Recently, there have been many reported cases of tourists to New Zealand falling prey to visa scams.
Immigration New Zealand has warned that many are being overcharged by third parties, all in the name of processing new visa applications.
As per reports, many unofficial foreign websites have mushroomed online and are fleecing international tourists contemplating travelling to New Zealand.
Immigration New Zealand has urged tourists to New Zealand to make use of the official websites and apps for applying for the new online visa and paying the international visitor levy.
Reportedly, various unofficial websites have been charging around 10 times more than the regular charges –
NZeTA, to be procured before starting out from the source country, will be required by some transit passengers and visitors who will be travelling to New Zealand without a visa.
On October 1, 2019, NZeTA was made mandatory for visitors from 60 countries that had the visa waiver for New Zealand. You must apply for and successfully procure your NZeTA before you enter New Zealand.
IVL is to be paid by different people – many visitors, certain students and workers, people on working holidays – that will be coming to New Zealand.
Only certain people travelling to New Zealand will be required to pay an IVL. Whether you will have to pay IVL or not will depend on 3 factors of – the visa that you have applied for (that is, if needed by you), your reason for travelling to New Zealand, and the passport that you will be travelling on.
IVL came into force on July 1, 2019. This was levied with the purpose of helping to fund tourism infrastructure and various other conservation projects in New Zealand.
According to Todd McClay, the National Party’s spokesman, people were going to the unofficial websites and apps as the official ones were far too difficult to use.
Further, Todd McClay opines that the government’s official app was “bureaucratic and a hassle for travellers”, requiring each visitor to use it separately, not allowing families applying together to pay the tax in a single transaction.
Stephen Dunstan, Immigration New Zealand (INZ’s) general manager said that there has been witnessed a “growing number of third parties” that were charging travellers for something that they could easily do on their own, that too quickly.
It has also been seen that often such fraud third party websites have similar sounding misleading names akin to the official ones. Promising to expedite the visa application, such third-party websites usually charge a hefty amount for the same, often 10 times the stipulated requirement.
Also, there have been reports of such scammers asking for additional information that is not required.
Always go to the official sources only. Never trust any third-party websites despite whatever claims that they might be making. Do keep in mind that there is no such thing as “expedited processing” where it comes to New Zealand visa.
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