Apply for critical purpose travel

How to complete your application for critical purpose travel.

Visa applications to visit, study and work in New Zealand are now open. Requests for most border exceptions are now closed, except for seafood processing workers.

Bringing workers to New Zealand

Explore your visa options

If you make a request before the relevant exception closes, we will review your request. If you are eligible, we will send you an invitation to apply.

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 hold a work or student visa.

We aim to respond to most requests within 5 working days. 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 to New Zealand may take 2 weeks.

You may need to pay a fee for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa or Variation of Conditions

Most applicants are charged an application fee for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa or Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions. The fee you pay depends on your country of citizenship and where you are now.

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

Fees, decision times and where to apply

Forms for border exceptions

If you have been invited to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa, submit your application using the online form. The form will ask you what type of visitor visa you are applying for. Select Special Category Visitor Visa, then Critical Purpose Visitor Visa.

Apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa

If you have been invited to apply for a Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions, use the online application form.

Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions application

If you have any questions about using the online forms, you can call our contact centre.

Contact us

Other critical workers

If you believe you qualify as an 'other critical worker' contact your employer.

If you are an employer or a supporting agency, you can request to bring workers into New Zealand based on them being ‘other critical workers’. Requests from individual workers will not be considered.

If you believe you qualify as an 'other critical worker' contact your employer. 

Requests for most border exceptions are now closed. Expressions of interest for deep-sea fishing crews closed on 30 October 2022. Requests remain open for seafood processors.

Border exceptions for 'other critical workers'