Why a New Zealand Passport Is One of The Best in The World

New Zealand is well known for having a friendly, ‘powerful’ passport. But what does that mean for you? As a traveler, does it matter? The New Zealand passport is ranked seventh in the world for travel freedom. Kiwis have 182 countries that can be entered without a visa or with a simple visa on arrival. For a small country, this gives travelers tremendous freedom; we can pack up and go almost anywhere without advance planning.  You could also talk to an immigration advisor in NZ for a smooth passport and visa processing. 

New Zealand Passport


The passport also affects how we travel within a country too – for instance, it means that in Iran, Kiwis can travel freely, while a passport from the USA requires tour guides to be with them at all times. In Bhutan, Kiwis have to spend a minimum of US$200 a day – while Indian passports are given complete freedom to do what they want with no minimum spending.

The Kiwi passport is unique in one other main way too; it has a black cover. Passport cover colors mean something. The passports from the EU tend to be burgundy – although the UK will change to blue after Brexit. Blue passports are generally found in South America and the Caribbean. Islamic states tend to have green covers, as it is symbolic of nature and life in Islamic culture. Black is the rarest color to have and generally are used for African countries – but because NZ national color is black, so is our passport.

NZ passport in Schengen states

New Zealand are classified as ‘Annex II’ foreign nationals. This means New Zealand are permitted to stay visa-free in any of the 26 member states of the Schengen Area for up to three months every six months.

However, there are bilateral visa waiver agreements with 17 countries which mean Kiwis can visit each of those member states for up to three months each. However, if the traveler then visits a Schengen state that is not on the list, then the previous rule applies- so be careful when Europe-hopping to avoid inadvertently outstaying your visa terms.

There are also individual agreements with a number of Schengen states with more generous visa exemptions.

NZ passport in Australia

AirNZ at Sydney Airport by Maksym Kozlenko

Our beloved Aussie neighbors have allowed Kiwis to be granted a special category visa on arrival. This allows residence and work for an indefinite period as long as the NZ passport is valid, the traveler has criminal convictions, does not have untreated tuberculosis and they have not been deported or removed from any country.

NZ passport in the UK

Kiwis can visit the UK for up to six months without applying for a visa (or, only three months if entered via Ireland). This is dependent upon the traveler not working in the UK, not registering a marriage or forming a civil partnership, having sufficient funds to last for six months and having a flight booked for exiting.

However, if the traveler has criminal convictions, has been previously refused entry in the UK or violated the terms of visa or been warned they would need to apply for a visa, then it’s advised a visa application process is followed.

New Zealand that have a grandparent born prior to 1922 in the UK, Channel Island, Ireland or Isle of Man can apply for a UK Ancestry Entry Clearance. This enables a five year stay and ability to work.

Young New Zealand can also apply to for a student visit visa or apply through the Youth Mobility Scheme.

Rest of the world and NZ passport

Before you travel anywhere, check and find out the visa requirements of your destination, and also any stopover countries along the way. Typically, there is no visa required, a simple online e-visa, a visa on arrival, or a full visa application process. Many countries require bio-metrics too, ranging from an eye scan and fingerprinting, through to other medical checks. Don’t get to China and find out you aren’t allowed to disembark!

Wherever you go it’s often recommended that protect yourself with travel insurance eg: from State, and also make sure your passport has enough validity to pass visa requirements and the length of your intended stay.

APEC business travel card

New Zealand who hold an APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) have extra privileges. There are 18 countries that can visited for various duration that do not require a visa.

Other passport restrictions

Most countries require that your passport be valid for six months past your arrival date. Many countries also require two blank pages in the passport. Due to political issues, there are countries that do not allow entry to people with passport stamps from Israel. Also check your vaccinations are up to date and comply with country regulations, particularly around yellow fever.

How to get a New Zealand passport

Getting a New Zealand passport is a simple process. Most people can apply online using a simple form. You need a color passport-sized photograph, your credit card to pay the processing fee, and referee details. Your referee must be someone who is more than 16 years old, has known you for more than one year and holds a valid passport. They cannot be related to you or living at your address.

The process for renewing a passport is exactly the same, except you also need to send in your previous passport. Head over to www.passports.govt.nz to start your passport application.

A new passport costs NZ$180, or an urgent passport costs NZ$360 (which takes three days + courier time).

The visa takes about ten days to process, plus shipping time.

Quick FAQ’s

Do I need a visa to travel to Europe from NZ?

No. New Zealand can stay in Europe for up to three months without a visa.

How much does a NZ passport cost?

NZ$180 for normal processing, NZ$360 for urgent processing.

How long can New Zealand stay in Europe?

The Schengen area allows Kiwis to stay for up to three months. However there are states within the region that allow New Zealand to stay longer.

How long do NZ passports take to process?

Typically the turnaround is ten days, plus shipping time. If you pay extra for an expedited passport, it takes three days plus shipping time.

    Last Updated on November 25, 2022

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