Final call for travel departure cards

That last-minute burden of filling out a departure card before taking flight for overseas will be a thing of the past come November, when travellers will no longer need to complete the bothersome documents, say Immigration Minister Iain-Lees Galloway and Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri.

“This will improve the experience of all travellers departing New Zealand, enabling a faster and smoother process ahead of the busy holiday period,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

“It will also save more than 100,000 hours of time currently spent by travellers completing more than 6.5 million departure cards per year.

“The removal of departure cards will align with international best practice. Few other countries have departure cards with the level of detail required by the New Zealand one.

“This also brings us closer to seamless travel between Australia and New Zealand for the benefit of Trans-Tasman travellers and businesses. Travellers will be able to travel departure card-free on both sides of the Tasman. Australia removed their departure card last year.”

Ms Whaitiri says the cards are no longer needed for their original purpose, which was to account for all passengers crossing the New Zealand border.

“We have smarter systems now that capture passenger identity information and travel movement records electronically.

“Information captured by the departure cards is now mainly used for statistical purposes. Stats NZ has developed an alternative way to produce migration and tourism statistics, based on actual movements rather than passengers’ stated intentions on the departure cards” says Meka Whaitiri.

The New Zealand Customs Service will advise passengers of the exact date when these changes will take place closer to the time.

Departure Cards factsheet attached