The Comprehensive Guide to USA Visa Application Fees for New Zealand Travellers

Exploring the United States as a New Zealander offers an array of vibrant experiences from the bustling streets of New York to the sun-kissed beaches of California. The U.S. is a melting pot of cultures, landscapes, and opportunities that has long attracted visitors from all over the globe, including many from Aotearoa. Before jetting off to enjoy the diverse travel experiences the U.S. has to offer, it’s essential to consider the visa application process and associated fees which are a vital part of your travel preparations.

As a New Zealander, you may be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), allowing you to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) instead of a conventional visa. This not only streamlines your travel preparations but can also be more cost-effective. Here’s what you need to know about the fees associated with obtaining your U.S. travel authorization.

Understanding the ESTA and Visa Application Fees

For New Zealanders, applying for an ESTA is relatively straightforward and more budget-friendly compared to getting a traditional U.S. visa. The ESTA allows you to travel to the U.S. for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days per visit.

Here are the simple steps to apply for your ESTA:

  1. Fill out our easy-to-use online application form. The application takes about 10 minutes. Make sure to have your passport handy.
  2. Submit & Pay for your application. We accept all payment types. PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay & Credit Card.
  3. Get your ESTA emailed to you within 72hrs. We’ll email you your approved travel authorization and that’s it, you’re ready to go!

If you need your ESTA in a hurry, you can choose from our two expedited processing options. Simply select your add-on at checkout.

ESTA Application Fees for New Zealanders

The fee structure for an ESTA is set and includes a processing charge as well as an authorization fee. As of the last update, the total cost is made up of:

  • Processing Fee: This is charged for each ESTA application and is non-refundable, even if your application is not approved.
  • Authorization Fee: This fee is only charged if your ESTA is approved. It’s important to note that this is in addition to the processing fee.

The combined fee is competitively priced when compared to traditional visa costs and our payment system is designed to accept a variety of methods for your convenience.

Comparing Costs: ESTA vs. Traditional U.S. Visa

For a longer stay or if your purpose of travel doesn’t fall under the categories allowed by an ESTA, you may need to apply for a traditional U.S. visa. Visa application fees can vary depending on the visa type, and they generally tend to be higher than the ESTA fee.

The fees for different U.S. visas such as tourist, work or student visas consist of additional types of costs including:

  • Application Fee: Required for most visa applications, also known as the MRV fee.
  • Issuance Fee: May apply depending on the reciprocity agreement between the U.S. and New Zealand.
  • SEVIS Fee: Pertinent for applicants of certain student and exchange visitor visas.

The comprehensive fee schedule can be found on various U.S. visa information platforms and can provide a detailed breakdown of the costs involved.

Benefits of Choosing an ESTA for New Zealanders

Applying for an ESTA offers several advantages for New Zealand citizens:

  • Cost Savings: Generally, the ESTA is much more affordable than a standard U.S. visa.
  • Online Application: The process is entirely online, negating the need for an in-person consulate or embassy visit unless your case requires further clarification.
  • Quick Processing: ESTA applications are typically processed within 72 hours, though expedited options are available if you need it quicker.
  • Multiple Entries: Approved ESTAs are valid for 2 years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first, and allow multiple entries into the U.S.

To determine if you are eligible for the VWP, please refer to our article on VWP Countries.

FAQs on US Visa Application Fees for New Zealanders

What if my ESTA application is denied?

If your ESTA application is denied, the processing fee is still non-refundable. However, you can apply for a traditional U.S. visa instead, where you’ll have an opportunity to provide further details regarding your application.

Is the ESTA fee refundable if I cancel my trip?

Once an ESTA is approved, the fee is not refundable, even if you decide not to travel or your plans change.

How long before my trip should I apply for an ESTA?

It’s recommended to apply for your ESTA as soon as you start planning your trip to the United States. Even though an ESTA can be obtained relatively quickly, having it sorted in advance means one less thing to worry about as your travel dates approach.


The ease and affordability of the ESTA process make it a compelling option for New Zealand travelers. With a fast application process and lower fees compared to traditional visas, it’s an efficient way to ensure you’re ready for your U.S. adventure. Remember that while the cost might be a practical consideration, the memories and experiences awaiting you in the United States are truly priceless.

Planning your journey should be an exciting part of the adventure. With our user-friendly application process and responsive customer service, we aim to make acquiring your travel authorization as simple and stress-free as possible.

Should you have any further questions about the process or need assistance with your application, we’re here to help. Safe travels, and we look forward to welcoming you to the United States.

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