Enhancements to Immigration Online

From late 2021, Immigration New Zealand will start delivering enhancements to its Immigration Online system. Paperless visa processing technology will be phased in. This will make applying for a visa easier and improve visa processing times.

Changes coming to Immigration Online

Applying made faster and easier

  • Applicants are told what evidence they need to submit at the time of application.
  • Medical certificates are requested, if needed, after an application is made.
  • Visa sponsors and supporting partners can submit declarations online.
  • New tools help ensure correct and complete information is provided, including a global address finder, photo quality checker, and in future a passport eChip verification mobile app.
  • Fewer follow-ups mean an applicant’s visa can be processed more quickly.

New application progress updates and email notifications

  • The online dashboard will show the status of an application in real-time.
  • Email notifications will be sent to applicants when further action is needed.
  • Applicants can apply for reconsideration or a variation of conditions, if their original application was made through the enhanced Immigration Online system.

New workflow approach for quicker processing

From late 2021, Immigration New Zealand will begin transitioning to a new processing model.

  • Immigration New Zealand staff from any location can undertake processing tasks for an application made online.
  • Processing starts the moment an online application is submitted.
  • Time is saved through administrative tasks becoming automated.
  • Multiple staff can work on an application at the same time, rather than waiting for tasks to be undertaken one after the other, by one person.
  • More efficient processing means quicker decisions for most applications in the future.



Enhancements to visa processing technology do not signal when the border will reopen to foreign travellers. Information about changes to border settings will be announced by the Government.

COVID-19 | Immigration New Zealand

Visa products will start moving onto the enhanced Immigration Online system from late 2021. Immigration New Zealand is monitoring external events that may affect this timing, such as changes to COVID-19 alert levels.

By the end of 2021

Visitor Visas (excludes Critical Purpose Visitor Visa)

First half of 2022

Student Visas

By mid-2022

Employer Accreditation
and Job Check for Accredited Employer Work Visas


Accredited Employer Work Visa

2022 and beyond

Over time, all visa types can be applied for using the enhanced Immigration Online system

Until all visas are moved to the enhanced system, there will be three systems operating. People will be guided to the right system, depending on the visa they are applying for.

  • Existing Immigration Online system
  • Enhanced Immigration Online system
  • Paper application channels.

Immigration advisers and agents

Features of the enhanced system are designed to support high-volume users of the immigration system like licensed immigration advisers and immigration lawyers.

  • Apply on Behalf feature: Immigration advisers and others exempt from licensing can continue to submit visa applications online on behalf of clients.
  • Sharing feature: Applicants can share their applications with trusted third parties. Trusted third parties can share applications with their clients.
  • Email notifications: Email notifications are sent to the primary contact listed in the application.
  • Networks: Immigration professionals can create a ‘network’, so others in their business can collaborate on applications.