26 Jan 2017

New border rules likely for emigrants to US

5:07 pm on 26 January 2017

New Zealanders wanting to live in the US may find it more difficult if US President Donald Trump approves new border rules.

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New Zealanders may find it more difficult to live in the US under proposed new border rules. Photo: AFP

According to a draft executive order before Mr Trump, obtained by the Los Angeles Times and the Huffington Post, the new rules propose suspending the Visa Interview Waiver Programme.

US immigration law expert Ada Echetebu, who is based in Auckland, said if the programme were to be suspended, it would mean any New Zealander trying to obtain or renew a visa to either live or work in the US would need to undergo an in-person interview, likely at the US Consulate General in Auckland.

But she said that anyone wishing to travel on holiday for fewer than 90 days would be unaffected.

The Los Angeles Times earlier reported the US was planning to suspend what it called the visa waiver programme, which would include any visitor to the US, including holidaymakers.

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne said he hoped any new border rules would not penalise New Zealanders.

As of 16 January, New Zealanders need a three-month holiday visa to visit South Africa. To get one on short notice, travellers needed to go to Wellington.

STA Travel NZ manager Steven Green said travel companies were already experiencing a drop in bookings to the African country.

Mr Trump was also considering an order preventing all refugees from entering the US for 120 days.

Correction: This story has been updated from an earlier version which stated New Zealanders visiting America would no longer receive visa waivers under the new rules.

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