The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


E-Passport Boosts Security for All New Zealanders


The roll-out of the New Zealand e-passport from tomorrow will ensure New Zealanders continue to have one of the best and most secure passports in the world, the Department of Internal Affairs said today.

The e-passport contains a silicon microchip which links passport holders to a digitised version of their photograph and other biodata already held on the passport. The new passport holds no extra or new personal data about the holder.

David Philp, Passports Manager for the Department of Internal Affairs says the e-passport is one of a range of security initiatives aligned with the redevelopment of New Zealand’s passport system.

“Alongside the introduction of the e-passport we will be replacing the existing passport system which was rolled out in 1992. The new system will provide a higher level of security and processing ability. Over time it will make the passport renewal process simpler for customers,” says David Philp.

He says that the development of New Zealand’s e-passport has involved a good deal of cooperation with other countries introducing e-passports. “Over recent months New Zealand has been participating in an international air crew e-passport trial at Los Angeles International Airport. New Zealand has also worked with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in devising and implementing the international standards for e-passports.”

David Philp says the e-passport will also provide a high level of security for the holder’s personal data. “There will be sophisticated anti-skimming and encryption technology incorporated into the e-passport which will ensure personal data has a very high level of protection.”

The Department says the costs of development of the new passport system and the e-passport will contribute to a fee increase to coincide with the rollout tomorrow. “Passport fees are set on a cost recovery basis and these developments mean there will be an increase in the fee for passports from tomorrow. The fee for an adult passport will increase to $150 and a child’s passport will increase to $80.

“The introduction of the e-passport is a crucial milestone in ensuring New Zealanders continue to have access to one of the best passports in the world with favourable visa arrangements to many countries,” concludes David Philp.

Attached: Questions and Answers

Tony Wallace
Media and Communications Advisor, Department of Internal Affairs
DDI 04 382 3427, Mobile 0274 402 667, e-mail:

    The e-passport is being introduced to further enhance the security of the New Zealand passport and ensure New Zealand meets the requirements for USA “visa waiver” border entry from 26 October 2006.

    All passports issued by Department of Internal Affairs currently meet International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and United States visa waiver requirements.

    New Zealand prides itself on having one of the best passports in the world. These enhancements will strengthen the already good reputation of the New Zealand passport.

    2. What is the benefit of the e-passport?
    Putting the microchip into the passport will:
  • Reinforce the integrity of the passport. The New Zealand passport has the equivalent of an AAA+ international security rating that allows New Zealanders to travel to many other countries through visa-free arrangements. The new requirements will preserve the existing visa waiver arrangement with the USA and if we don’t implement this technology the result is likely to be new and additional visa requirements creeping back in.
  • Ensure that New Zealand has the best opportunity to keep ahead of the increasingly sophisticated international passport fraudsters.
      One of the most common acts of fraud involving passports is the replacement of photos or the passport being used by someone who looks similar to but is not the holder. Over time the e-passport will make it very difficult for someone else to use your passport.

      Another common form of fraud is the manufacture of counterfeit passports. The e-passport is significantly more sophisticated and therefore substantially harder to reproduce.
      3. How is the biometric identifier being added to the passport?
      A chip will be embedded in the passport in a polycarbonate leaf in the back of the book. This chip will carry a digital image (photograph) and the normal passport bio data details of the passport holder. This microchip will enhance security by holding a digitised version of your photograph. It will make it more difficult for fraudsters to use your passport.

      4. What are the new fees for passports?
      Adult’s passport $150
      Child’s passport $80*
      Refugee Travel Document (RTD) $80
      Certificate of Identity (COI) $80
      Urgent fee $150**
      Call out fee $500**

      *A child is defined for fee purposes as a person under the age of 16 years.
      **These fees are additional to the fee for the passport itself.
        5. When is the new fee effective from?
        The new fees are effective from 4 November 2005 as specified in the Passport (Fees) Amendment Regulations 2005.
          6. Why are we introducing the new fee?
          We are introducing the new fee to cover the costs of a range of security enhancements including the new e-passport. The most substantive part of the fee increase will go towards the replacement of the existing issuance system. These security enhancements will ensure New Zealanders have access to one of the best and most secure passports in the world with visa-free arrangements to many countries for $30 per year. All our fees are generally set on a cost recovery basis.
            7. Can I pay less and get a “lower standard” passport?
            No. All New Zealand passports are of the same standard and from 4 November 2005 all applicants will receive an e-passport. There are no different standards of passport, as this would compromise the integrity and reputation of the passport.
              8. Do the new fees apply across the board (i.e. are there any exceptions)?
              The fees apply to everyone. We are unable to apply any exceptions (see question 11 for more detail about application dates).

              9. Why are you starting to issue the e-passport in 2005 if the USA has extended their deadline until 2006?
              New Zealand was well advanced in developing the e-passport when the USA announced the deadline was being extended to 26 October 2006. The Department of Internal Affairs was originally working to a 26 October 2005 deadline and had already progressed the development of the e-passport to an advanced stage. Therefore New Zealand is committed to rolling out the e-passport now.

              While the introduction of the e-passport is currently only a USA requirement it is possible the e-passport will become a requirement for entry to other countries.
                10. Is the fee likely to change again soon? Is there any chance it may be reduced in the near future?
                We review our fees every few years and they are set by regulation to reflect changes in our costs. There are no plans to change our fees again in the near future.

                11. I sent/lodged my application before the new fees came into effect. Will I have to pay the new higher fee?
                If your application was posted to us before the new fees came into effect and is post marked with a date before Friday 4 November then the old fee will apply. If you enclosed the old fee but the new fee is required, we will contact you to arrange payment of the additional fee. If we don’t contact you it is most likely that your application has been processed under the old fee.

                12. Now that the passport fee has increased I am unable to pay the additional cost immediately. What are my options for paying the additional amount?
                You will be notified by letter that your application is short paid.

                When you are in a position to make the additional payment either:
              • Call our Contact Centre on 0800 22 50 50 to provide credit card authorisation; or
              • Post a cheque or money order to PO Box 10-526, Wellington.

                You will be required to make the additional payment within six months of receiving our initial letter notifying your application is short paid. If the required additional payment is not made then you will not be refunded the initial payment made.

                If you think you are unable to make the additional payment within the six-month period we recommend that you advise the Department of Internal Affairs in writing that you wish to withdraw your passport application. You will be refunded your initial payment by cheque.

                13. I submitted my passport application prior to the 4th November 2005 and paid the fee of $71. However, I was notified that I needed to provide additional information/photographs to meet the passport application requirements. I now need my passport application to be processed urgently, what do I have to do?
                You must provide the additional information that was requested, and can upgrade your passport application to an Urgent Service or Callout Service. Because the fees have changed, if you choose to upgrade your application to an Urgent Service you will need to pay an additional $150, if you choose to upgrade your application to a Callout Service you will need to pay an additional $500.

                If you choose not to upgrade your application, it will be processed in the standard time (10 days) once we have received the additional information, so long as this results in a correctly completed application being lodged.