Refunds for visa applications that cannot be processed

Immigration New Zealand will be refunding application fees and levies for temporary visa applications that cannot be processed due to New Zealand’s current 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.

There are up to 50,000 applications to be refunded. This will take time to work through and refunds will be issued in batches.

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 continue to actively work on a secure ICT solution to process the remaining volume of manual refunds. We will provide an update on the timing of this process in the New Year.

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 eligible for a refund we will email you, or your representative, when your refund is being processed or if we require information from you in order to progress your refund. You do not have to ask us for the 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 INZ is unable to accept these applications. Applications received after 10 August 2020 from people outside New Zealand which cannot 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 INZ 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.

Where possible for online applications, refunds will be paid to the card the original payment was paid from. If the payment was made by a third party on behalf of the applicant, such as a Licensed Immigration Advisor, it is the responsibility of the applicant and their representative to arrange reimbursement of the refund. 

Immigration New Zealand is not able to mediate between the applicant and their representative.

For those where payment cannot be paid to the card the original payment was made from, or was not submitted directly through Immigration Online, applicants will be contacted to complete a refund form. This will include providing a bank account number for the refund to be processed to.

We are working on a secure ICT solution to process manual refunds. Once that solution is confirmed, we will start the manual refund process and provide an updated timeframe.

Please contact your bank if your account is not credited after 15 working days. 

If your bank advises they cannot process your refund and will return it to Immigration New Zealand, please allow an additional 45 days for the funds to be returned to us.

Future applications  

Future applications will not be adversely affected by the lapsing and returning of these applications.  

Applicants in New Zealand whose temporary visas were extended

Applicants in New Zealand whose existing temporary visa was automatically extended by special direction can choose to withdraw or proceed with their application.

We will contact these applicants by email to ask what they want to do.   

Applicants who choose to withdraw their application and be refunded will only have the application fee refunded. Levies for these applications will not be refunded.