Apply for critical purpose travel

How to complete your application for critical purpose travel.

Note

The international border is now open. Visitor, work and student visas are open to new applications.

Explore your visa options

Requests for most border exceptions are now closed. Employers in some primary industries will be able to request border exceptions for critical workers until 1 September 2022. Requests remain open for deepwater fishing crew or seafood processors.

Bringing workers to New Zealand

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:

We aim to respond to most requests within 5 working days. However, it may take longer depending on the volume and complexity of requests. Some requests generally take 2 weeks, including requests from employers and agents for approval in principle to bring other critical workers to New Zealand.

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

Most applicants are charged a fee to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa or Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions. The fee you will pay may change depending 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

Partners and dependent children of temporary visa holders who are teachers

This process is now closed to new requests. If you applied on or before 23:59 on 31 July 2022 we will review your request. If you are eligible, we will send you an invitation to apply for an appropriate visa.

To be eligible, you must: 

  • be the partner or dependent child of a temporary visa holder who is in New Zealand at the time the expression of interest is made and is employed in a teaching role.

If your request is successful, you will be invited to apply for a visa.  

Your visa application must include evidence of having lived together in a genuine and stable relationship with the primary visa holder. Evidence can include, but is not limited to:  

  • a description of your partnership, including details of previous shared living arrangements
  • any supporting documentation demonstrating your partnership — including a marriage certificate, a joint bank account, or birth certificates for dependent children
  • travel movements of you and your partner
  • evidence your partner supports your travel to New Zealand
  • any other evidence showing a commitment to a shared life.

Official visits and diplomatic reunions

This process is now closed to new requests. If you applied on or before 23:59 on 31 July 2022 we will review your request. If you are eligible, we will send you an invitation to apply for an appropriate visa.

Official visits from visa-required countries

Up to 200 foreign officials can enter New Zealand, such as Ministers and other Government representatives and their official delegations. To be eligible, you must be nominated by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. If a visa is granted, you can stay for up to 6 months. 

Diplomatic reunions

Up to 25 immediate adult family members from non-visa-waiver countries of diplomats ordinarily resident in New Zealand can apply to enter New Zealand. If a visa is granted, you can stay for up to 12 months.

Partners and dependent children of temporary visa holders 

This process is now closed to new requests. If you applied on or before 23:59 on 31 July 2022 we will review your request. If you are eligible, we will send you an invitation to apply for an appropriate visa.

Partners and dependent children of temporary visa holders who hold a visa, or who are from a visa-waiver country, are able to enter New Zealand. 

Explore your visa options

This border exception is for these three groups:  

  1. Partners and dependent children who held a visa for New Zealand but were unable to join their partner or parent in New Zealand before the border closed.
  2. Partners and dependent children of workers employed in critical health services.
  3. Partners and dependent children of highly-skilled workers.

Dependent children (temporary entry visa)

You may need to meet a minimum income level to support your dependent child’s visa application.

Bringing family if you have a work visa

Partners and dependent children who held a visa before the border closure 

To be eligible to enter New Zealand partners or dependent children outside of New Zealand must:

  • hold a current visa based on their relationship to the person in New Zealand, or
  • have held a relationship-based visa on 19 March 2020 but it has expired because of a ‘first entry’ condition. If they had they entered New Zealand on or before that ‘first entry’ condition their visa would still be current.
Tip

If you have a ‘first entry’ condition on your visa, you will find it on your visa label or eVisa where it says 'You must arrive in New Zealand before DD MM YYYY'

The partner or parent must be in New Zealand at the time the expression of interest is made, and have 12 months or more remaining on their work or student visa when the request to travel is submitted. 

Partners and dependent children of workers employed in critical health services

To be eligible, you must: 

  • be the partner or dependent child of a person who is in New Zealand on a temporary visa.

The person in New Zealand must: 

  • be in New Zealand at the time the expression of interest is made, and
  • be working in an occupation needed to deliver critical health services in New Zealand.

The occupation on the primary visa holder's visa label or eVisa must match a critical health service. 

Critical health services

If your request is successful, you will be invited to apply for a visa.  

