New Zealand swaps arrival cards for online form, app

New Zealand is the latest country to move its arrival cards online, streamlining the entry process for the estimated 1.7 million international visitors to the Land of the Long White Cloud.

After trialling the digital New Zealand Traveller Declaration (NZTD) at Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington airports earlier this month, the program has now been extended to Auckland and effectively gone nation-wide.

Available in a Web-based browser version as well as Apple iPhone and Google Android apps, the NZTD takes around 10 minutes to complete and asks all the usual questions – although the smartphone app has the ability to speed things up by taking a photo of your passport ID page.

Swap paper cards for your smartphone screen with the NZTD app.
Swap paper cards for your smartphone screen with the NZTD app.

The paper form remains available on flights and at the airport “for travellers who cannot complete it online”, the NZ government says.

However, there are two things travellers need to note.

Firstly, the digital New Zealand Traveller Declaration – either Web-based or done through the app – must be submitted “no more than 24 hours before starting your journey to New Zealand.”

This isn’t something you can cross off your to-do list days ahead of your flight: but if you don’t get it done in that 24-hour window before your flight to NZ departs, at least the paper arrival card is your reliable Plan B.

Secondly, the New Zealand Traveller Declaration doesn’t replace the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) visa waiver.