COVID-19: Alert Level 4 Updated 17:30 Thursday 2 April

National state of emergency declared – stay at home. Updated information on border closure and extensions for visa holders.

State of emergency

Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, Wednesday 25 March’s State of National Emergency declaration allows the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management to direct and coordinate personnel, material and other resources, and provides access to other extraordinary powers that will support delivery of an effective and timely response to COVID-19.

Beehive statement | State of National Emergency extended

Level 4 Eliminate

Likely COVID-19 disease not contained.

Risk assessment
sustained and intensive transmission, widespread outbreaks

Measures (can be applied locally or nationally)

  • People to stay at home
  • Educational facilities closed
  • Businesses closed except for essential services (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics) and lifeline utilities
  • Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities
  • Travel severely limited
  • Major reprioritisation of healthcare

COVID19.GOVT.NZ

Epidemic notices

An Epidemic Management Notice relating to immigration matters is in effect from 2 April 2020 until 25 June 2020. It allows for extensions of all temporary entry class visas, where the holder is:

  • still in New Zealand, and
  • their visa expires between 2 April and 9 July inclusive.

Epidemic Management Notice information

Visa holder extensions

If you hold a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July inclusive, and you are still in New Zealand, your visa will be automatically extended to 25 September 2020. You will get an email to confirm your visa extension. You do not have to do anything. The email will be sent to the most recent email address that the visa holder provided Immigration New Zealand.

You can find your visa expiry date in your eVisa letter, as well as by checking Visa View or the Visa Verification Service on the Immigration New Zealand website.

If you hold a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date of 1 April or earlier, and you have not applied for another visa, you are now unlawfully in New Zealand. You can either:

  • leave the country immediately if possible, or
  • make a request for a special temporary or resident visa under Section 61 of the Immigration Act.

Travel to New Zealand

The New Zealand Government has further strengthened travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travellers from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (NZDT). New Zealand citizens and residents (excluding those whose resident visa was granted while they were outside of New Zealand, and who haven’t yet entered New Zealand to activate their visa) and their immediate family (partner or spouse, legal guardian and dependent children under the age of 24) who are travelling with them can still come to New Zealand. Immediate family who are not citizens or residents can make a request to Immigration New Zealand to undertake this travel. This process will provide this group of people with certainty that they can travel to New Zealand rather than risk being denied boarding flights to New Zealand. 

Border closures and exceptions | Making a request

Australian citizens and permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand can also return to New Zealand. They can make a request to Immigration New Zealand to undertake this travel. This process will provide this group of people with certainty that they can travel to New Zealand rather than risk being denied boarding flights to New Zealand.

Border closures and exceptions | Making a request

There are a small number of further exceptions to the travel ban that may allow some people to travel to New Zealand in exceptional cases. The starting point for any consideration is that for the protection of New Zealand the border is closed. Exceptions are only in place for extreme circumstances.

All travellers must isolate themselves for 14 days upon arrival.

Entry restriction exceptions

Exceptions to the border closure can be made by Immigration New Zealand for exceptional circumstances, including:

  • health and other essential workers
  • citizens of Samoa and Tonga for essential travel to New Zealand
  • visitor, student or work visa holders who normally live in New Zealand, and who are the partner or dependent of a temporary work or student visa holder who is currently in New Zealand
  • humanitarian reasons.

If you are outside New Zealand and think you may be eligible for an exception you can make a request to Immigration New Zealand.

Information about exceptions

Anyone entering New Zealand must isolate themselves for 14 days upon arrival.

Transiting and departure from New Zealand

People whose ultimate destination is not Australia are no longer allowed to transit New Zealand.

Australian citizens, residents and immediate family (partner or spouse, legal guardian and dependent children under the age of 24) are able to transit New Zealand to Australia. Transiting travellers must remain airside and cannot enter New Zealand.

New Zealand citizens, residents and immediate family (partner, legal guardian and dependent children) who normally live in Australia are able to transit New Zealand to return to Australia. If you want to transit, you need to remain airside and not enter New Zealand. If you enter New Zealand, you will be required to self-isolate.

New Zealand citizens, permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand and immediate family (partner, legal guardian and dependent children) are able to transit Australia to New Zealand. Transiting travellers must remain airside and cannot enter Australia. 

Foreign nationals

Foreign nationals in New Zealand can now travel domestically in order to reach Christchurch or Auckland airport to take an international flight.

They can drive, take ubers, taxis or public transport, or take domestic flights from Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch or Dunedin airports, in order to connect with a commercial or chartered international flight.

