The Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA USA) is an online system. Citizens of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) can apply online for a travel authorisation to visit the US for up to 90 days, for tourism, business, medical, or short-term study purposes, without a visa. Some travelers also refer to this travel document as an ESTA visa.

New Zealand has strong ties with the United States, as they have maintained a consular presence in New Zealand since 1838. The country joined the VWP in 1991 together with many European countries, making it easier for New Zealand nationals to travel to the USA. New Zealand was the first country to join the visa-free program from Oceania. ESTA was established in 2009, as an added requirement for travellers from countries in the VWP. Using ESTA USA is a faster and easier way to obtain authorisation to enter the US. From October 2013 – September 2014, 290,241 New Zealand nationals travelled to the USA under the the Visa Waiver Program.

New Zealand passport holders who intend to visit the United States, may complete the ESTA visa application online, at least seventy-two (72) hours prior to departure. Certain requirements must be met. Successful applications are valid for two (2) years. Also, citizens of New Zealand who travel to the USA using the VWP must fly with a signatory carrier. Air New Zealand, for example, is a signatory member.

If any ESTA applications are rejected, citizens of New Zealand may apply for a B1 or B2 tourist visa at the US Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand.

Signatory Carriers for travelling to US using the VWP

Well-known airlines that fly to the USA from New Zealand:

Cruise lines:

More Information

The US Embassy and Consulate in New Zealand:

New Zealand passports: