In order to help those stuck in New Zealand on temporary visitor visas, Immigration New Zealand has recently announced two key changes to its visitor visa system.
Visitor visas extended
Visitor visa holders who are currently in New Zealand with visas due to expire between 4 September and the end of October will have their visas extended by five months. However, the following visitor visa categories will not be extended:
- Critical purpose visa holders;
- Guardians of students; and
- Partners or dependants linked to a work visa holder, whose visa was previously extended.
Introduction of new visitor visa
A new visitor visa will be introduced with the purpose of granting more time for migrants stuck in New Zealand to arrange their travel home.
The COVID-19 short-term visitor visa may be applied for from mid-September. Successful applicants will be granted a two month visitor visa. Further details around fees and the application process will be released shortly.
Applicants for this new visa must show:
- They hold a current valid passport;
- They meet character requirements;
- They have a genuine reason for staying in New Zealand; and
- They cannot currently leave New Zealand, but they will at the end of their stay.
Applicants do not have to show that they have enough money, existing travel arrangements, good health or that they have met any time-limits for how long they are able to stay in New Zealand on a visitor visa.
Eligible visitor visa holders or their advisers will receive an email from Immigration New Zealand confirming their visa extension, by mid-September 2020. If your visa expiry falls within this extension time frame, watch out for an email notification.
Those stranded in New Zealand who are reaching the end of their current visa and do not have any options to renew will be able to apply for a COVID-19 short-term visitor visa, to allow them to remain lawfully in New Zealand while arranging for their departure. To stay up to date with this recently announced visa, please keep an eye out for our ongoing Immigration updates.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.