News centre

Suspension of overseas visa applications and introduction of EOI fees Friday, 31 July 2020

From 10 August 2020 Immigration New Zealand will be charging fees for border exception Expressions of Interest (EOIs), and temporarily suspending overseas visa applications.

Border exception Expression of Interest (EOI) requests now incur fees

From 10 August 2020, we will be introducing fees for all border exception EOI requests.

The fees are:

  • NZD $380 for employers who request exceptions for ‘other critical workers’ (or organisations or agencies that sponsor requests), and
  • NZD $45 for individual requests under all critical purpose categories. 

Over the last few months, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has received more than 27,000 EOI border exception requests and around 5,400 visa applications from people invited to apply. While these requests have been free of charge it is not feasible to continue to process border exceptions and requests for visa applications free of charge. We must start charging a fee that covers processing costs.

You must pay the fee when you submit the EOI form online.

Employers will be able to make requests for an exception for ‘other critical workers’ online, replacing the existing manual process.

Temporary visa suspensions for overseas applicants

From 10 August, applications for most temporary visas from people outside of New Zealand are temporarily suspended.

The following offshore temporary entry class visa applications are not affected: 

  • relationship-based visas for partners and dependent children of New Zealand citizens and residents
  • visas for diplomatic, consular and official staff and accompanying dependants
  • Antarctic Traveller Visitor visas and Antarctic Work visas
  • Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Limited visas. 

Since the border closure, we have not been processing visas for overseas applicants unless they meet the strict border exception criteria. This is because legally INZ is unable to grant visas to people who are unlikely to meet entry requirements. However, people have continued to submit visa applications expecting their applications to be processed. 

Temporarily suspending visa applications means:

  • we will be in a better place to process new applications when border restrictions change, and
  • applicants will not lose money on paying for applications that cannot be processed at this time.

This suspension does not apply to residence class visa applications as these applications take longer to process and may be less impacted by border restrictions.

If you intend to apply for a temporary class visa, do not undergo a medical examination unless you have been advised to do so by Immigration New Zealand.