If there’s one thing Kiwis love, it’s to travel. The annual number of international flights into and out of the country has doubled to 76,000 since 1998. That works out to nearly 3 million trips overseas by citizens of New Zealand. A third of those were for holidays and another third were to visit family or friends abroad. While their locations of choice used to be European, America has seen an uptick in arrivals from the country. This is especially true around December, likely due to Christmas and New Year holidays. If this is your first time travelling to the US from New Zealand, you might be in for a bit of a surprise if you leave your trip planning off until the last minute. America is known for having a fairly strict set of rules surrounding entry into the country. Failure to jump through the hoops appropriately may lead to being denied entry if you have unmet visa requirements.
If you’re concerned about the process for getting approval to travel to America, you may want to reach out to a local Embassy or Consulate of the United States of America. The last thing you want is to accidentally overstay a vacation visa or otherwise violate the rules. Laws in the country are not very forgiving to foreign travellers, so make sure you know your exact travel plans well in advance. Simple mistakes could result in your being detained while there and even expulsion and prohibition from entering the country for the next decade. It is especially helpful to have your itinerary when you’re booking a flight, as the full address of the place you’ll be staying is required for your visa application. They’re picky about it, down to the five-digit postal code.
If anything has changed since you booked your flight, make sure you’ve updated your information with your airline. This is particularly important if you’ve had to update your passport or changed your name. The airline is responsible for handing a correct list of passengers, along with their full information, to the US government.
If you’ll just be visiting for a short time, the Visa Waiver Programme allows New Zealand citizens to head on over to the US on either business or vacation for as long as 90 days without a visa. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to change the status of your American visa while you’re there, so only use this option if you’re sure you’ll be coming back within those 90 days. If you take a trip outside of the US and then pop back in for your flight home, that time is still going to be counted toward your three-month visa. When you take advantage of the Visa Waiver Programme, you do still have to have your ESTA authorisation approved. Make sure you know where and how to fill it out.
Once you have all your approvals in place, you just have to get ready for one of the longest flights of your life and you’ll be well on your way to fun and adventure.