New Zealand - Consular Information Sheet
April 13, 2000
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: New Zealand is a highly developed,
stable parliamentary democracy which recognizes the British monarch
as sovereign. It has a modern economy, and tourist facilities
are widely available. The New Zealand Tourist Board, which has
a wide range of information of interest to travelers, can be contacted
via the Internet at http://www.newzealandtourism.com.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: U.S. citizens eligible for a visa
waiver do not need a visa for tourist stays of three months or
less. For more information about visa waivers and entry requirements
contact the Embassy of New Zealand, 37 Observatory Circle, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 328-4800, the Embassy’s
home page at http://www.nzemb.org,
or the Consulate General of New Zealand in Los Angeles, telephone
CRIME INFORMATION: Crime in New Zealand is comparatively
low but has increased in recent years. The most prevalent crime
is theft or attempted theft from cars, camper vans and hostels.
To help protect against theft, do not leave passports or other
valuable documents in unattended vehicles. Violent crime against
tourists is unusual.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police, and the nearest U.S. Embassy
or consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State’s
pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad
for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet
is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S.
Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet
or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Quality medical care is widely available,
but waiting lists exist for certain types of treatment. Serious
medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation
to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and
hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas
may face extreme difficulties. Check with your own insurance company
to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provisions
for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made
to the overseas hospital of doctor or whether you will be reimbursed
later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include
coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains
in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies
abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in
the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure
Medical Information for Americans
Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning New Zealand is provided for general reference
only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Good
All traffic travels on the left in New Zealand, and many roads
are only two lanes. Drivers should exercise extra caution if accustomed
to driving on the right. Cars turning left must yield to oncoming
cars turning in the same direction. This is especially important
to remember on two-lane roads. Proceed carefully through intersections
and be wary of drivers who may run yellow and red lights. Drivers
should use caution to avoid animals when driving in rural areas.
Pedestrians are advised to look carefully in all directions before
crossing a street or roadway, and to use crosswalks. Traffic always
yields to the right and pedestrians do not have the right of way
except at crosswalks.
For specific information concerning the operation and rental
of motor vehicles, contact the New Zealand Tourist Board via the
Internet at http://www.newzealandtourism.com
or the Land Transport Safety Authority at http://www.ltsa.govt.nz.
AVIATION OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the government of New Zealand’s civil aviation
authority as category 1 - in compliance with international aviation
standards for oversight of New Zealand’s air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation in the United States at 1-800-322-7873, or visit
the FAA’s Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: New Zealand’s customs authorities
may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation
into or export from New Zealand of certain items, including firearms
and agricultural products. Handguns may not be brought into the
country, and a permit for other firearms must be obtained from
the New Zealand police immediately after arrival. Tourists have
also faced police inquiries as a result of importing or brandishing
toy weapons. The Ministry of Agriculture of New Zealand has stringent
requirements for the entry of food and agricultural products.
Travelers are required to declare any items that come under agricultural
quarantine restrictions as stated on the customs form at the port
of entry. Heavy fines have been levied against those attempting
to bring in undeclared prohibited items. For more information,
contact the New Zealand Customs Service at http://www.customs.govt.nz
and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry at http://www.maf.govt.nz.
It is also advisable to contact the Embassy of New Zealand in
Washington, D.C. at (202) 775-5200, or one of New Zealand’s consulates
in the United States, for specific information regarding customs
New Zealand Customs officials encourage the use of an ATA (Admission
Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission
of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for
exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located
at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of
the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA
Carnet in the United States. For additional information, call
(212) 354-4480, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via their
web site at http://www.uscib.org.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and do not always afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
New Zealand’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested
or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of
illegal drugs in New Zealand are strict, and convicted offenders
can expect jail sentences and fines. Vessels used to import or
convey prohibited drugs are liable to seizure.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: In 1998, a New Zealand court ruled
that Section 21 of the New Zealand Maritime and Transportation
Act of 1994 does not require foreign-flagged pleasure craft to
pass a safety inspection before setting sail from New Zealand.
Nevertheless, New Zealand’s Director of Maritime Safety urges
the owners of such craft to ensure they are adequately equipped
and have sufficient crew for an ocean voyage. In particular, carrying
an Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is recommended.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Some heavily populated parts of
New Zealand are located in an area of very high seismic activity.
Although the probability of a major earthquake occurring during
an individual trip is remote, earthquakes can and will continue
to happen. General information regarding disaster preparedness
is available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov/crisismg.html,
and from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) home
page at http://www.fema.gov.
CHILDREN’S ISSUES: For information on international adoption
of children or international parental child abduction, refer to
our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/U.S. EMBASSY AND CONSULATE GENERAL LOCATIONS:
Americans living in or visiting New Zealand are encouraged to
register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General
in Auckland by mail, phone, fax or in person, where they can obtain
updated information on travel and security.
The U.S. Consulate General in Auckland is located on the fourth
floor, Yorkshire General Building, Corner of Shortland and O’Connell
Streets. The telephone number is (64-9) 303-2724. The fax number
is (64-9) 366-0870. See also the Consulate General home page via
the Internet at http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~amcongen/.
The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Wellington closed
on May 15, 1996. All routine consular services and most emergency
services are provided by the Consulate General in Auckland. The
Embassy only provides emergency consular services to Americans
in or near Wellington. U.S. citizens in the Wellington area experiencing
genuine emergencies such as arrest, serious illness, or life-threatening
accidents may contact the U.S. Embassy in Wellington for assistance.
The U.S. Embassy is located at 29 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon,
Wellington. The telephone number is (64-4) 472-2068. The fax number
is (64-4) 471-2380.
For after-hours emergencies anywhere in New Zealand, a duty officer
can be contacted by telephone. Persons seeking such assistance
after hours may call (64-4) 472-2068; after listening to a brief
recording, the caller may leave a message on the voice mail system,
describing the nature of the emergency and giving a point of contact.
The phone system will automatically call the duty officer in Wellington
or in Auckland, who will listen to the message and take the appropriate
The U.S. Consular Agency in Christchurch closed on April 1, 1995.