Your visa application must include, evidence of having lived together in a genuine and stable relationship with the primary visa holder. Evidence can include, but is not limited to:  

  • a description of your partnership, including details of previous shared living arrangements
  • any supporting documentation demonstrating your partnership — including a marriage certificate, a joint bank account, or birth certificates for dependent children
  • travel movements of you and your partner
  • evidence your partner supports your travel to New Zealand
  • any other evidence showing a commitment to a shared life.

Partners and dependent children of highly-skilled workers 

To be eligible to enter New Zealand, you must be the partner or dependent child of a person who is in New Zealand on a temporary visa.

The person in New Zealand must: 

  • be in New Zealand at the time the expression of interest is made, and
  • hold a visa that is valid for 12 months or more after the date the request to travel is submitted.

They must also earn at least 1.5 times the NZ median salary, or NZD $84,240 a year, or work in a role that is essential to complete a science programme or government approved project, event, programme or agreement.

The person in New Zealand must also meet one or more of the following to be considered ‘highly-skilled’:

  • they have a role essential for the completion or continuation of a science programme under a government funded or partially government-funded contract, including research and development exchanges and partnerships, and have the support of the Science, Innovation and International Branch at MBIE to carry out this work
  • A role essential for the delivery or execution of one of the following:
    • an approved major infrastructure project, or a government approved event or a major government approved programme
    • an approved government-to-government agreement
    • work with a significant wider benefit to the national or regional economy.

Events, projects and programmes approved for other critical workers

If your request is successful, you will be invited to apply for a visa. Your visa application must provide evidence of having lived together in a genuine and stable relationship with your partner or parent who is in New Zealand. This evidence can include, but is not limited to:  

  • a description of your partnership, including details of previous shared living arrangements
  • any supporting documentation demonstrating your relationship — including marriage certificate or joint bank account, birth certificates for dependent children
  • travel movements of you and your partner or parent
  • evidence your partner supports your travel to New Zealand
  • any other evidence showing a commitment to a shared life.

Partners and family

This process is now closed to new requests. If you applied on or before 23:59 on 31 July 2022 we will review your request. If you are eligible, we will send you an invitation to apply for an appropriate visa.

Immigration New Zealand is now open to partner or dependent child visa applications. You can apply for a visa without requesting an exception first.

Explore your visa options

Partners from visa-waiver countries

Family members of temporary visa holders who are from a visa-waiver country able to enter New Zealand.

If you hold a passport from a country on the visa-waiver countries list, and either are or have been living together in a genuine and stable relationship with a New Zealand citizen or resident, you can make a Request to Travel to New Zealand based on this relationship. You may include dependent children. If your request to travel is approved, you will be invited to apply for a visitor visa to travel to New Zealand. 

You will need to meet all the requirements of this visa. If this visa is approved, you will be granted a visitor visa for up to 6 months and can travel to New Zealand.

In your visa application, you will be asked to upload evidence of your relationship to your partner. This evidence can include, but is not limited to: 

  • a description of your partnership, including details of previous shared living arrangements.
  • any supporting documentation that demonstrates your partnership (including marriage certificate or joint bank account)
  • travel movements of you and your New Zealand partner
  • evidence your New Zealand partner supports your travel to New Zealand
  • any other evidence showing a commitment to a shared life

Visa waiver countries and territories

Critical health workers

This process is now closed to new requests. If you applied on or before 23:59 on 31 July 2022 we will review your request. If you are eligible, we will send you an invitation to apply for an appropriate visa.

You will need to be a current or new health or disability worker in a role needed to deliver critical services in New Zealand.

Critical health and disability workers are:

  • registered health practitioners as set out in the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003
    Responsible authorities under the Act | Ministry of Health
  • internationally qualified nurses who:
    • are invited to come to New Zealand by the Nursing Council of New Zealand, and
    • are enrolled in a Competence Assessment Programme
  • a worker that installs, operates or maintains medical equipment
  • paramedics and ambulance workers (including air and road)
  • technical and support staff working in:
    • theatre
    • laboratory
    • radiology
    • pharmacy services
    • cardiology blood service
    • nuclear medicine
    • oncology
    • haematology
    • pathology
    • hyperbaric medicine
    • mortuary
    • research staff
  • workers delivering mental health and addictions services, aged care, respite, home care and support, child health, palliative and hospice care, forensic health, and disability support,
  • Physician Associates.
NOTE

This does not include roles that are indirectly related to the provision of health and disability services, or corporate functions such as human resources, office administration or property maintenance.

