Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is operating under the same lockdown requirements as all businesses in New Zealand, which means their offices are currently closed. Paper applications cannot be processed at current alert levels. Only the below online visa categories are being processed,
- Border Exceptions,
- Essential Skills work visas,
- Work to Residence visas,
- Partnership visas (temporary and residence),
- Post-study work visas,
- Student visas,
- Visitor visas, and
- Section 61 requests.
Please see below frequently asked questions answered by Immigration New Zealand (INZ)
1. My temporary visa (work, student or visitor) is expiring and I would like to apply for a further temporary visa to remain lawfully in New Zealand. What are my options?
Where possible, applicants are encouraged to apply for a further visa through Immigration Online. During alert level restrictions, INZ is unable to accept or process paper applications.
For a list of online enabled visas, please see: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/our-online-systems/applying-for-a-visa-online/immigration-online
2. I’ve submitted a paper visa application and havent received confirmation that it has been accepted for processing. Will the application be lodged and will I be granted an interim visa?
During alert level restrictions, INZ is unable to accept or process paper applications. Upon returning to offices, INZ staff will lodge applications based on the date the application was received (including back-dating where applicable), if the mandatory lodgement requirements are met. For back-dated applications, interim visas will be granted retrospectively.
3. What happens if my current visa expires and my further application is still in transit / yet to be received by INZ?
During alert level restrictions, INZ is unable to accept or process paper applications. Upon returning to the office, INZ staff will lodge applications based on the date the application was received at the NZ Courier depot (including back-dating where applicable), if the mandatory lodgement requirements are met. For back-dated applications, interim visas will be granted retrospectively.
INZ encourages individuals to apply for a visa online, and we will reconcile applications upon INZ staff returning to offices.
4. Can I still make an application to vary the conditions of my visa?
Currently, Variation of Condition (VOC) requests can only be submitted through an approved submission channel. They cannot be submitted via email.
However, we are working on having an online form available for work visa holders to apply for VOCs for work conditions – this will allow us to continue to process these requests even when staff are unable to work in our offices. This will be communicated widely when a change has been formally made.
Individuals can also contact our Immigration Contact Centre (ICC) to discuss options available.
5. What if I cannot provide a mandatory lodgement requirement (such as a medical certificate) due to alert level restrictions?
Applicants should hold off submitting an application which doesn’t include all mandatory lodgement requirements. However, if it is urgent, applicants are advised to submit an application through Immigration Online where possible, and provide an explanation as to why the document cannot be provided and a timeframe for when they expect to provide it to INZ.
6. I previously held an open work visa and have applied for an employer specific work visa, will my interim visa have work rights?
No, applicants who previously held an open work visa and have subsequently applied for an employer-specific visa (e.g Essential Skills) will be granted an interim with visitor conditions.
If urgent, applicants can submit a request via the Employment Visa Escalations process.
7. Due to alert level restrictions, I am not working or being paid for at least 30 hours a week. Is this a breach of my work visa conditions and will it prevent me from obtaining a further visa with this employer?
If an individual is unable to work or be paid for 30 hours of work because of alert level restrictions, they will not be considered to be breaching their work visa conditions.
8. If part of New Zealand moves to alert level 3 or lower, can INZ resume processing paper applications in that particular location?
Protocols for Alert Level 3, including whether staff can re-enter the office to resume processing priority paper applications, are still being decided. More information on the impact of Alert Level 3 changes will be made available shortly.
9. For visa categories where paper-based applications cannot be processed, can/will a special direction be given to people whose visas are expiring to extend the expiry date instead of requiring them to lodge a Section 61 request?
We are still assessing options for those who hold visas expiring shortly. More information will be available in the coming weeks.
INZ encourages individuals to apply for an online application if possible.