They must meet strict health criteria before they travel. The criteria and other information is available here on the Covid19 site.
COVID19.GOVT.NZ

Foreign nationals should contact their consulate or embassy for advice and support.

Beehive statement | Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals

Airlines will not allow unwell passengers to board. Travellers must contact their airlines and other travel providers for the most up-to-date information about flight availability, transit and entry eligibility for areas affected by border measures.

Emergency consular assistance for New Zealanders +64 99 20 20 20 (if overseas) or 0800 30 10 30 (if in New Zealand).

Safe Travel | New Zealand Government

Travel to and from the Pacific Islands

New Zealand citizens from Tokelau, Cook Islands and Niue travelling to New Zealand must isolate themselves for 14 days upon arrival.

Travellers to the Pacific Islands must meet the entry requirements of the country they are travelling to. Check flight availability and entry requirements before starting your journey. Health Officers are screening travellers from New Zealand to the Pacific Islands. Airlines will not allow any passenger with COVID-19 symptoms to board.

Safe Travel | Pacific Island countries

COVID-19 countries and areas of concern | Ministry of Health

COVID-19 symptoms | Ministry of Health

COVID-19 info: Pacific languages

COVID-19 info: other languages

Health measures

Health Officers are screening all travellers arriving in New Zealand. Travellers deemed high risk will be assessed.

Warning

You must obey self-isolation rules and any other government health measures.

New visa conditions: Visa holders who do not comply with instructions from a Health Officer can be detained and deported.

0800 358 5453 | Healthline

Self-isolation guidance | Ministry of Health

Visa changes to support the healthcare sector’s response to COVID-19

The Government is making a number of changes to temporary work visa settings to better support the health sector response to managing COVID-19.

Visa applications will be prioritised for key roles necessary for the health response in New Zealand.

As a temporary measure, some lower skilled temporary healthcare workers that are currently in New Zealand will be able to work in New Zealand for an additional 12 months before they are subject to the stand down period. This will allow those health workers with lower skilled Essential Skills visas who have worked in New Zealand for three years an additional 12 months before they are subject to a stand down period where they must leave New Zealand.

This will provide additional certainty for those impacted, some of whom will be affected by the first stand down period from 28 August 2020, and it will also help maintain existing workforces at this critical time.

International Students currently employed in healthcare roles (including aged residential care) will also soon be able to work full-time for three months in order to support the public health response to COVID-19.

Further information about the implementation of these changes will be available shortly, including the publishing of amended immigration instructions.

Supermarket visa changes

Changes have been made to immigration instructions to relax visa restrictions for two groups of current supermarket employees for a period of 30 days to help manage labour supply issues. Up until 25 April 2020 work visa holders working in supermarkets can work in roles in addition to those specified on their visa.

During the same period student visa holders who work in supermarkets can work more than the current maximum of 20 hours per week.

It is important to remember that any amendment to an employee’s conditions of work must be compliant with normal New Zealand employment law and the individual or collective employment agreement relevant to the employee.

These changes have been made in response to supermarkets experiencing immediate labour supply issues, particularly to meet the increased demand for shelf re-stocking.

These visa measures apply to supermarkets operated by Woolworths New Zealand – owners of Countdown, Super Value and FreshChoice supermarkets – and Foodstuffs Limited – owners of New World, Pak n Save and Four Square.

Visa processing information

All Immigration New Zealand offices are closed for the foreseeable future as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some staff are operating out of our head office in Wellington or working remotely, focusing only on essential visa applications related to COVID-19. Responses are being prioritised based on the direction of government e.g. health workers, and are intended only for exceptional cases. We are urgently establishing a system for dealing with these priority requests.

Residents with expired travel conditions cannot travel to New Zealand. You may apply for reinstatement of resident visa travel conditions.

Immigration New Zealand cannot extend visa durations other than under the terms of the Epidemic Management Notice. Visa fees or levies paid for applications will not be refunded or deferred for another visa. Per the terms of use for NZeTA, no refunds will be given if you are no longer able to travel to New Zealand, however NZeTA are valid for two years.

Air crew and sea travel

Air and maritime crew continue to be exempt from the travel restrictions, including from the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

Ministry of Health advice to airline crew

Cruise ships cannot enter to New Zealand’s territorial waters effective from 23:59 Saturday 14 March 2020. This will remain in place until at least 30 June 2020.

Further information

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) | New Zealand Government

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak | World Health Organization (WHO)

Contact us

Immigration Contact Centre is currently experiencing extremely high call volumes and you may face an extended delay in your call being answered.

Urgent immigration queries only:

+64 9 952 1679 | outside New Zealand

0508 225 288 | within New Zealand