How the IVL works

Visitors to New Zealand are directly contributing to making sure that tourism continues to benefit communities, visitors and the environment.

The number of visitors to New Zealand has grown strongly over the past few years, although COVID-19 has disrupted this trend.

Most international visitors applying for a visa to enter New Zealand are charged a non-refundable levy of $35. This contributes directly to help protect the natural environment they enjoy, and the infrastructure they use. It is collected through the immigration system, with travellers paying the IVL alongside visa or NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) fees.

The IVL is an investment in New Zealand. It helps ensure tourism growth is sustainable and continues to enrich New Zealand and New Zealanders.

Projects funded by the IVL contribute to the long-term sustainability of tourism in New Zealand, by protecting and enhancing our biodiversity, upholding New Zealand’s reputation as a world-class experience, and addressing the way critical tourism infrastructure is funded.

Who needs to pay the IVL?

Most people entering New Zealand on a temporary basis will need to pay the IVL. This includes for a holiday (including through the working holiday scheme), some student visas and some short-term work visas.

There are some exceptions, most notably Australian citizens and permanent residents, and people from many Pacific Island countries.

To make it easy for visitors, the immigration system determines whether a person needs to pay the IVL when they apply for a visa or NZeTA application.

Who does not need to pay the IVL:

  • New Zealand citizens and residents (including all resident visas)
  • People transiting New Zealand on a transit visa or transit NZeTA
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents
  • People from the following Pacific Island countries:
    • American Samoa
    • Cook Islands
    • Fiji
    • Kiribati
    • Republic of Marshall Islands
    • Federated States of Micronesia
    • Niue
    • Nauru
    • Palau
    • Papua New Guinea
    • Pitcairn Islands
    • Samoa
    • Solomon Islands
    • Tonga
    • Tuvalu
    • Vanuatu
  • Diplomatic, military, medical, and humanitarian visas
  • People travelling to Antarctica under the Antarctic Treaty (including people travelling on the Antarctic Traveller Transit Visa)
  • Recognised Seasonal Employment workers
  • Business Visitor Visas (including APEC business travel cards)
  • Ship and airline crew
  • Most visas for dependants (partners and children) of work and student visa holders
  • Travellers whose visa or NZeTA requirements have been waived by Immigration New Zealand

A full and definitive list of exemptions will is included in the Immigration (Visa, Entry Permission, and Related Matters) Regulations 2010.

Immigration (Visa, Entry Permission, and Related Matters) Regulations 2010(external link) — New Zealand Legislation

The New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA)

The IVL and the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) are separate, but connected government initiatives. The NZeTA is for visa waiver travellers and Australian Permanent Residents (Australian citizens, New Zealand citizens, and New Zealand visa holders are not required to have an NZeTA to travel to NZ).

From 1 October 2019, these travellers will be required to hold an NZeTA in order to board their flight or cruise vessel. Requests for an NZeTA can be made now.

Information about NZTeA(external link) — Immigration New Zealand

The NZeTA will help New Zealand manage the increasing numbers of travellers forecast to come to New Zealand in the future by reducing the time needed for border clearance, strengthening border security and bringing New Zealand's border controls into line with international best practices. The IVL is charged alongside NZeTA fees. Learn who it applies to and how to get it.

Information about NZTeA(external link) — Immigration New Zealand

Where the IVL is spent

The IVL is a change in the way we invest in tourism in New Zealand. Its aim is long-term, significant change to the way the tourism system works.

The investment priorities for the IVL are guided by the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy and DOC Visitor and Heritage Strategy.

New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy [PDF, 1.1 MB]

The investment priorities are spilt between conservation and tourism, with four pillars to help shape and guide the investment plan priorities. They are:



Investment plan priorities

Conservation: 50% of the IVL

Biodiversity: 35 to 40% of the IVL

Increasing species management

Investing in regional and community partnerships

Protecting of sensitive and ecologically valuable landscapes

Implementing supplementary actions of the National Policy Statement – Indigenous Biodiversity (NPS-IB)

Responding to visitor pressure on conservation and the environment: 10 to 15% of the IVL

Understanding environmental carrying capacity and developing more effective regulatory tools for managing visitor impacts

Enhancing and protecting biodiversity, cultural heritage and visitor safety

Protecting biodiversity through improved destination management

Protecting endangered species from smuggling and ensuring businesses operate within the rules on conservation lands and waters


Tourism Strategic Infrastructure: 40 to 45% of the IVL

National solutions of infrastructure issues

Destination Management planning and investment

Tourism System Capability: 5 to 10% of the IVL

Industry data and insights

Workforce and skills

Read more about the IVL Investment Priorities [PDF, 172 KB]

The IVL Advisory Group helps guide investment decisions. Its members have expertise covering conservation, local government, tourism and Māori perspectives. It works with MBIE and the Department of Conservation to set out the range of programmes for investment.

The Ministers of Tourism, Conservation, and Finance,appr ove the investment programme, with MBIE and DOC making the final funding decisions on individual projects in line with the IVL Investment Plan.

More information on the projects that have been funded through the IVL.

Documents relating to the IVL and NZeTA

Legislation and regulations

Cabinet approved changes to regulations needed to introduce the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).

This process was supported by a number of briefings and decisions which have been proactively released.

These proactively released papers have supported the process of amending the Immigration Act 2009 and regulations

View the proactively release papers(external link)

Establishment and consultation

MBIE has previously released all the substantive material in the development of both the NZeTA and the IVL.

View all the related documents in our document library(external link)

Last updated: 23 July 2021