Perhaps it’s due to our remoteness to the rest of the World, but whether we are travelling for a relaxing holiday, for work, to visit friends and family, or some other reason to take flight, each journey requires one important document – and today it has been announced that the NZ government and cabinet has approved a substantial increase in the New Zealand passport validity from 5 years to 10 years.
This is great news, considering the validity of a passport is 4.5 years for many countries which will not allow entry without six months remaining on a travellers passport, with some exceptions (eg. the United States).
There has been quite a movement calling for change to the validity of the New Zealand passport, with a petition started on change.org about 2 years ago, which gained over 17,500 supporters, and the petition was submitted to the government at the end of 2013.
After news in May 2014 that 10-year passports had been backed by a select committee, and announcements by John Key last month that 10-year passports would be coming in six months, it is great to finally see it come to fruition.
There are a number of countries that have 10 year passports, as shown by the below graphic:
Interestingly the majority of countries have 10-year passports – A full list can be found here.
The new changes are anticipated to take place by the end of 2015 and passports with the new extended validity will cost $180 (an average of $18 a year), as opposed to the current cost of $134.50 (an average of $26.90 a year) to renew a passport with a 5-year validity.
Note that children’s (under 16 years) passports will remain as 5-years due to changes in a child’s appearance.
For those with passports that are coming up for renewal soon, if you can help it, it is probably better to wait until the required law changes to the Passport Act 1992 take place before renewing. Keep an eye on the Department of Internal Affairs’ Passport website for the most current information.
Processing times for applications online appear to be very efficient, I have had many friends have their new passport within days as opposed to the ’10 working days’ stated on the website, however keep in mind that processing time may vary depending on demand.
With the reduced hassle and cost to renew, and the New Zealand passport ranked as 8th on the ‘Passport Power rank’ by the Passport Index, which measures visa-free access to various countries around the World (with 139 countries), New Zealand is really up there with some of the top passports in the World.
Personally, I’m looking forward to being able to collect 10 years’ worth of customs entry stamps in one book 🙂 What do you think of the new upcoming changes?