At present, the New Zealand border is closed to almost all travellers to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
Managed isolation and quarantine
Any traveller to New Zealand will be tested for COVID-19, and will have to mandatorily undergo a 14-day managed quarantine or isolation. Before you board a flight to New Zealand, you are legally required to obtain a Managed Isolation Allocation system voucher that confirms your allotment to a managed isolation facility. You should understand that a Managed Isolation Allocation system voucher is not a visa.
If you have not yet obtained a voucher confirming your allocation in a managed Isolation facility, please be aware that you will not be able to board your flight to New Zealand.
Who can come to New Zealand without requesting to travel?
The following categories can enter New Zealand without first requesting to travel:
- New Zealand citizens and permanent resident visa holders
- Partners or dependent children of a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, whose visa is based on this relationship
- Diplomats who hold a post in New Zealand
- Australian citizens or permanent residents ordinarily resident in New Zealand.
Resident visa holders
For all other resident visas, travel conditions must be valid in order to enter New Zealand.
For this, your resident visa must have been granted either:
- when you were in New Zealand, or
- when you were offshore, provided you have used it to travel to New Zealand previously, or
- since you previously held a resident visa while in New Zealand.
As a dependent child with a temporary visa you must be younger than 20. You should be younger than 25 if you have a resident visa.
Australian citizens and permanent residents ordinarily resident in New Zealand are allowed to travel to New Zealand.
It is recommended that you check your eligibility before your intended departure through a free ‘request to travel’. Those who attempt to travel to New Zealand without prior approval will need to provide acceptable evidence at the airport at the time of check in, clearly showing that they are ordinarily resident in New Zealand.
During the airport check-in, acceptable evidence required includes (but is not limited to):
- Government-issued documentation — such as a New Zealand driver licence, or evidence of tax residency with Inland Revenue
- Documentation confirming current employment or approved period of study in New Zealand
- Documentation confirming ownership or rental of property in New Zealand — such as utility bills, rates notices, lease agreement.
In all these cases, your residency will be verified against your travel history before Immigration New Zealand decides whether you are to be allowed to board your flight.
All other Australians who are not ordinarily resident in New Zealand might still be allowed to come to New Zealand under a different category.
Any other travel must be for a critical purpose
All other travellers coming to New Zealand must be coming for a critical purpose, which should be approved. Immigration New Zealand must consider that the reason is critical and it should feature in the critical purpose list.
How to request to travel
First submit an expression of interest using the online request form. In case you are coming here as an ‘other critical worker’ then this must be done by your employer.
If Immigration New Zealand agrees you have a critical purpose, you will be invited to apply for either:
- a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa, in case you do not already have a visa, or
- a variation of your visa conditions in case you already have a work or student visa.
In your request you must provide:
- all details about the reason you want to travel to New Zealand
- all details of any people in New Zealand you are related to
- all details of your partner or children if they are included in your request to travel.
It is important that before submitting a request, you should consider the availability of flights to New Zealand. Also take careful note of travel restrictions for any country you may need to transit on the way.
Once you submit your request
Once your request is submitted, you should get a response within 2 working days. This could at times take longer depending on the volume and complexity of requests. Any requests from employers and agents for approval in principle to bring other critical workers generally take 2 weeks to get approved.
If Immigration New Zealand agrees you have a critical purpose to travel, you will be sent a link to the form you need to use to apply for a visa or variation of conditions.
Payment of a fee
Starting 10 August 2020, most applicants are charged a fee to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa or Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions, and this may change depending on your country of citizenship and where you are now. For a Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions, the fee is NZD $190.
Managed Isolation charges
Starting 1 January 2021, new charges for critical workers will come into effect. The new charges will apply to all people entering New Zealand on a critical worker visa from 1 January 2021, irrespective of when the visa was approved.