Moving away from its paper arrival card. Travelers to New Zealand will soon complete an online declaration before arrival.

International travelers will rejoice at no longer needing to find a pen onboard, as arrivals to New Zealand will no longer be required to complete a paper arrival card. Introduced last year, the online Traveller Declaration was introduced to ensure through the pandemic that those arriving were adhering to the local government’s pandemic rules. However, the declaration was abandoned in October when all restrictions were lifted.

The declaration will now replace the arrival cards as New Zealand Customs looks to evolve and modernize the experience at the border. The system will be piloted between April and June and is poised to be launched fully by June, replacing the old paper system. Travelers must have completed the declaration before arriving at the border.

Auckland Airport

Photo: ChameleonsEye | Shutterstock

Paper arrival cards will be abolished by June 30

With Customs New Zealand’s plan to abolish the paper arrival cards by the end of June, as noted above, pilot trials will be run to ensure the online portal runs smoothly before a national launch by the end of June. Customs New Zeland commented on its plan:

“Customs NZ is working with other border agencies, including the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Biosecurity New Zealand, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Transport, to modernise our border. This will help travellers move through our airports and improve the safety and security of New Zealand.

“This year, we will be getting feedback from travellers and airlines on new features and improvements to the New Zealand Traveller Declaration, as we get ready for it to be reintroduced.”

Those who frequently travel to New Zealand will release a sigh of relief that the paper cards will be a thing of the past.

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Aircraft on Runway at Auckland Airport

Photo: Auckland Airport

How to complete the declaration online

The declaration is expected to be very similar to those introduced for COVID-19 measures last year. The online portal will ask several questions and provide a QR pass to present at the border. This should be able to be saved in your Apple Wallet / Pass or similar.

Breezing through E-gates

Travelers eligible to access the E-gate system at New Zealand international airports can continue this process without the need to hand in the arrival card. The online declaration will be linked to your passport.

CHC airport

Photo: Christchurch Airport

A work in progress

Officials have stated that they are working with airlines to allow passengers to complete the declaration online while onboard, as not all carriers offer free WiFi. Alternative arrangements are planned for those who do not carry a device or cannot use the online portal.

Sources: Newshub, New Zealand Herald,, Customs New Zealand


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