How the IVL works

Visitors to New Zealand will directly contribute 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, and growth is expected to continue.

Most international visitors applying for a visa to enter New Zealand will be charged a non-refundable levy of $35. This will contribute directly to help protect the natural environment they enjoy, and the infrastructure they use. It will be 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 is expected to raise over $450 million over the first five years, and will help ensure tourism growth is sustainable and continues to enrich New Zealand and New Zealanders.

Projects funded by the IVL will 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 will determine whether a person needs to pay the IVL when they apply for a visa or NZeTA application.

Who will 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
  • People who hold a valid visa they applied for before 1 July 2019
  • 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 be included in the Immigration (Visa, Entry Permission, and Related Matters) Regulations 2010.(external link)

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(external link).

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 will be charged alongside NZeTA fees.

Learn who it applies to and how to get it.(external link)

Where the IVL will be 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 [PDF, 1.1 MB], and DOC Visitor and Heritage Strategy.

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 – 35-40% 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 – 10-15% 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  - 40-45% of the IVL

National solutions of infrastructure issues

Destination Management planning and investment

Tourism System Capability – 5-10% of the IVL

Industry data and insights

Workforce and skills

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

To help guide investment decisions, an Investment Advisory Group, with expertise covering conservation, local government, tourism and Māori perspectives has been established. They will work with MBIE and the Department of Conservation to form an Investment Plan setting out the range of programmes.

The Ministers of Tourism, Conservation and Finance, will approve the Investment Plan, with MBIE and DOC making the final funding decisions on individual projects in line with the Investment Plan.

It’s intended that the Investment Plan will be finalised by October 2019.

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

Documents relating to the IVL and NZeTA

Legislation and regulations

Cabinet has approved the 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 are being proactively released.

These proactively released papers have supported the process of amending the Immigration Act 2009 and regulations(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: 29 January 2020