The Ultimate Guide for New Zealand Families Applying for a USA Visa

The United States, with its wide array of landscapes, cultural experiences, and opportunities for adventure, has always been a major attraction for travelers from around the globe, including those from New Zealand. Whether it’s the hustle and bustle of cities like New York and Los Angeles, the scenic beauty of national parks, or the sunny beaches in Florida and California, the US offers something for every member of the family. When considering a family trip from New Zealand to the USA, an essential step in the travel planning process is understanding visa requirements.

New Zealanders are among the nationalities that can make use of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows for a more simplified travel authorization process in the form of an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Here, we delve into what New Zealand families need to know when applying for an ESTA to visit the USA.

Understanding ESTA For New Zealand Families

When New Zealand families are looking to visit the US for tourism, business, or while in transit, an ESTA can be the most suitable option for short stays up to 90 days. This travel authorisation is a result of the VWP which facilitates easier travel from certain countries, including VWP countries, to the United States.

Eligibility and Application Process for New Zealanders

New Zealand citizens intending to utilize the ESTA must ensure that each family member, regardless of age, has their own approved travel authorization. To streamline the application process for an entire family, it is recommended to gather all required information and documents beforehand. Here are the steps to apply:

  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 authorisation and that’s it, you’re ready to go!

Keep in mind that approvals for an ESTA can be instantaneous or may take up to 72 hours. Hence, it is advantageous to apply well in advance of your intended travel date. Should you need your ESTA sooner, expedited processing options are available at checkout.

Benefits of ESTA for Family Travel

  • Uniform Application: Rather than going through the lengthy visa application process, an ESTA allows for a unified application for all family members. Applications can be completed online from the comfort of your home.
  • Duration and Multiple Entries: An approved ESTA is generally valid for two years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. During this period, it allows for multiple entries into the US, perfect for families who love to travel.
  • Simplified Process: No need to book an appointment or visit an embassy – the ESTA is completely electronic and linked to your passport.

Travel Tips for New Zealand Families Visiting the USA

  • Make sure each family member’s passport is valid for at least six months beyond the planned period of stay in the United States.
  • Travel insurance is highly recommended to cover any unforeseen events during your trip.
  • Prepare your travel itinerary in advance to ensure you make the most of your stay – the USA is vast and offers a wide range of activities and attractions.
  • Stay informed about US customs and immigration policies to make your entry into the country as smooth as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can New Zealand citizens travel to the US without a visa?

New Zealand citizens are eligible to travel to the US for tourism, business, or while in transit without a visa for stays of 90 days or less under the VWP. An approved ESTA is required for these purposes.

Is it possible to extend the ESTA while in the US?

It is not possible to extend an ESTA. It is valid for two years or until the passport expires, and travelers must leave the US within the 90 days permitted and re-enter if they wish to return.

What should I do if an ESTA application for one of my family members is denied?

If an ESTA application is denied, the family member will need to apply for a visitor visa, such as a B1/B2 visa, through a US Embassy or Consulate.

Can a New Zealand family apply for a single ESTA for the entire family?

No, each family member must have their own ESTA regardless of age. Parents or guardians can apply on behalf of minors.

If my passport expires, what happens to my ESTA?

If your passport expires, the ESTA will also expire. You must have a valid e-passport and apply for a new ESTA with the new passport details.


For New Zealand families planning a US getaway, an ESTA represents a hassle-free way to obtain travel authorization. By staying informed and planning ahead, you can ensure your family’s travel plans are as smooth and enjoyable as possible. With the world-class sights and experiences that await in the US, a trouble-free start to your trip starts with understanding and obtaining your ESTA with ease.

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