After many months of discussions on the process to follow, Immigration New Zealand is agreeing to refund visa application fees for temporary visa applications that cannot be processed due to New Zealand’s border restrictions.
A much needed measure that will see thousands of people refunded their visa fees
Applications to be lapsed or returned, and refunded
If you applied for a temporary visa from offshore (outside New Zealand) before 10 August 2020 your application will be lapsed and the visa fees refunded.
INZ will also refund and return temporary visa applications received from people outside New Zealand after 10 August 2020.
An estimated 50,000 applications are eligible to be refunded, so we expect the process to take some time as Immigration New Zealand is working through the list of eligible applicants.
What do I need to do to get my visa fees refunded?
Immigration New Zealand will contact applicants or their representatives (such as licensed immigration advisers or lawyers) automatically as they make their way through the list. You do not have to ask for the refund.
Which application are eligible for a refund?
The vast majority of applications eligible for a refund are visitor, student and work visa applications.
The following criteria apply: the application must
- be for a temporary entry visa
- have been made by a person outside New Zealand
- have been made before 10 August 2020
- not be an application to be excluded from being lapsed.
Which applications are not eligible for a refund?
Applications who cannot be lapsed or refunded include:
- Applications made from a COVID-19 quarantine free travel zone where you have notified INZ in writing before 30 June 2021 that you are still in a COVID-19 quarantine free travel zone, and want your application to be processed.
- Applications based on a relationship (partner or dependent children) to a New Zealand citizen, residence class visa holder or temporary visa holder.
- Work visa applications under any of the following categories: Post-study work, Work to Residence, Entrepreneur Work Visa Category and Global Impact Visa Categories.
- An application for a work visa to arrange the transfer to, and investment of funds in, New Zealand after your application for residence under the Investor 1 or Investor 2 Category has been approved in principle.
- Applications based on a relationship (partner or dependent children) to a principal applicant with a temporary visa application that is listed above.
Getting the refund
You do not need to do anything: Immigration New Zealand will contact eligible applicants using the contact email address provided in the application, whether the applicant's or their representative.
For applications submitted online, refunds will be paid to the card the original payment was paid from. If the payment was made by a third party on behalf of the applicant, such as a Licensed Immigration Advisor, it is the responsibility of the applicant and their representative to arrange reimbursement of the refund. Immigration New Zealand is not able to mediate between the applicant and their representative.
For those where payment was made more than 12 months ago, applicants will be contacted to complete a refund form and provide a bank account number for the refund to be processed to.
In some cases, you may be asked to complete a refund request form to make sure the refund can be processed.
Will this impact future visa applications?
These refunds and the lapsing of pending visa applications will not adversely impact future visa applications.
If you are currently in New Zealand
Many temporary visa holders in New Zealand saw their visa automatically extended visa a Special Direction, often more than once. If you paid for a subsequent visa application, and your visa was automatically extended, you may have the option to withdraw your application and get a refund. Immigration New Zealand will endeavour to identify and contact these applicants.