stranded or injured, particularly if you are in an isolated area.

On December 9, 2019, the volcano on Whakaari/White Island erupted while tourists were visiting. This led to numerous casualties, including deaths of U.S. citizens. The volcano remains active and further eruptions are possible. Avoid Whakaari/White Island and follow the advice of local authorities.

There are many areas in New Zealand with active volcanoes. Tourists are encouraged to visit GeoNet for up-to-date information on volcanic alert levels, as well as other geological hazards in New Zealand. As always, follow the advice of local authorities.

The National Emergency Management Agency provides timely information to citizens and visitors through an Emergency Mobile Alert. This service is broadcast from local cell towers to all capable phones in the area and is designed to provide targeted messaging to areas affected by serious hazards. Messages will only be sent when there is a serious threat to life, health, or property.

Adventure Sports: Injuries and death can result from participating in extreme adventure sports, such as bungee jumping, sky diving, hiking, rappelling, climbing, motorcycling, and kayaking. Use caution and common sense when engaging in these activities. Make sure you have travel medical insurance and that it covers your sport.

Never participate in adventure sports alone. Always carry identification and let someone else know where you are at all times. Before kayaking, check the river conditions and wear a life jacket. When hiking, rappelling, or climbing, carry a first aid kit and know the location of the nearest rescue center.

Visit the New Zealand Department of Conservation website for advice and direction on how to safely and legally hike, bike, etc. in New Zealand.

Imports: New Zealand is an island nation, and the government is serious about preserving its delicate ecosystem. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) strictly regulates what can be imported into New Zealand.

  • If you do not declare goods that could be quarantined, you can be fined up to NZD $100,000 and/or face up to five years in prison.
  • If you do not declare goods considered to be a biosecurity risk, such as honey, fresh fruit, seeds, and plants, you can receive an instant fine of NZD $400.
  • When importing a pet, you will need thorough veterinary documentation and a quarantine period will be required.
  • The MPI may seize and destroy unfinished wood products, used hiking shoes, gardening tools, fresh food items, and items such as used pet carriers. Thoroughly clean any hiking equipment or sports gear prior to your arrival in New Zealand.

For more information visit the Biosecurity New Zealand website.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in New Zealand.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities: The law in New Zealand prohibits discrimination against persons with physical disability or impairment; any other loss or abnormality of psychological or anatomical structure or function; reliance on a guide dog, wheelchair, or other remedial means; and the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing illness. The law is enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is as prevalent as in the United States. The most common types of accessibility may include accessible facilities, information, and access to services. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, and general infrastructure. 

  • Every new building and major reconstruction in New Zealand must provide "reasonable and adequate" access for individuals with disabilities, but be aware that most buildings pre-date this requirement. Most facilities have wheelchair access.
  • Many transport operators can provide accessible transport, but most need advance notice so you may want to call ahead to describe your needs. Mobility parking permits are available.
  • If you are planning a holiday and need information on facilities for individuals with disabilities, please visit the New Zealand Tourism website.
  • Rental, repair and replacement parts for aids/equipment/devices may be limited. Service providers, such as sign language interpreters or personal assistants are available in many areas. 
  • For more information on the availability of disability services in New Zealand, please visit the disability section of the New Zealand Ministry of Health website.

Students:  See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.  

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.


Travelers and crew do not need pre-departure tests or proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter New Zealand. Please check with your airline or cruise provider as they may still require proof of vaccination.

For emergency services in New Zealand, dial 111.

Ambulance services and quality medical care are widely available in New Zealand. Waiting lists exist for certain types of treatment. Access to medical care may be less available in rural areas. 
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. If they do not, consider emergency or comprehensive traveler’s insurance. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the government of New Zealand regulations at New Zealand MedSafe to ensure the medication is legal in New Zealand.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The U.S. Consulate General maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy:

  • If you are considering traveling to New Zealand to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page
  • Although surrogacy agencies/clinics claim surrogacy is legal in New Zealand, there is little legal framework for foreigners or same-sex couples to pursue surrogacy in New Zealand. As a result, surrogacy agreements between foreign or same-sex intending parents and gestational mothers may not be enforced by New Zealand courts. You may be required to adopt the child before you are given parental rights.
  • If you decide to pursue parenthood in New Zealand via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with a gestational mother, be prepared for long and unexpected delays in documenting your child’s citizenship. Be aware that individuals who attempt to circumvent local law risk criminal prosecution.

Adventure Travel: Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.

General Health Language: Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in New Zealand. 

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: While in New Zealand, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.

Renting a car or a camper is a popular way to enjoy New Zealand's natural beauty, but if you are unfamiliar with local conditions, you should be extremely careful. New Zealand has only 100 miles of multi-lane divided motorways. Most intercity travel is on narrow, two-lane roads. While these roads are in good condition, New Zealand's rugged terrain means motorists often encounter sharper curves and steeper grades than those found on the U.S. Interstate Highway System.

  • Use caution to avoid animals when driving in rural areas.
  • There is very limited cell phone coverage on large portions of scenic highway in the South Island, which is remote and has little traffic.
  • Drivers are advised to review the driving rules and regulations beforehand. For example, pedestrians do not have the right of way except in crosswalks. New Zealand law requires that cars stop at least two meters (approximately 6 feet) from a crosswalk that is in use. Additionally, there is no left-hand turn allowed at a red light. Drivers are reminded to remain cognizant of turning to the left (counterclockwise) when entering traffic circles.

Traffic Laws: All traffic moves on the left in New Zealand, and you should exercise extra caution if you are accustomed to driving on the right.

  • Driving on the wrong side of the road is a leading cause of serious injury and death for U.S. tourists.
  • Make sure to follow the posted speed limit signs. The speed limits are much lower than those in the United States.
  • Proceed carefully through intersections. Traffic circles are common throughout New Zealand. When approaching a traffic circle, always yield to traffic coming from the right--noting that traffic already in the circle has the right-of-way--and merge to the left into the circle. Left turns on a red traffic signal are not permitted.
  • New Zealand prohibits driving while texting as well as driving while using a cell phone.

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of the New Zealand Transport Agency for information about safe driving in New Zealand.

Public Transportation: New Zealand has public transport systems in all major cities and some towns. The public transportation system in New Zealand is generally easy to use and reliable.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of New Zealand’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to New Zealand should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts.  Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in New Zealand. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: May 31, 2023

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Consulate General Auckland
Citigroup Centre, 3rd Floor,
23 Customs Street East
Auckland, New Zealand
+(64)(9) 303-2724
+(64)(4) 462-6000
+(64)(9) 303-1069

New Zealand Map