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As a result of COVID-19, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) suspended the processing of most offshore visa applications until 8 February 2021. This suspension has been further extended.

Processing suspension extended INZ has extended the suspension of offshore visa processing for most temporary visas until May 2021.

Who can still travel? New Zealand citizens/residents with valid travel conditions, Australian citizens and permanent residents ordinarily resident in New Zealand, diplomats, and partners/dependent children of New Zealand citizens or residents provided they hold a visa based on that relationship.

Any other travel must be for a 'critical purpose' and requires a border exception. The key critical purpose exception categories include:

  • Partners of New Zealand citizens/residents with Australian citizenship/residence
  • Partners of New Zealand citizens/residents travelling on a passport from a visa-waiver country
  • Some normally resident work visa holders who have maintained a job or business in New Zealand
  • Critical health workers
  • Some PhD students
  • Some ship and aircraft crew
  • Humanitarian travel
  • Other critical workers

Our advice

Those wanting to submit visa applications from offshore who do not meet the requirements for a border exception and are not covered by one of the circumstances above will need to wait until May 2021 to submit their application.

Some individuals may have already prepared their visa applications to be submitted, on or after 8 February 2021. For these applicants it is important to check that the supporting documentation they have prepared will still be valid in May 2021. For example, new medical certificates must be less than 3 months old and police certificates less than 6 months old at the time an application is submitted.

We would be happy to advise applicants who are unsure of the timeframes for submission, or who just need someone to walk them through the application process.

Our experts

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team.

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