Immigration New Zealand Offshore visa processing update September 2020


Immigration New Zealand has announced that it will process and approve some offshore visa categories. Other categories will be processed, but their approval put on hold pending the border relaxing.

Family of New Zealanders will be heartened by this change; family of temporary visa holders less so…but we are happy to see things go in the right direction.

❓ Which offshore visa categories will be processed to approval?

❗ Partnership and Dependent Child visas (both temporary and residence) where the supporting partner/parent is a New Zealand citizen or resident visa holder.

This includes Culturally Arranged Marriage Visitor Visas, but not General Visitor Visas approved on the basis of the holder’s relationship with their supporter.

Applicants may be approved despite the border closure and may travel to New Zealand without requesting a border exception.

❓ I’m a work/student visa holder, what about my family?

❗ Unfortunately, the above policy only refers to family supported by a New Zealand citizen/resident visa holder. However, we are hopeful that the border will be reopened to all family visas in the coming months.

❓ I come from a visa waiver country, do I still need to get a partnership/dependent child visa to come to New Zealand?

❗ No, you don’t. From early October you will be able to apply for a Critical Purpose border entry exception based on your family relationship. This will result in a 6-month visitor visa, and once onshore you may apply for a different category of visa if needed.

However, if you have already applied for a family-based visa then there is no need to withdraw, as INZ will process the application as above.

Do remember that this only applies for people who are the family of a New Zealander. Family of temporary visa holders are not covered (yet).

❓ Which visas will be processed to pre-approval stage?

❗ ✔️Refugee Family Support (Tiers 1 and 2); ✔️ Migrant Investor 1 and 2 (including EOIs for Investor 2); ✔️Parent Retirement; ✔️Entrepreneur.

These visa categories will reach an “approved in principle” stage and final approval will be subject to checks and updates once the border reopens.

❓ So INZ will process and approve some offshore visas, but can I apply?

❗ You may apply for any resident visa category from offshore as well (though we note that this is unlikely for SMC, since EOI selections are suspended until further notice).

Partnership and Dependent Child Visas (temporary and resident) where the supporting family member is a New Zealand citizen or resident visa holder may also currently apply.

For almost all other temporary visa categories, you must wait until 10 November 2020, at which time the 3-month moratorium on offshore temporary visa applications will expire (unless it is extended)

Based on Instructions released yesterday, Immigration New Zealand will be prioritizing visa applications from partners and dependent children of New Zealand citizens and residence class visa holders submitted under the following categories:

  1. Visitor Visas for partners
  2. Visitor Visas for dependent children
  3. Visitor Visas for children entering NZ for adoption
  4. Visitor Visas for children adopted overseas before their NZ citizenship is confirmed
  5. Visitor Visas under the culturally arranged marriage category
  6. Work visas for partners
  7. Resident visas for partners
  8. Student Visas for dependent children
    This will allow offshore visa processing to resume for the families of New Zealand citizens and residents. If you are approved a visa under any of these categories, you will be allowed to enter NZ without seeking a border exemption.
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