Temporary visa suspensions for overseas applicants 

The current suspension of overseas applications for most temporary visas has been extended until February 2021.  


The following offshore temporary entry class visa applications are not affected:  

  • relationship-based visas for partners and dependent children of New Zealand citizens and residents 
  • visas for diplomatic, consular and official staff and accompanying dependants 
  • Antarctic Traveller Visitor visas and Antarctic Work visas 
  • Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Limited visas. 

This measure was introduced on 10 August to prevent applications from those ineligible to enter the country due to current border restrictions.  


The suspension is reviewed by the Government every month. Information for offshore applicants

As you will be aware, processing of visa applications for offshore applicants has been on hold to date. This is because legally INZ is not able to grant a visa to individuals who are unlikely to meet entry requirements.


The bar for being granted an exception to the border restrictions is very high and people who are not New Zealand citizens or residents are unlikely to meet entry requirements as a result of the border restrictions.


INZ are working through options to recommence processing for a limited range of offshore visa applications.


While INZ will not be able to grant any visas while the border restrictions are in place, we are looking to start processing a limited number of offshore applications. This will help reduce the backlog of applications waiting to be processed when the border restrictions are lifted.


We will provide you with a further update on this as soon as decisions are made around what visa categories we will process. This information will be updated on the Immigration NZ website.


What is the legal basis for INZ not processing applications from individuals who are currently offshore?

Under immigration instructions, INZ is unable to grant a visa to any individual who is unlikely to meet entry requirements to New Zealand. With the current border restrictions in place, there are limited people who will meet entry requirements.


I am offshore and have submitted a visa application. What happens with that?

Visa applications that have already been submitted will remain in the processing queue and will be processed as soon as border restrictions are lifted and individuals are likely to meet entry requirements.


Can I still apply for a visa if I am offshore?

Individuals who are offshore are currently still able to make an application. However, most individuals will not meet the strict border exception criteria to be granted entry in New Zealand. Therefore their application is unlikely to be processed at this time.


I have submitted a visa application and made a request for a border exception? Will my visa be processed if I am granted an exception to the border restrictions?

Individuals who are granted a border exception are invited to apply for a visa that best fits their circumstances or to vary their visa conditions if they already have one. However, the bar for being granted an exception to the border restrictions is set high to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of people already in New Zealand.  Individual requests for exceptions to the border restrictions are considered against the strict criteria as set out in immigration instructions