Special Ukraine Visa

The 2022 Special Ukraine Visa is a 2-year temporary visa for Ukrainians with family in New Zealand.

12 March 2024
3 minute read

Special Ukraine Visa

On 15 March 2022 the 2022 Special Ukraine Policy was announced enabling New Zealand citizens and residents who were born in Ukraine or are Ukrainian citizens to sponsor Ukrainian family members and their immediate families.

The visa was created to help people escape the current conflict and shelter in New Zealand in the hope they can return home when the war ends. Successful applicants will be granted a 2-year work visa, or study visa if they are 18 or younger.

This visa was initially open to expressions of interests for 1 year from 15 March 2022. Further changes were introduced in early 2023, including extending the time family members have to submit an expression of interest to 15 March 2024.

For visa holders whose applications were made on or after 15 March 2023, the time to travel to New Zealand has been extended from 9 to 12 months. Eligibility criteria for sponsors has also been expanded.

As of 11 March 2024, around 1,879 Special Ukraine Visas have been granted since the special category was created.

People have entered New Zealand 958 times on a Special Ukraine Visa, noting this will include people who have who have left New Zealand, and re-entered, on one or several occasions.

A number of special category visa holders are yet to arrive in New Zealand, and some have arrived but subsequently left or moved to other visas.

2022 Special Ukraine Visa changes to eligibility and expressions of interest timeframes

A new residence pathway for Special Ukraine Visa holders

In August 2023, a residence pathway was announced for people who hold a Special Ukraine Visa and arrived in New Zealand before 15 March 2024.

The Ukrainian Resident Visa opened on 16 March 2024 and will remain open for 2 years. Applications must be made on or before 16 March 2026.

Those who do not wish to apply for residency can continue to apply for Special Ukraine Visas.

Ukrainian Residence Visa eligibility

To be eligible for this visa, the principal visa applicant must have arrived in New Zealand on a 2022 Special Ukraine Visa on or before 15 March 2024.

The applicant can add their partner and dependent children to their visa application.

All applicants must:

  • meet standard character and identity requirements, and
  • provide a Limited Medical Certificate and chest X-ray certificate. 

However, applicants do not need to do an English language test as part of their application.

Applicants in New Zealand on a Special Ukraine Visa can continue to apply for further temporary visas under the existing policy while they:

  • shelter in New Zealand, or
  • wait for the outcome of their residence application.

Access to services

Special Ukraine temporary visa holders in New Zealand will continue to have access to publicly funded healthcare.

Children are able to attend school as domestic students and adults are able to access free English-language classes. 

Special Ukraine Visa holders have access to a free one-off health assessment that has been established by the Ministry of Health and Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand.

Ukraine Resident Visa opens in March 2024

Ukraine Resident Visa