NZ Border Restriction: Who can travel to New Zealand or request to enter

New Zealand Travel
  • November 12, 2020

New Zealand has implemented the travel restrictions and borders are closed to stop the spread of COVID-19, yet there are certain exemptions given on who can travel to NZ or request to enter.

Who can come to New Zealand without requesting to travel?

You are allowed to travel to NZ without requesting to travel under the below circumstances:

If you are,

  • A New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • A resident with valid travel conditions, unless you got a resident visa outside New Zealand and you have never used it to travel here
  • A partner or dependent child of a New Zealand citizen or resident, and your visa is based on this relationship
  • A diplomat who holds a post in New Zealand
  • Australian citizens or permanent residents ordinarily resident in New Zealand

Australian citizens and permanent residents who ordinarily reside in NZ can travel to the country, but please note that acceptable evidence is required at airport check-in.

This evidence may include but is not limited to:

  • Government-issued documentation — for example, New Zealand driver license, or evidence of tax residency with Inland Revenue
  • Documentation confirming current employment or approved study in New Zealand
  • Documentation confirming you own or rent property in New Zealand — for example, utility bills, rates notices, lease agreement.
  • Your residency will be verified against your travel history before Immigration New Zealand makes a decision if you are allowed to board your flight.

In case of any doubt whether your circumstances fall within the definition of ordinarily resident, you should lodge a request for assessment prior to your intended departure. There is no charge for this request. Other Australians who are not ordinarily resident in New Zealand may still be able to come to New Zealand under another category.

Other travel must be for a critical purpose

Anyone apart from the above mentioned categories planning to travel to NZ must be coming for a critical purpose and they must request the approval from NZ authority first. Travel must be for a reason that the authority considers critical and is on the critical purpose list.

How to request to travel

If you meet the criteria of critical travel, you must submit an expression of interest using the online request form. If you are traveling to NZ as an ‘other critical worker’, then your employer must do the same for you.

If NZ authority is convinced that you have a critical purpose, you will be invited to apply in one of the below mentioned categories:

  • A Critical Purpose Visitor Visa — if you do not already have a visa — or
  • A variation of your visa conditions if you already have a work or student visa.

In the request for travel, please provide the following information:

  • As much information as possible about the reason you want to travel to New Zealand
  • the full details of any people in New Zealand you are related to
  • the full details your partner or children if they are included in your request to travel.

Once you submit your request

Authority responds to your requests within 2 working days. However, it may take longer depending on the volume and complexity of requests. Requests from employers and agents for approval in principle to bring other critical workers generally take 2 weeks.

If the authority agrees you have a critical purpose to travel, they will send you a link to the form you need to use to apply for a visa or variation of conditions.

You may need to pay a fee

From 10 August 2020, most applicants are charged a fee to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa or Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions. The fee you have to pay may change depending on your country of citizenship and where you are now.

The fee for a Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions is NZD $190.

Managed isolation and quarantine

Travelers to New Zealand from all countries are tested for COVID-19 and a 14-day managed quarantine or isolation is mandatory.

You are legally required to obtain a Managed Isolation Allocation system voucher confirming your place in a managed isolation facility before boarding a flight.

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