New Zealand Travel Exceptions

21st May 2020

New Zealand borders

The New Zealand border remains closed to all but New Zealand citizens and residents. Despite the country internally decreasing COIVD-19 restrictions, the border closures have not changed.

Travel exceptions

Despite holding a valid temporary visa, if you were outside of New Zealand when the country closed its borders you may not meet the criteria for exemption under the COVID-19 border restrictions. Very few exemptions are being granted for entry, but if you do believe you meet the criteria you need to submit a request here.

If you are granted an exemption to enter New Zealand you will still need a valid visa to enter and may be invited to apply for a visitor visa, or asked to vary your existing visa to allow you to travel.

From 9,201 expressions of interest from people who believe they meet the exemption criteria, only 1,879 have been deemed to meet the criteria and invited to apply for a visa.

Humanitarian exceptions to border closures

One of the exceptions to the ban on travel and entering New Zealand is critical humanitarian travel. This only applies to extreme humanitarian cases, usually regarding urgent matters of life and death.

Relevant factors when INZ consider if humanitarian reasons justify the grant of a visa under these instructions include:

  • the applicant’s connection to New Zealand
  • the applicant’s connection to the place they are currently located
  • whether New Zealand is their primary place of residence, and their period of absence from New Zealand
  • whether the applicant has any alternative options
  • the impact of not granting a visa and entry permission to the applicant
  • whether the Ministry of Health or a District Health Board supports the provision of any medical treatment that may be required by an applicant

New Zealand's exception criteria is very strict, if you believe you may meet the criteria for travel exception you can submit a request here or contact our New Zealand Immigration Director, Arno Nothnagel today.

For the full list of travel exception criteria visit the INZ website.

For any enquiries

Contact one of our registered migration agents today