Immigration NZ Warns Tourists About Scams

This is a summary of news article published at https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/immigration-nz-warning-against-third-party-sites-ripping-off-tourists-buying-electronic-visas/B46IYFWVIZESPDWNJPKKJ6632A/

Immigration NZ warns tourists about fraudulent visa sites, charging up to 15 times more than the official fee of $17 for the NZeTA. Use official website or apps to avoid scams. Contact third-party sites for concerns, not INZ.

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Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is cautioning travellers about unauthorised third-party websites that are scamming tourists who are purchasing electronic visas. The warning comes as the number of international visitors to New Zealand is expected to exceed five million in the upcoming year. The fraudulent websites charge visitors up to 15 times more than the standard fee of $17 for the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) when purchased through the official mobile app. Some victims have reported paying as much as $269 for their visa applications on these deceptive sites.

Peter Elms, INZ national manager border, acknowledged that third-party sites are common for various government agencies. While most third-party sites are legitimate and charge a fee for providing services such as assistance in applying for travel authority, a small percentage of these sites are fraudulent. INZ is aware of the existence of third-party sites for the NZeTA and urges all travellers to use the official government website or mobile app to request their NZeTA to avoid being scammed.

INZ has put in extensive effort to educate travellers on how to apply for the NZeTA using the official INZ website or mobile apps available on the Apple Store or Google Play. The agency has issued specific warnings about avoiding fraudulent third-party websites and has published details of these sites to raise awareness among the public. INZ emphasises that the official cost of an NZeTA is $23 on the website and $17 on the mobile apps. The process is quick, taking only a few minutes to complete. INZ advises travellers not to pay more than the official cost and to ensure they are not deceived into paying extra, as it will not expedite the processing of their NZeTA.

If travellers have concerns about the validity of their NZeTA, they should contact the third-party site from which they purchased it, rather than INZ. INZ is unable to assist in such situations as the transaction is solely between the traveller and the site they used. These fraudulent third-party sites are not new and have been in existence for several years. INZ has previously taken legal action against them, issuing cease and desist letters and successfully getting some of them shut down in 2019.

author headshot Michael Yoon
Last modified on 8 February 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.

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