#COVID19: INZ refunding visa applications that cannot be processed due to border restrictions

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To date, New Zealand has only had 2 763 cases of COVID. This is of course due to the country closing its borders early in the pandemic and maintaining strict border restrictions.

Unfortunately, the restrictions also means that it’s impossible for most people from overseas to enter New Zealand.

It is for this reason that Immigration New Zealand now has decided to refund levies and fees for visa applications that cannot be processed and approved.

Eligibility criteria to have your visa application lapsed or returned, and refunded

Immigration New Zealand will mainly refund visitor, students and work visa applications. The following criteria will also apply:

  • You applied for a temporary visas from outside New Zealand before 10 August 2020
    • Your visa application will lapse and you’ll get a refund.
  • You applied for a temporary visa from outside New Zealand after 10 August 2020 when INZ suspended offshore applications
    • Immigration New Zealand will return your visa application and you’ll get a refund.

You do not need to do anything if you’re eligible for a refund. You or your representative will get an email from Immigration New Zealand when INZ is processing your refund.

These visa applications and categories do not qualify for lapsing and refunding

INZ will not lapse and refund the following applications:

  • Applications made from a COVID-19 quarantine free travel zone where you have notified INZ in writing before 30 June 2021 that you are still in a COVID-19 quarantine free travel zone, and want INZ to process your application
  • Applications based on a relationship – partner or dependent children – to a New Zealand citizen, resident class visa holder or temporary visa holder
  • Work visa applications under any of the following categories:
  • Global Impact Visa categories
  • An application for a work visa to arrange the transfer to and investment of funds in New Zealand after your application for residence under the Investor 1 or Investor 2 category has been approved in principle
  • Applications based on a relationship – partner or dependent children – to a principal application with a temporary visa application that is listed above

You can decide how to proceed with your application if you’re in New Zealand with an automatically extended temporary visa

Immigration New Zealand is also going to give applicants whose temporary visas were automatically extended by special direction the choice to withdraw or proceed with their visa applications.

If you fall within this group instead and you choose to withdraw your application, you’ll only get a refund for the application fee. You won’t get a refund for the levies on your application.

As with refunds for overseas applicants, INZ will contact all eligible onshore applicants – it is not necessary to contact INZ yourself.

This is how the refund process will work

According to Immigration New Zealand, there are up to 50,000 eligible visa applications in the system!

INZ is going to process all of these refunds in batches, and contact eligible visa applicants, or their representative, via email over the next few months.

  • If you submitted and paid for your application online: 
    • INZ will refund you credit card
  • Where a third party such a licensed immigration advisor made payment on your behalf:
    • It is your and your representative’s responsibility to arrange reimbursement of the refund. Immigration New Zealand is not able to mediate between you and your representative.
  • For payments made more than 12 months ago:
    • INZ will contact you to complete a refund form and provide a bank account number for the refund
  • For applications submitted through other channels:
    • INZ will contact you to obtain payment details

Please note that Immigration New Zealand may ask you to complete a refund request form in some cases.

Please be patient!

Processing these refunds is going to be a monstrous task for INZ! We urge you to be patient if you qualify for a refund.

In the meantime, contact us to if you’d like to see if you qualify for a visa that has a border exception. Our team can also help with immigration to Australia, so ask us about your options if you’d like to explore your options.

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