You may need to provide evidence of your qualifications or registration.

If you have a partner or dependent children, you can also include them in the request. You must be able to prove you are living together in a genuine and stable relationship with your partner.

Critical health and disability workers may work in:

  • a District Health Board
  • the New Zealand Blood Service
  • a hospice or palliative care
  • a primary care practice such as urgent care or a medical or healthcare centre
  • an aged residential care, respite or continuing care facility, including care in a person’s home or community facility
  • a government or Non-Government Organisation delivering health and disability services
  • organisations that provide, operate and maintain medical equipment
  • private employers delivering health and disability services.

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. Some primary sector exceptions remain open until 1 September 2022. Requests are not yet closing for deepwater fishing crew or seafood processors.

Border exceptions for 'other critical workers'

Travel to and from Pacific Islands

This process is now closed to new requests. If you applied on or before 23:59 on 31 July 2022 we will review your request. If you are eligible, we will send you an invitation to apply for an appropriate visa.

Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu essential travel

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will assess essential travel requests from governments of Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu.

Nominated travellers undertaking key activities will use existing Immigration New Zealand processes to request travel to New Zealand.

Citizens of Samoa and Tonga

You may be invited to apply if:

  • you are making essential travel to New Zealand, and
  • your government has received agreement from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to let you travel.

Any family member requesting to travel must have their own critical purpose for travelling to New Zealand.

Entry for students

This process is now closed to new requests. If you applied on or before 23:59 on 31 July 2022 we will review your request. If you are eligible, we will send you an invitation to apply for an appropriate visa.

Students could request to travel to New Zealand if they were eligible for a border exception and they were nominated by their education provider and the Ministry of Education.

Up to 250 Pacific Manaaki Scholars who have been nominated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade could also request to travel to New Zealand. 

Family members of nominated students and scholars could be included in requests, in line with current visa requirements.

You want to study in New Zealand

Ship crew

This process is now closed to new requests. If you applied on or before 23:59 on 31 July 2022 we will review your request. If you are eligible, we will send you an invitation to apply for an appropriate visa.

Ship crew arriving by air

This information is for ship crew who submitted a request to travel before 23:59 on 31 July 2022. If you are replacement commercial ship crew, you could request to travel to New Zealand by air to join a commercial ship soon departing New Zealand. You needed to make the request, not your employer.

We may ask you for:

  • a copy of a seaman’s book with evidence you are a crew member on the ship
  • correspondence from the ship owner, authorised agent or employer of crew detailing your role on the ship and intended crew replacement dates
  • correspondence from the New Zealand-based shipping agent confirming the crew movements and arrival and departure dates of the ship.

Health guidelines for maritime sector | Ministry of Health

Ship crew arriving by sea

Ship owners, authorised agents and employers of crew could submit a request for foreign crew to travel to New Zealand by sea. Requests from individual marine crew will not be considered.

To request for your ship crew to travel here by sea, you will need to fill out and email a paper form.

Approval in Principle for Marine Crew arriving by the maritime border request form (INZ 1350)

You will need to include:

  • the ship permission approval document from the Ministry of Health, if required
  • a copy of their passport page, including a photograph and passport information
  • completed form
  • a letter from the employer or shipping agent.

Complete the form and email with Ministry of Health approval document — if required.

maritime.arrivals@mbie.govt.nz 

Nominated for entry under the Global Impact Visa scheme

This process is now closed to new requests. If you applied on or before 23:59 on 31 July 2022 we will review your request. If you are eligible, we will send you an invitation to apply for an appropriate visa.

Up to 50 Fellows nominated by MBIE Innovation Policy and supported by the Edmund Hillary Fellowship may enter New Zealand.

Partners and dependents of nominated applicants may be included in requests, see visas for partners and dependents.

Global Impact Visa (GIVs)