The New Zealand Government has released details of how people can apply for visas to visit other countries in the Pacific.
Key points:The Government says it’s launching an online application portal to allow people to apply to visit the countryThe Government has also published guidelines for tourists seeking to visit Nauru, Manus Island and Papua New GuineaThe Government wants to expand its visa waiver program to include the Pacific islandsNew Zealand is a small island nation in the Southern Ocean, which has traditionally been a safe haven for refugees fleeing persecution.
Its people are largely Christian and it is home to a large Christian population, many of whom have returned to their homeland to try to rebuild.
The Government is now launching an application portal that will allow visitors to apply in person to enter the country and apply online.
Visitors will be asked to provide details about their nationality, place of birth, employment, and whether they have visited the country in the past three years.
The process will take about two hours.
The New Zealand Bureau of Immigration says visitors who have completed the online application process will be sent an email, which will include an application form.
If you are applying online, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says you will need to provide your contact details, such as email, phone number and passport number, in order to send the application to the department.
In an interview on Sunday, the department’s Immigration Minister Amy Adams said the program would enable visitors to visit countries that New Zealand does not already offer visa-free access to.
She said the Department was aiming to open the program to more countries in early 2019, although she did not give any timeframe.
The department will also publish guidelines for travellers seeking to enter New Zealand.
“We want to open up the Pacific for more people to come to New Zealand, so we want to get the visa waiver scheme expanded,” Ms Adams said.
“There are a number of countries we don’t have visa waiver, so what we’re trying to do is give people access to the Pacific.”
The application portal will allow people with a passport from a country that does not currently offer visa waiver to apply on the application form, and can be sent to the Department for approval.
“The goal is to get New Zealand people to go and visit other parts of the Pacific, and that’s why we’ve got the application portal,” Ms Adam said.
The program will not include countries in Papua New Guinean, Manukau, or Papua New Ireland, which are currently restricted to visa-only travel to the United Kingdom.
The Department of Immigration is hoping to have the program operational by the end of 2019.
The visa waiver application form can be downloaded from the department website.
If New Zealanders apply online, they will also need to pay a $50 application fee.
If they pay this, they can submit the form at the Department, or they can send it directly to the bureau.