New Zealand resumes visa processing for some offshore visa applicants

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Immigration New Zealand has made plenty of changes in September to accommodate certain groups of people despite the country’s ongoing border restrictions.

These changes have included visas extensions for certain residents who still find themselves overseas and making it easier for New Zealand employers to hire overseas workers.

The latest change is the decision to start processing and deciding offshore applications for some relationship-based visas and accepting visa applications under selected visa categories.

Relationship-based visas supported by a New Zealander

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) are once again processing some relationship-based visas to reunite families and couples that have separated by the border restrictions. However, a New Zealand citizen or resident has to support the visa.

These visas include the following:

  • Visitor visas for partners
  • Visitor visas for dependent children
  • Visitor visas for children entering New Zealand for adoption
  • Visitor visas for children adopted overseas before their New Zealand citizenship is confirmed
  • Visitor visas under the culturally arranged marriage category
  • Work visas for partners
  • Resident visas for partners
  • Student visas for dependent children

Successful applicants will be exempt from New Zealand border restrictions. There is no need to seek approval from INZ prior to travelling to New Zealand to enter the country.

What happens if your application is unsuccessful?

If Immigration New Zealand determines that your application does not meet the necessary requirements, a general visitor visa may be appropriate.

Should Immigration New Zealand grant you a general visitor visa instead, INZ will place your application on hold until border restrictions allow them to process general visitor visas.

You’ll have 6 months to enter New Zealand

Travel is still severely restricted the world over. Due to this, successful applicants will get a 6-month ‘First Entry Before’ date to allow for more time to secure flights and managed isolation or quarantine in New Zealand.

Application older than 3 months may need updated information

If your visa application is more than three months old when it’s assessed, Immigration New Zealand may need to ask for updated information. For instance, a new chest x-ray certificate.

Immigration New Zealand will notify you or your immigration advisor if updated information is needed.

Offshore applications accepted under selected visa categories

You can now apply for a visa under the following categories if you’re doing so from offshore:

While Immigration New Zealand is going to accept applications for these visas, border restrictions means that INZ cannot grant the visas at the moment. However, INZ has said that they’ll process applications as far as is possible without granting approval.

With that said, your visa application is not guaranteed approval. Immigration New Zealand could still reject your application if you don’t meet the requirements.

Why did Immigration New Zealand decide to accept Entrepreneur and Investor visas?

The answer from Immigration New Zealand is that the Entrepreneur and Investor visa categories attracts around NZ$1 billion in investments each year in addition to valuable business networks.

INZ thus expects that processing these visa categories will support the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and wider government post-COVID-19 recovery plan.

How long will it take to process these applications?

Unfortunately, Immigration New Zealand are not able to prioritise any of the visa applications discussed here. INZ has said that their staff will process applications in the order by which the applications were received.

You can have a look at standard processing times on Immigration New Zealand’s website.

Do you need assistance with your visa application? We can help!

While you don’t have to use an advisor to assist you with your visa application, it is advisable to do so. Especially now when things are changing often!

Our advisors are experienced and all three advisors are also IAA licensed. This means our advisors are authorized to give advice and are held accountable for the advice they give our clients. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

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