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COVID-19 Immigration update effective from 14th September 2020

Please note the following latest Immigration updates effective from 14th Sep 2020:

a. Individuals who are in New Zealand and are genuinely unable to depart as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may be granted a visitor visa.

b. Applications lodged under these instructions must be made online using the electronic form provided on the Immigration website.

c. To be granted a visitor visa applicants must:

  1. be in New Zealand; and

  2. meet the requirement to be a bona fide applicant ; and

  3. meet character requirements

  4. provide evidence to establish that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic they are unable to depart New Zealand, as per (e) and (f) below.

Note: A person may apply for and be granted a visa multiple times under these instructions provided they can demonstrate they continue to meet the applicable requirements, including establishing that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic they are unable to depart New Zealand.

d. Applicants do not need to meet the following visitor visa requirements:

  1. funds and onward travel requirements; and

  2. health requirement; and

  3. length of maximum permitted stay

e. Applicants must satisfy an immigration officer that they are genuinely unable to depart New Zealand due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence may include, but is not limited to:

  1. Evidence of border or transit route closures demonstrating an inability to return to their home country;

  2. Evidence of cancelled flights or travel arrangements;

  3. Correspondence with an applicant’s embassy or consulate asking for repatriation assistance and demonstrating an inability to return to their home country;

  4. A written statement explaining why the applicant is unable to return home.

f. In any subsequent applications under these instructions, an applicant must provide evidence to show the steps they undertook to leave New Zealand while holding their previous visitor visa (granted under these instructions), and why they remain genuinely unable to depart.

g. An immigration officer may decline an application where they are not satisfied that a person is genuinely unable to depart New Zealand as a result of COVID-19.

h. A visitor visa under these instructions:

  1. may be granted for a maximum of two months;

  2. will not include travel conditions; and

  3. will be subject to the condition that the visa holder must not work.

Source: Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment. (2020). Amendments to the to the Immigration New Zealand Operational manual. Immigration New Zealand Operational Manual: Amendment Circular No. 2020-34

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