From November travellers will no longer need to fill out departure cards when leaving the country.

The exact date departure cards will be removed has not yet been decided.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said the removal of departure cards as an official Customs requirement would improve the airport experience for travellers.

"The removal of departure cards will align with international best practice," Lees-Galloway said. "This will improve the experience of all travellers departing New Zealand, enabling a faster and smoother process ahead of the busy holiday period.


"It will also save more than 100,000 hours of time currently spent by travellers completing more than 6.5 million departure cards per year."

Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri said departure cards were no longer needed for their original purpose - accounting for passengers crossing the border.

"We have smarter systems now that capture passenger identity information and travel movement records electronically," Whaitiri said.

"Information captured by the departure cards is now mainly used for statistical purposes. Stats NZ has developed an alternative way to produce migration and tourism statistics, based on actual movements rather than passengers' stated intentions on the departure cards."

Australia removed its departure cards last year. New Zealand is now one of just a handful of countries which still require travellers to fill out such forms.

"This also brings us closer to seamless travel between Australia and New Zealand for the benefit of Trans-Tasman travellers and businesses. Travellers will be able to travel departure card-free on both sides of the Tasman," Lees Galloway said.

Departure cards were introduced in New Zealand in April 1921, with around 132 million cards completed since then.

Earlier in the year Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called departure cards a "bugbear" when talking to a business audience in Sydney.

She made her comment in a speech to about 1000 business people and delegates from the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum, which has long called for their removal.


New Zealand and Australia are each other's biggest source of tourists with 47,000 flights carrying 7 million passengers each year back and forth across the Tasman.

Officials are said to be in early stages of developing a way to remove arrival cards.