Update to Border Exemptions

 In immigration, immigration issues


In a welcome move by the Minister for Immigration Mr Kris Faafoi, there have been changes made to the Border exemptions with partners of New Zealanders from visa-waiver countries being the major beneficiaries. This will be very welcome news for New Zealanders looking to reunite with their partners and children.

What does this mean?


Partners of New Zealanders who are citizens of Australia or countries with visa-waivers may if granted a border exemption be automatically be issued with a ‘critical purpose visitor visa’. Children of these partners may also be issued with a ‘critical purpose visitor visa’.

Partners from visa-waiver countries, if granted a border exception, will be invited to apply for a six-month Critical Purpose Visitor visa. Applicants who wish to stay longer in New Zealand, can then apply for a partnership visa or any other type of visa. This reflects the usual immigration policy for citizens of visa waiver countries.

Partners may include dependent children in their request.

All arrivals will be required to spend 14 days in managed isolation and quarantine and agree to the terms of managed isolation and quarantine.

Who does this apply to?


This applies to applicants from Australia and the following ‘visa waiver’ countries.


  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia (citizens only)
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong (residents with HKSAR or British National (Overseas) passports only)
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea (South)
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia (citizens only)
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania (citizens only)
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau (Macau Special Administrative Region passports only)
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Poland
  • Portugal (with the right to live permanently in Portugal)
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan (permanent residents only)
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom (must have the right to reside permanently in the United Kingdom)
  • United States of America (includes USA nationals)
  • Uruguay
  • Vatican City



Upon arrival in New Zealand with a critical purpose visitor visa. Australians are automatically issued with Residency in line with the Closer Economic Relations treaty.


What else is happening?      

Resident visas are usually issued with a timeframe in which to arrive in New Zealand. New residents of New Zealand who are stranded overseas will be given a 12 month extension to the timeframe on their existing visas for their arrival to New Zealand. This will allow those who have gone through the time and expense of applying and succeeding in gaining residence to arrive and settle in New Zealand.

5600 resident visa holders are expected to benefit from it. 

Does it apply to me?

If you are still unsure, please contact Idesi Legal.      

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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