Refunds for visa applications that cannot be processed

Immigration New Zealand is refunding application fees and levies for temporary visa applications that could not be processed due to New Zealand’s border restrictions.

Applications to be lapsed or returned, and refunded

People who applied for a temporary visa from outside New Zealand before 10 August 2020 will have their application lapsed and be refunded.

People who applied for a temporary visa from outside New Zealand after 10 August 2020, when offshore applications were suspended, will have their application returned and be refunded.

Immigration New Zealand is working through the process to refund the application fees and levies for these applications.

How much we have refunded so far

We have refunded 75 percent of all applications eligible for lapsing (under Immigration Instructions E13). The refunds completed to date are those where the automated reversal of the credit card payment was able to be actioned.

We are now starting a manual refund process. Applicants will be contacted to complete an online refund form and asked to provide a bank account number for the refund to be processed to. 

As at 22 December 2021, Immigration New Zealand has issued 30,445 refunds for applications eligible for lapsing. The below table outlines the breakdown of refunds issued.

Visa Type Refunds completed
Student 7,900
Visitor 18,722
Work 3,821
Other 2
TOTAL 30,445

Expect email notification

You do not need to do anything. If you are entitled to a manual refund, we will email you asking you for your banking details so we can process your refund.

Refund eligibility 

The applications to be refunded are mainly visitor, student and work visa applications.

Applications will be lapsed and refunded if they:

  • are for a temporary entry visa
  • were made by a person outside New Zealand
  • were made before 10 August 2020
  • are not an application to be excluded from being lapsed.

On 10 August 2020 the government suspended the ability for most people outside New Zealand to make a temporary visa application, therefore Immigration New Zealand was unable to accept these applications. Applications received after 10 August 2020 from people outside New Zealand which could not be accepted by Immigration New Zealand will also be refunded.

Check if you can get a refund

Applications excluded from lapsing and refunding

Applications not being lapsed and refunded include:

  • Applications made from a COVID-19 quarantine free travel zone where you have notified Immigration New Zealand in writing before 30 June 2021 that you are still in a COVID-19 quarantine free travel zone, and want your application to be processed.
  • Applications based on a relationship (partner or dependent children) to a New Zealand citizen, residence class visa holder or temporary visa holder.
  • Work visa applications under any of the following categories: Post-study work, Work to Residence, Entrepreneur Work Visa Category and 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 applicant with a temporary visa application that is listed above.

Applications decided before the border closure

This lapsing, returning and refunding is only for applications which have not been decided.

If your application was submitted and decided before the border closure, and you have been granted a visa but are unable to travel to New Zealand due to the current border restrictions, you are not eligible for your application to be lapsed or returned and refunded.

Can I get a refund for my application fee?

Refunding the money

Immigration New Zealand will contact applicants using the contact email address provided in the application.

Refunds for the majority of applications submitted online have already been paid to the credit card the original payment was made from. 

Applicants who submitted their applications through other channels which could not be refunded to a credit card will be contacted. You will be asked to complete an online refund form and provide a bank account number for the refund to be processed to. 

Please note that processing a refund could take up to 12 weeks after we receive a completed form. 

Future applications  

Future applications will not be adversely affected by the lapsing and returning of these applications. We cannot hold this payment for those wishing to make another visa application. A new application will need to be made.