Visitor Visas

If you are outside New Zealand:

As at April 2020, temporary general visitor visa applications from outside New Zealand remain suspended until further notice, unless you are exempt. Normally you would not need a visa to enter New Zealand if travelling from a visa-waiver country or if you held a valid New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA).  However, you will now need to obtain a border exemption first.  There have also been extensions granted to existing visitor visa holders who are in New Zealand, and special short-term visa for those unable to leave New Zealand due to Covid-19.   Arrival in New Zealand requires an MIQ voucher  and a negative recognised Covid 19 test  obtained within 72 hours of travel unless you are travelling from a  quarantine free travel zone.

Changes for travellers from Australia

Since the border was closed on 19th March 2020, Australian residents and citizens who would normally have free entry and be deemed to be residents have had to apply for border exceptions.  The only exception to this has been those who are normally resident in New Zealand or are the dependents  return New Zealand residents or citizens.

From 19th April 2020, most Australian citizens and residents  will be able to travel freely to New Zealand without  a border exception or MIQ  voucher .  Others who have been in Australia for more than 14-days but hold valid temporary visas there still need to apply for an appropriate visitor visa or NZeTA  depending on the country of citizenship but will not require an MIQ voucher.

A visitor visa allows entry to New Zealand for a limited period of time, without the right to study, work, or live permanently in New Zealand.  This visa is appropriate for those wanting to travel to New Zealand for a holiday, social or family visitors, or attend a special event.  Visitors will need enough money to support themselves during their stay.

If you wish to visit New Zealand to decide whether it is an ideal destination for you in the future, this would be the best avenue by which to enter New Zealand.  However, care needs to be taken.  Visitor visa applicants must prove that they have strong reasons to return to their home country, sufficient funds during their stay, and their intention is just to visit.

Good general advice is: avoid coming to New Zealand on a short term visitor’s visa if your real intention is to do something else like getting work, getting married, or staying longer. It is tempting to think; “I’ll come on a visitor’s visa and sort the issues out when I get there” but the risk is that Immigration New Zealand thinks you are trying to “trick them” and the consequences of that can be very severe.

If you are in New Zealand:

 In February 2021, visitor visas were automatically extended for 2-months for those who were

  1. In New Zealand on 19th February 2021; and
  2. Held a temporary visitor visa that expired between 19th February 2021 and 31st March 2021 inclusive.

This extension did not apply to Covid-19 short term visitor visas.

Further 6-month visitor visa if a new visitor visa application is lodged before 30th June 2021

 The rule requiring visitor visa holders to be out of New Zealand for 9-months in an 18-month period is waived temporarily, for applications lodged up until 30th June 2021.  If all other requirements for a visitor visa are met, applicants will be eligible for a visitor visa of up to 6-months.

Other requirements include applicants still have enough funds to support themselves, as well has meeting health and character requirements.  Visitor visa holders must lodge an application for any further visa before the end of their current visa, if they wish to remain further in New Zealand.

If you are unable to leave due to Covid-19

A 2-month visitor visa is available to individuals who are genuinely unable to depart New Zealand due to the impacts of Covid-19.  Evidence can include:

  • Home country has closed its borders to returnees
  • Attempts to book travel out of New Zealand
  • A departure date from New Zealand, if booked travel date is after the visa expiry, or
  • Attempts to contact the High Commission, Embassy or Consulate

Partner related visitor visas

The general rule for partnership-based temporary visas is that the couple must live actually under one roof. In late 2019, the Minister of Immigration confirmed that visitor visas were available under general visitor instructions for those who were in genuine relationships  even if they did not yet meet the living together requirement.  This included engagements where for personal or religious reasons the couple had not lived together, arranged marriages not otherwise covered or those who had only been together for a short time. Strong evidence of a genuine and stable relationship is still needed apart from  living under one roof.

Unfortunately, since March 2020 this option is not available for those outside New Zealand applying for partner-based border exceptions.  They must have an existing established partnership where they have been living under one roof.

It is however still available for those in New Zealand who demonstrate a genuine relationship.  Pacific Legal is a recognised leader on partnership visas.  Contact us for advice and assistance.

Parent and Grandparent Visitor Visa

These visa applications from outside New Zealand are currently suspended

 Parents and grandparents can visit family in New Zealand, multiple times on the same visa.  You must be visiting your New Zealand citizen or resident children or grandchildren.  While you are here, you can enjoy New Zealand’s scenery, adventure and culture.

 If granted, you can stay up to 6-months at a time, with a maximum total stay of 18-months in 3-years.

We can help!

Pacific Legal has advised on hundreds of visitor visa applications.   If you are on a visitor visa about to expire and wish to explore other options, or you need to remain further in New Zealand due to Covid-19, be sure to contact us if you need assistance in checking your eligibility.