Written by Staff Writer
CNN New Zealand
(CNN) — A year from now, New Zealand is all set to radically change its visitor visa procedures, becoming the first country to abolish their current residency requirement for those who choose to travel with the human papillomavirus (HPV).
At the moment, most tourists entering New Zealand by air are required to get a residency visa, meaning a stint in the country is not required.
The nation’s announcement of this change, which is also expected to see their current residency requirement for regular visitors revised to 36 months, comes as part of a wider overhaul of their visa regime.
The decision to align their visa requirements with the US’ is said to coincide with a recent shift in how travelers’ visa processes are handled in the US.
Last year, Visa Waiver Program reforms allowed visitors with existing pre-existing visa requirements to be issued one-year waivers, thus excluding them from current residency requirements.
How will the new rules work?
CNN travel writer, Marc Chen reports on the government’s decision to change the way travel documents are issued.
According to Health Department figures from the latest six-monthly population survey released in 2015, the country saw 63,200 new cases of genital HPV.
According to the New Zealand government, there were 102,600 HPV-positive diagnoses in New Zealand in 2016.
HPV is best known for causing cervical cancer, but it also poses a risk of causing genital warts.
New Zealand’s National Health and Disability Commission said in a statement that those traveling with HPV will need to bring a vaccination against the virus with them, which they will have to take with them for their entire stay.
Tourists who do arrive without the vaccine will only need to notify immigration officials of it if it takes longer than three weeks to arrive.
Sticking with the theme of New Zealand celebrating its diversity, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the relaxation of the rules was made in line with the Global Health Workforce Strategy, which aims to recruit 700,000 new health professionals by 2025.
The move will take effect in 2022, with one further change to be revealed later this year: how to grant residency visas on the basis of business or investment in the country.