On Thursday evening I flew to New Zealand.
I arrived on Saturday morning due to time changes + the amount of time in the air (almost 13 hours).
For this blog post I thought I would tell you about my experience with Customs & Immigration — including my new Global Entry membership as well as which visa I am on here in NZ!
I applied for the Global Entry program back in February.
The program, run by the U.S. Customs & Border Protection agency “allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States”, according to it’s website.
Applicants “undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment”.
The benefits of using Global Entry include…
- shorter waiting times at both major American airports as well as many International airports as well
- TSA PreCheck eligibility (cutting the line at security!)
Basically, you’ll spend approximately 30 minutes and $100 on the application, and if you travel often it is something you should consider looking into.
The membership will last me five years, and being that I’ll be traveling internationally often, I personally feel that it is very worth it!
In order to be fully approved, first, I had to await the acceptance of my online application. I was then told I had to schedule an interview at my nearest enrollment center, which happened to be at the LAX airport.
The interview was very simple and to the point. I met with a U.S. Customs Border Patrol agent who asked me questions about my traveling habits, if I had a criminal record, etc.
After only 15 or so minutes I was told I had been approved and could immediately begin using my Global Entry membership!
NEW ZEALAND WORKING HOLIDAY VISA
Now, on to another immigration matter!
In order to live and work in New Zealand I am using a special visa, which is referred to as the Working Holiday scheme.
The rules of the visa vary, depending on where you are from.
But for Americans, you can apply for this visa if you are between the ages of 18 and 30. It will last me 12 months and allows me to do any work that I would like, as long as I abide by universal New Zealand employment laws.
The application ended up being absolutely FREE! And I was approved in less than a week!
It went in to effect the day I arrived and will last for 365 days.
When I arrived at the airport in New Zealand I only had to show my passport to the NZ Customs officer. I had copies of my work visa & proof of the amount of money I have (in order to show that I can support myself until I find a job and can afford a return ticket at the end of my visa’s covered amount of time).
The entire process (of getting and using a visa) was incredibly simple and straight forward. Moving internationally – not so much. But I can get into that in another upcoming post.
I’m a tiny bit behind on my daily blogging challenge, which defeats the purpose, I know!
But I have been so so busy the last few days. Trying to catch up now!
Cheers from NZ,
Alexa & James