Border restrictions: who can enter New Zealand or request to travel

The New Zealand border is currently closed to almost all travellers to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Only a small number of people can travel to New Zealand, such as New Zealand citizens and people with a critical purpose to travel. You may need to request to travel first.

Who can come to New Zealand without requesting to travel

You can come here without first requesting to travel if you are:

  • a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • a resident with valid travel conditions, unless you got a resident visa outside New Zealand and you have never used it to travel here
  • a partner or dependent child of a New Zealand citizen or resident, and your visa is based on this relationship
  • a diplomat who holds a post in New Zealand.

If you are a dependent child you must be younger than 20 if you have a temporary visa, or younger than 25 if you have a resident visa.

Other travel must be for a critical purpose

Anyone else coming to New Zealand must be coming for a critical purpose and they must request approval from us first. Travel must be for a reason that we think is critical and is on our critical purpose list.

List of critical purpose reasons to travel

How to request to travel

If you think you meet our criteria to travel you must first submit an expression of interest using our online request form. If you are coming here as an 'other critical worker' then your employer must do this for you.

Request for travel to New Zealand

If we agree you have a critical purpose, we will invite you to apply for either:

  • a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa — if you do not already have a visa — or
  • a variation of your visa conditions if you already have a work or student visa.

Provide in your request:

  • as much information as possible about the reason you want to travel to New Zealand
  • the full details of any people in New Zealand you are related to
  • the full details your partner or children if they are included in your request to travel.

Before submitting a request, consider the availability of flights to New Zealand and travel restrictions for any country you may need to transit on the way.

Once you submit your request

We aim to respond to requests within 2 working days. However, it may take longer depending on the volume and complexity of requests. Requests from employers and agents for approval in principle to bring other critical workers generally take 2 weeks.

If we agree you have a critical purpose to travel, we will send you a link to the form you need to use to apply for a visa or variation of conditions.

You may need to pay a fee

From 10 August 2020, most applicants are charged a fee to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa or Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions. The fee you have to pay may change depending on your country of citizenship and where you are now.

Fees, decision times and where to apply

The fee for a Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions is NZD $190.