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Don’t Use Your Passport for ID in NZ: There’s a Much Better Way!

Hospitality New Zealand

Consider getting a Kiwi Access Evidence of Age Card!

When you’re thousands of kilometres away from home, the last thing you need is to lose your passport. Getting it replaced costs time and money. But you may be thinking: “I’m not stupid enough to lose my passport, you patronising backpacker website!” Well, when your passport is one of only three forms of valid ID to prove your age in New Zealand, the risk of losing it suddenly gets a lot higher. Luckily, there is an affordable alternative to proving your age in New Zealand, so you can leave your passport in the safety of your backpack. We’re talking about the Kiwi Access Card!

The Kiwi Access Card, formerly the Hospitality New Zealand 18+ Card or HANZ 18+ Card, is photographic evidence of age card that can be used as evidence that you are 18 years old or older. This means you can use the Kiwi Access Card to purchase alcohol in supermarkets, liquor stores, bars and restaurants.

In New Zealand, without a form of valid ID, you strictly cannot be served alcohol and, in some cases, you may not even be able to enter a bar or nightclub! (And you will be asked, even if you’re 30!) In this article, we’ll go through how to get your Kiwi Access Card, so that you have a safer version of photographic ID to take on nights out with you.

5 Easy ways to keep your passport safe

  • Before your trip to New Zealand, have a couple of copies of your passport in a different part of your backpack to your original one. That way, you have all your passport information making it easier to replace if you lose your passport.
  • Print out a couple of passport-sized photos, again, just in case you lose your passport.
  • Keep your passport out of sight, i.e. your back pocket is not a good place for your passport.
  • Don’t leave valuables on display when you park your car, this attracts thieves and passports are especially valuable to thieves.
  • Get a Kiwi Access Card! More details below.
Flying Kiwi

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The number one rule: don’t carry your passport around!

Like in most countries, it’s essential to carry a form of photographic identification in New Zealand, especially when purchasing alcohol. In New Zealand, there are only three types of ID that you can use to prove your age and purchase alcohol – no exceptions! Any establishment selling alcohol is very strict on this rule, as they could be fined thousands if found serving alcohol to anyone under the age of 18. In some cases, you might not even be able to enter a club if you don’t have the correct ID, even if you intend to only drink soft drinks!

The three forms of photographic ID you can use to prove your age in New Zealand are:

Note that copies of your passport, overseas driver licenses, international driver licenses, student cards, etc. will not be accepted as proof of age. Don’t even try!

Hospitality New Zealand

Why get a Kiwi Access Card?

If you are reading this, it is likely that you don’t want to risk losing your passport. Although it is literally the only form of valid ID you will have to prove your age when arriving in New Zealand, it doesn’t have to remain like that for long. Purchasing a Kiwi Access Card is a quick and painless process which results in having an alternative form of photographic ID that would have very little consequence if you lost it.

So what are the benefits of getting a Kiwi Access Card?
  • You don’t have to take your passport out with you
  • It’s a credit-card-sized card which will fit right into your wallet!
  • The Kiwi Access Card is the most affordable ID to purchase in New Zealand: only NZ$55!
  • It makes a great souvenir!

We recommend getting a Kiwi Access Card if you intend to stay in New Zealand for three months or more.

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How to apply for a Kiwi Access Card

Simple! Either download and print out a Kiwi Access Card Application Form from the Kiwi Access Card website, or pick up a Kiwi Access Card Application Form from any participating New Zealand PostShop. Find a list of participating New Zealand PostShops on the Kiwi Access Card website under ‘where to apply’.

To complete the application form, you will need:

  • A passport-sized photograph
  • A proof of address
  • Your passport (If you don’t have your passport, you can still apply – Check section 5.1 of the application form for a full list of accepted ID and documents).

Fill out all the information requested on the application form. For a more comprehensive guide to filling out the Kiwi Access Card application, check out How to Get an ID Card in New Zealand or check out the Kiwi Access Card website.

Take your completed form, passport, photograph, proof of address and the NZ$55 fee to a participating NZ Post store for the application to be processed. The NZ Post shop will need to see your original ID and documents, but will not need to send these away to process your application. Keep the receipt they give you safe until you receive your Kiwi Access Card. You should receive your card through the post in about two weeks. (Remember, hostels can often receive mail for you, but ask them first!)

Note that the current and previous versions of the 18+ Card, used before the introduction of the Kiwi Access Card, remain valid for 10 years from the date of issue.

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What to do if you lose your passport

Oh dear, you have lost your passport already? If you lose your passport in New Zealand, contact your country’s embassy immediately. Each embassy has a different process on replacing your passport, but in most cases, your passport will be declared as stolen, which means getting the New Zealand Police involved. Then you have the whole process of applying for a passport all over again, which is processed overseas which usually takes a significant amount of time and money.

You are able to apply for a Kiwi Access Card without a Passport, however, you will require an alternative form of identification and someone to fill out an identifier statement for you. Acceptable forms of alternative IDs and the different process involved is explained in section 5.1 of the application form. Information on applying via this method can be found in How to Get an ID Card in New Zealand.

More information about identification in New Zealand

18+ ID Card
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