Foreign nationals in New Zealand

Foreign nationals travelling in New Zealand should consider returning home as soon as they are able to.

How to get home

You can use international air services to travel home. There may, however, be limited commercial options available. 

If you’re unable to secure a ticket, please contact your country’s high commission, embassy or consulate in New Zealand.

Before you head home

  • Check your home country’s border restrictions. You may be required to self-isolate when you get home, so it’s best to check it out now. Embassies will be able to help you find information.
  • Check any stopover country border restrictions. You may find that you are not allowed to transit via certain countries. Embassies will be able to help you.
  • Contact a travel agent to talk about your travel requirements. Even if you did not book your travel through a travel agent, they can let you know what is happening with your flight, or how to book a flight.
  • Check your flights. Use airline and airport websites to check your flight. Airline schedules have been disrupted so check that your flight is going ahead as scheduled.
  • Book a flight before turning up to an airport. Airline staff at airports are very busy trying to assist travellers, so make sure you book your flight before you turn up at the airport. Do not turn up at the airport more than 3 hours before departure.

If you’re unable to return home

Check your visa

We’re sympathetic to individuals who are in New Zealand and unable to return home at the moment.

Employer-assisted temporary work visa

Your employer-assisted temporary work visa is extended by 6 months if you:

  • are in New Zealand, and
  • your visa is due to expire before 31 December 2020.

This includes employer-assisted temporary work visas that:

  • expire after 9 July
  • were previously extended to 25 September under the Epidemic Management Notice.

This extension does not apply to any partner or dependent child who holds a visa based on their relationship with you. Their expiry date will remain the same.

If you were in NZ on 2 April and your visa expired before 9 July

Your work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa was extended to 25 September 2020 if:

  • you were in New Zealand, and
  • your visa had an expiry date between 00:01am, 2 April to 11:59pm 9 July 2020.

This extension was made under the original Epidemic Management Notice. A confirmation of this was emailed to all visa holders.

If your visa expires after 9 July and you’re in NZ

Certain visas have not been extended. This applies if your visa expires after 9 July and you have:

  • an open work visa
  • a student visa
  • a visitor visa
  • a limited visa, or
  • an interim visa.

Your current visa expiry remains the same. You need to:

  • leave the country before your visa expires, or
  • make an application for a new visa

This includes partners or dependent children who hold a visa based on the relationship with an employer-assisted work visa.

For more information:

Other visa changes

Immigration New Zealand has increased its visa processing capacity, and has resumed processing temporary entry and residence visa applications. Visa processing will be prioritised for those already in New Zealand.

The Government has postponed:

  • selections for expressions of interest (EOI) in the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and the Parent Category
  • ballot registrations for the Samoan Quota (SQ) and Pacific Access Category (PAC)
  • 19 capped Working Holiday schemes due to open in the next 6 months.

This is a temporary measure. Immigration New Zealand will continue to reassess and determine when these programmes can resume.

Accommodation for international travellers in New Zealand

The Government is providing support in finding temporary accommodation for people who are:

  • required to self-isolate and are unable to do so in their own homes
  • travellers visiting New Zealand and do not already have suitable self-isolation accommodation arranged.

There’s a cost for temporary accommodation and the Government will work with each individual or household who uses the service on how to meet this cost.

How to get temporary accommodation (external link)

Consular assistance for foreign nationals

If you require assistance, you can contact your embassy, high commission or consular representative.

Find an embassy or foreign representative to New Zealand (external link)

Financial help available to foreign nationals

Help is available for eligible foreign nationals who are experiencing serious financial hardship due to COVID-19. 

Assistance to Foreign Nationals Impacted by COVID-19 Programme — Visitor Care Manaaki Manuhiri

Temporary assistance is available to eligible people to help meet basic needs, such as food and accommodation. Assistance will be paid directly to third parties, such as landlords or power companies, and no cash payments will be made.

If you are in New Zealand on a temporary visa

All classes of temporary visa holders are eligible. These include:

  • visitor visas
  • student visas
  • work visas.

Find out if you are eligible and begin your application by using the COVID-19 financial support tool.

COVID-19 financial support tool

If you are in New Zealand on a Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) visa

Holders of a Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) visa are also eligible.

To be eligible your RSE employer must:

  • be an Immigration New Zealand–registered RSE employer, and
  • have foreign nationals for whom they are required to facilitate accommodation, utilities and food, and
  • have foreign nationals who are no longer earning an income or are earning a reduced income.

If you are on an RSE visa, you should talk to your employer about applying for this assistance. Your employer should call the Red Cross on 0800 733 276 (external link) (choose option 1). 

Red Cross Visitor Care Manaaki Manuhiri (external link)

Last modified: