Update – Border closure & exceptional circumstances

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Update – Border closure & exceptional circumstances

– 03 April 2020

Border Closure

As with many other nations around the world, New Zealand closed its borders hoping to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases in the country as much as possible.  The only means of entry into New Zealand currently is if you are a citizen or permanent resident returning to New Zealand from overseas.  Details of who may travel into New Zealand during this closure can be found on our earlier blog, New Zealand’s borders are now closed and on Immigration New Zealand’s website.

Since then, Immigration New Zealand has provided further instructions for Australian citizens or permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand.  Australian citizens and permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand can return to New Zealand by making a request to travel. You can make a request using the online application form here.

Exceptional Circumstances

If you do not meet the criteria for travel during the border closure, you may be able to make an application for an exception.  The application form is the same as those for Australian citizens or permanent residents that normally reside in New Zealand above. You can make an application for travel to New Zealand for one of the following reasons:

1)    Essential health worker. You can view a list of these occupations here; or

2)   Other essential worker; or

3)   Tongan or Samoan national requiring essential travel to New Zealand; or

4)   Partner or dependent child of student or work visa holder; or

5)   Partner or dependent child of a New Zealand citizen or resident; or

6)   Humanitarian reasons.

Essential Health and Other workers – The Government will review and determine what constitutes an essential worker as the situation develops. Currently, essential workers are limited to workers who are involved in maintaining critical infrastructure or are critical in delivering a response to COVID-19. For more information, you can visit the New Zealand Government website on COVID-19 and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website for updates and details of essential businesses. 

Partners and Dependent children – Exceptions for partners or dependent children who already hold a work, student or visitor visa and normally live in New Zealand. Your New Zealand partner or parent must already be inside New Zealand when the application is made (the applicant is outside New Zealand while the supporting partner or parent is in New Zealand). 

Tongan or Samoan National – This exception is only for citizens of Samoa and Tonga making essential travel to New Zealand. It does not apply to their partners or dependent children. Any family member must have their own critical purpose for travelling to New Zealand.

Humanitarian – Factors that Immigration New Zealand officers will consider in regard to humanitarian reasons include:

1)   The person’s connection to New Zealand and to the place they are currently located; and

2)   Whether New Zealand is their primary place of residence, and for how long they have been away from New Zealand; and

3)   Other options available to the person; and

4)   The impact of not giving an exception; and

5)   Whether the Ministry of Health or a District Health Board supports the provision of any medical treatment that may be required*.

*Where medical treatment is required or likely, support from the ministry of Health or a District Health board will normally be required.

After submitting the form, Immigration New Zealand will assess the information you have provided and, if they approve that you meet the grounds for exception, issue you with an Invitation to Apply. Determining if you qualify for an exception is at the sole discretion of Immigration New Zealand. For further information on the border closure and exceptions, please refer to the Immigration New Zealand website.

We have taken care to ensure that the information given is accurate, however it is intended for general guidance only and should not be relied upon in individual cases. Professional advice should be always be sought before any decision or action is taken as Immigration New Zealand’s instructions change on a regular basis.