Immigration Update: Off-shore visa processing suspended until 2022

 In Coronavirus, immigration, immigration issues, Studying in NZ

Immigration Update: Off-shore visa processing suspended until 2022

29 June 2021

Many of the inquiries Idesi legal recieves in the mailbox is requests to come to New Zealand from off-shore, whether it is for work or for visitor or other purposes. But is the unfortunate reality that for many the borders to New Zealand are closed to them as Immigration New Zealand has suspended processing of off-shore applications with few exceptions.

The mandate to defer all off-shore applications has been extended until 06 February 2022.[1]

What are the exceptions?

However it is not a blanket ban and there are exceptions which allow some to come into New Zealand and be issued with visas from off-shore. But it should also be noted those not subject to Covid-19 restrictions (the travel bubble) and those with border exemptions will still have their visas processed from off-shore. 

The exceptions to the bar on border entry are as follows:

  1. Nationally significant travel re-entry
  2. Partners and children of temporary visa holders
  3. Partners and family of New Zealanders
  4. Normally resident work visa holders (provided they left NZ between 01 December 2019 and 09 October 2020).
  5. Critical Health Workers
  6. Other critical workers
  7. Pacific Island Travel (travellers to be nominated by the governments of Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau and Tonga)
  8. Humanitarian Reasons
  9. Students (nominated by education providers)
  10. Ship Crew
How do you apply?

The process from there is that an Invitation to Travel form is submitted. Once this is approved a visa application can be lodged and approval of visas depend on the ordinary visa criteria.

It should be noted that border exemptions are hard to come by. A recent RNZ article confirmed that only 560 border exemption applications have been approved for reuniting families. 11 out of 90 applications for highly skilled temporary workers and 363 out of 609 applications for families of healthcare workers.[2]

It is important that any request for a border exemption be done right for the best chance of success.

If you think you meet any of these exemptions – get advice – contact Idesi Legal.



offshore suspended
At Idesi Legal we provide help for migrants and refugees coming to New Zealand. If you’re a NZ migrant and need help with the immigration process, get in touch.

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