New Zealand Travel Guide For The USA

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

New Zealand and the USA have strong diplomatic ties that provide some leniency for visitors from the United States, however there are still areas where documentation and applications are required. To ensure your vacation isn’t prematurely cut short or spoiled by unexpected surprises, we’ve put together a New Zealand travel guide for visitors from the USA.


New Zealand and the USA have a visa-waiver agreement that makes temporary travel here quite easy for US residents and nationals. If you’re planning to be here for less than 3 months you don’t need to apply for a visa, however upon arrival you will be asked to provide evidence of a return ticket or travel arrangements for leaving the country within the designated time, as well as evidence of funds to support you while you are here (approximately NZ$1000 per month per person). So long as you have all this you won’t need to apply for a visa before you leave, but you’ll be required to fill out forms and show documentation upon arrival so be prepared. If you don’t meet the conditions or wish to stay longer, you’ll need to speak to the embassy first.


New Zealand has very strict bio-security measures that can end up creating an unpleasant surprise for those wanting to bring in certain items. All food items must be declared, and some foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, meat/animal products, honey plus plants are banned entirely in efforts to prevent the spread of diseases that could devastate local industries. It’s a good idea to check New Zealand customs requirements before you start packing, or download this handy NZ Customs guide (PDF). If you do have anything prohibited when you arrive (such as fruit from your flight etc) make sure you dispose of it in the bins before you reach customs.

Health and Safety

New Zealand and the USA do not have a reciprocal healthcare agreement, which means it’s highly advisable for visitors to take out private travel insurance. New Zealand has a great healthcare system and experienced search and rescue services in case the worst occurs, but these can rack up the bills if you don’t have insurance coverage.

It’s also recommended that if you plan to drive here you take out motor insurance, as this is not legally required in New Zealand. If you’re renting a car, insurance should be included, though many car rental companies charge high excess fees so ask about your options when you make your booking. At New Zealand Rent A Car we offer an insurance excess reduction at a low daily rate to reduce the excess fee.

Travelling between the USA and New Zealand is straightforward in most cases, but it’s important to check before you come here to ensure you have everything you need for a full and enjoyable vacation.

New Zealand Travel

Travelling around New Zealand is easy with a rental car and you can explore the places you really want to visit, get off the beaten track and travel at your own pace. Check out some great attractions and some ideas for road trips all around NZ.

< Back to Blog

Book Online

Book online or call us now. Our operators are available 8am-5pm, 7 days a week. View our guarantee.

New Zealand Freephone
0800 800 956