What is the change? The New Zealand Government will impose a visa requirement on South African nationals after an increase in the number of South Africans who have been refused entry.

What does the change mean? Effective 21 November 2016, all South Africans travelling to New Zealand will be required to obtain a visa before travel. Those travelling before 21 November will be able to travel to New Zealand and obtain a visa at the airport but must meet other entry requirements, including health and character requirements.

  • Implementation time frame: 21 November 2016.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visitor visas.
  • Who is affected: South Africans planning travel to New Zealand on or after 21 November.
  • Impact on processing times: Immigration New Zealand suggests that travellers apply for a visa at least six weeks before their travel date.
  • Business impact: South African business travellers who previously obtained visas at the airport are among those who will need to obtain a visitor visa prior to travel.
  • Next steps: South Africans planning travel on or after 21 November can obtain information on New Zealand’s visa options on this INZ website.

Background: Currently, South Africans who meet New Zealand’s entry requirements are able to travel to New Zealand and obtain a visa at the airport. This will not be an option beginning 21 November. INZ saw an uptick in the number of South African nationals who did not meet entry requirements and said in a statement Monday that while INZ has been “successful in managing these risks to date, this has been a resource intensive process and the decision has been made to suspend the visa waiver status from South Africa, reinstating visitor visa requirements.” The cost of a visitor visa is currently $165 (NZ); the cost will increase to $184 (NZ) for hard-copy visa applications on 21 November, but will remain at $165 (NZ) for online applications.

BAL Analysis: The visa requirement will apply to all South Africans travelling on or after 21 November, including those who have already booked travel. Those with questions should contact BAL for help in obtaining the proper visa.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact

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