The New Zealand Government has eased some visa restrictions for visitor visa holders who would like to stay in the country longer while the COVID-19 pandemic is still attacking communities in their home countries. These measures are also to ensure that all migrants are in the country lawfully and are able to support themselves.
What are the new benefits?
- Automatic visa extension by two months for most visitor visa holders
- Temporary waiver of the rule which states that visitor visa holders can only be in New Zealand for nine months out of an 18 month period
Who can be eligible for these benefits?
- Around 12,500 visa holders whose visas expire on or before 31 March 2021 will benefit from the automatic two month visa extension. During that two month extension, which will be applied from the date of expiry on their current visa, they will need to apply for a new visa to stay longer.
However, the extension does not apply to visitors on the special Covid-19 short term two month visitor visa, which was introduced in September last year.
- For those visa holders who have been in New Zealand for more than nine months and who would be excluded from applying for another visitor visa with the previous rule, the new temporary waiver allows them to apply for a further six-month visa.
Applicants with visitor visas expiring after 31 March 2021 won’t be eligible for the automatic two month extension, but they can still apply for a new visa that gives them exemption from the nine months of 18 rule if they apply for their new visa before 30 June 2021 when the temporary waiver will end.
What are the requirements?
All applicants will still need to meet the requirements to be granted a visitor visa:
- Proof that they have enough funds to support themselves in New Zealand (at least NZ $1,000 per month, or NZ $400 per month if they have already paid for accommodation, or have an acceptable sponsor).
- Pay for their travel home at the end of their stay.
What does a visitor visa cost?
The cost of visitor visa applications is NZ $246 per application for one person. This charge includes an immigration levy and the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy of NZ $35.