Passport applications surge after travel bubble to Australia is announced. Photo / Winston Aldworth
Yesterdays’ travel announcement sparked a rush for passport applications from Kiwis eager to jump across the ditch without having to quarantine on their return.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a two-way travel bubble would be active from April 19, in time for Anzac Day and the school holidays. Restrictions will be imposed depending on the severity of future cases, along with a warning that travellers will have to foot the bill if a sudden lockdown occurs and they aren’t able to travel home.
Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs confirmed passport applications were up by 45 per cent yesterday, compared to the prevous week, and online traffic to their web and passport application sites almost tripled.
General manager of services and access Julia Wootton said they were still aiming to issue passports within 10 working days, but eager travellers should plan ahead.
“If you need to renew your passport, check the passports of others living with you too as they may have expired. Passports for families are often ordered together for an upcoming holiday, meaning they will expire at the same time.
“We anticipate about 400,000 passports have expired since the New Zealand border was closed as a result of Covid-19 and we’ve been encouraging New Zealanders to renew their passports so they are ready for international travel when they need or want to head overseas.”
According to the Australian High Commission, there is no requirement for a New Zealand passport to be valid for six months after travel booking dates, so Kiwi adults can use every last month of the ten-year validity.
Online passport applications will be closed this weekend for a maintenance upgrade. It will not affect applications already received.