COVID-19 – Coronavirus – Frequently asked questions

Updated 16th April

Are visas still being processed by Immigration New Zealand?

Yes. During the lock down (until 22nd April) however Immigration NZ are only processing prioritised applications.

We are still preparing and lodging applications, which is important to do so. Ensuring your visa applications are lodged with Immigration at earliest opportunity has several benefits:

  • Sooner in the queue means the sooner it will be allocated to an INZ case officer for a decision
  • Your visa will be subject to the immigration NZ rules at the time of visa lodgement. This protects against any future changes made by Immigration NZ

Note that certain categories have been suspended. This includes the ballot registrations for the Samoan Quota and Pacific Access Category, and the 19 capped working holiday scheme arrangements that were due to open in the next six months.

Selections for Expressions of Interest (EOI) in the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and the Parent Category have also been suspended.

My temporary visa is expiring soon, what can I do?

Temporary visas can be extended by INZ. Due to the epidemic management notice, all visas will be extended to 25 September 2020, for people who are currently in New Zealand on 2 April 2020 on a valid temporary entry class visa, if the expiry date in their visa states it expires between 2 April 2020 and 9 July 2020 inclusive. This includes:

  • work visa holders
  • student visa holders
  • visitor visa holders
  • interim visa holders, and
  • limited visa holders.

I am in New Zealand and have a job offer, can I apply for a work visa?

Yes. And if your visitor visa expires before the work visa is approved, you will be given an interim visa in the meantime to allow you to remain in New Zealand lawfully until a decision is made on the new application, or to a maximum of 6 months. Contact us for more information

I am outside of New Zealand and have a job offer, can I apply for a work visa?

Yes you can and again it is important to get this lodged with Immigration NZ at earliest opportunity. There are certain cases for “essential workers” where you will be allowed to travel, however the majority of people will need to wait until the borders re-open before they can travel to NZ. See this page for details

I have just been granted a valid temporary visa but it says i must enter New Zealand within 3 months. What will happen if this date lapses?

Immigration New Zealand is currently looking into this issue.

Travel restrictions and self-isolation requirements

Only New Zealand citizens and New Zealand resident visa holders are allowed into the country as of 19 march 23.59. Some exceptions apply (see here for details). If you are a NZ citizen/resident returning to New Zealand, you must self-isolate (stay at home) for 14 days. The self-isolation adopted by the New Zealand Government is a precautionary measure against the virus and is meant to limit its spread. Many recommendations are common-sense and revolve around limiting contact with other people, other than family members. You should not go out unless necessary and when doing so, avoid contact with others. You should also not be using public transport. Try and work from home if possible or talk to your employer about adapting work.

As general advice, it is not recommended to share eating utensils or other household items, to limit the spread of germs. Washing these with warm water and soap is also recommended, so is washing your hands as often as possible.

What if I am unwell?

You should contact the New Zealand Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (free number) if you are unwell. The symptoms of Coronavirus include cough, fever, and shortness of breath. You should mention that you are in self-isolation, if that is the case.

Any major changes to New Zealand immigration policy as a result of the pandemic?

With regards to general immigration policy as a result of the virus, we do not foresee the government making any drastic changes other than what they have already in the past 6 months. However, the situation changes daily and we will provide updates as we receive them.

Planning for the next step

Use the next few weeks wisely and start preparing for your migration to New Zealand now. Once the borders open there will be a large influx of migrants wanting to move to New Zealand. Get in front of the game to enhance your chances. Ask our team for a migration plan and get an eligibility assessment here.

For current visa holders

I’m a New Zealand resident; can I travel to New Zealand?

Yes.  If you hold a residence visa and this is not your first time travelling to New Zealand on your residence visa you can enter the country. If you are a 'new' resident and have not yet travelled to New Zealand on this visa you will be subject to current travel restrictions

I am an Australian citizen/permanent resident and normally live in New Zealand; can I travel to New Zealand?

Yes, Australian citizens and permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand can travel to New Zealand. However, you will have to make a request to INZ to do so.

I am on a work visa and left New Zealand to holiday/visit family offshore. Can I travel back to New Zealand?

Unfortunately, unless you meet the strict exception criteria, you will not be allowed to travel back.

Will this impact on the validity of my work visa then?

As long as your job is still available, then the visa will remain valid and you will be allowed to travel back to New Zealand when the travel restrictions are lifted (unless you meet the strict criteria to request an exception and travel now).

However, if your job is no longer available, then your work visa is no longer be valid.

I need to renew my work visa but I cannot get the required documentation, what can I do?

Talk to your licensed adviser 🙂 We will have to provide an explanation as to why certain documents cannot be provided. INZ will consider your circumstances and act accordingly. Remember that only essential visa applications (related to COVID-19) are processed currently.

I was granted a visitor visa but cannot travel due to current restrictions. Can my entry date be extended?

INZ is currently looking into this issue.