Foreign nationals in New Zealand

Advice for foreign nationals about how to get home, and what to do if you can’t get home.

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 leave New Zealand

  • 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 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 through certain countries. Embassies will be able to help you. 
  • Talk to a travel agent 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 arriving at an airport. Airline staff at airports are very busy trying to assist travellers, so make sure you book your flight before you arrive 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
  • apply 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.

Key updates about visas and travel to New Zealand at Immigration New Zealand (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. 

Financial support for foreign nationals in New Zealand

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