Critical Purpose Visitor Visa

You could apply for this visa if you had a critical purpose for coming to New Zealand while the border was closed due to COVID-19.

Length of stay

6 to 12 months

NZD $591
With this visa you can
  • Travel to New Zealand even though the border is closed.
Things to note
  • To apply for this visa you must first have an invitation from us to apply on the basis that you have a critical purpose to travel here.

This visa is closed.

What you need to apply

Check if you are eligible to apply for this visa and what supporting documents and information you need to provide.

View All Evidence
  • 1 acceptable photo if you apply online, or 2 photos if you use a paper application form.
  • your passport or certificate of identity.

Acceptable photos

If you submit a paper application, provide a certified copy of your passport. 

If you apply online, you must upload a copy of your passport when you apply. We will let you know if you need to send your passport after you've applied.

Sending your passport for online applications


If you are a citizen of China and you submit a paper application form in China, you must also complete a supplementary form.

Supplementary form for Chinese citizens (INZ 1027) PDF 338KB

If you are submitting a paper application form, you must provide a supplementary form for Hong Kong and Macao visitors, workers and students.

Supplementary form for Hong Kong and Macao visitors, workers and students (INZ 1220) PDF 240KB

Also provide a copy of your Identity card.

Also provide your:

  • Hukou (household registration book)
  • Chinese identity card.

We may ask you to have a chest x-ray, a medical examination or both as proof of your good health.

If you are staying less than:

  • 6 months you do not normally need a chest x-ray. 
  • 12 months you do not normally need a medical certificate. 

Who needs an x-ray or medical examination

When we process your application we let you know if we need you to have a chest x-ray or medical examination.

Acceptable standard of health criteria for visa approvals

Please only provide medical certificates if requested


You must provide a chest x-ray completed in the last 3 months, even if you've provided one to us previously, if:

  • you have spent 6 consecutive months in China since the last x-ray certificate was issued, and
  • you are now coming to NZ for more than 6 months.

If you have a criminal conviction or are a security risk to New Zealand we may not be able to grant you a visa.

Good character for temporary visas

You must provide police certificates if your total time in New Zealand will be 24 months or longer across all visits. This includes any time you have spent in New Zealand in the past on other visas, even if you have been out of the country since then.

You also must provide police certificates if we ask for them.

If you are 16 years old or younger you do not need to provide police certificates.

Providing police certificates

How to get a police certificate

If you have already sent us Police Certificates with a previous visa application and they are less than 24 months old, you do not need to send them again.

Police certificates must be less than 6 months old when you submit your application. They must be from any country you are a citizen of, or have spent more than 5 years in since you turned 17.

When we decide if your intentions are genuine, we consider all the information:

  • you provide to support your application
  • we have about your personal circumstances, and
  • you provided in any previous applications.

Genuine intentions to visit, study or work in NZ

Your invitation will say what information you must provide with your application.

If you are invited to apply, you must apply within 2 months of receiving your invitation.

You must meet one of the critical purpose criteria set by the government:

  • partner or dependent child of a New Zealand citizen or resident without a relationship-based visa
  • critical health worker
  • other critical worker
  • citizen of Samoa and Tonga who have been asked by their government to travel here, and this travel has been approved by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tradepartner or dependent child of a New Zealand work or student visa holder
  • humanitarian exception
  • replacement cargo ship crew arriving by air
  • ship crew arriving by sea.

List of critical purpose reasons to travel

Process and costs

The information below will help you understand the process, timeframes and costs involved in applying for this visa, so you can plan ahead and have the best chance of submitting a complete application.

Stage 1

Your employer submits your request

If you want to travel here for critical work, it must be for work that defines you as an ‘other critical worker’.

Border exceptions for ‘other critical workers’

Your employer must submit the request on your behalf using the Employer request for critical worker exception form.

Employer request for critical worker exception form

Immigration costs
NZD $ 380

Application cost – Your employer making this request pays this amount.

We invite you to apply

If we agree you meet our criteria for critical purpose travel, we will invite you to apply for either:

  • a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa — if you do not already have a visa — or 
  • a variation of your visa conditions if you already have a visa.

If we invite you to apply for a variation of conditions, you do not need to continue this visa application. Instead, we will send you a link to the variation of conditions form you need to complete in your invitation letter. It costs NZD $190 to apply for a variation of conditions.

Stage 2

Apply online for a visa

If you have been invited to apply for the Critical Purpose Visitor Visa, apply online including all the information in the list provided in your invitation letter. Your invitation to apply will also include a link to the online application form you need to use.

Immigration costs
NZD $ 246

Application cost – This is the charge for Immigration New Zealand to process your application. We do not refund application costs if we decline your application. An International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) of NZD $35 is charged and is included in the cost.

We make a decision about your application

If there is anything else you need to do, we will let you know.

How to submit

Payment methods and receiving centre details if applicable.


These are the conditions that you must meet once you have your visa.

Entry permission

You must apply for entry permission when you arrive in New Zealand. You can do this by completing a digital New Zealand traveller declaration (NZTD), or an NZTD paper declaration.

New Zealand Customs and Biosecurity also check that you meet their entry requirements.

Arriving in New Zealand


You can be refused entry permission if:

  • you do not meet our character requirements
  • your circumstances have changed since you were granted a visa
  • you refuse to let us take your photo or to provide us with your fingerprints or an iris scan, if asked for them
  • you are unable to provide evidence of any onward travel or funds required by the conditions of your visa.

If you are refused entry to New Zealand

Before you travel to New Zealand

Visa expiry

You must leave New Zealand before your visa expires.


Visa expiry dates are printed on a visa label or included in a visa letter.


If travelling in and out of New Zealand, a valid multiple entry travel condition is needed to return to New Zealand.

Changing the conditions of a visitor visa


We will normally give multiple entry travel conditions when we grant a critical purpose visa.

If there are no multiple entry travel conditions and you leave New Zealand, the visa will expire.

The travel conditions will be listed on the visa label, or in a visa letter.

Onward travel

Unless your visa label or letter says 'Return/onward travel not required', you must have either of the following:

  • a travel ticket to a country you can enter
  • an acceptable sponsor who can pay for your travel ticket out of New Zealand to a country you can enter.

What sponsors must do – responsibilities and obligations


Unless your visa label or letter states “Return/onward travel not required” you must have a ticket to leave New Zealand whenever you travel here.

Funds or sponsorship

You must have enough money to support yourself while you are in New Zealand or have a sponsor.

What sponsors must do – responsibilities and obligations


You may be asked for evidence you have enough funds to support yourself when you check in or arrive in New Zealand.


You may study for up to 3 months in any 12 month period.


School-aged children can study for up to 3 months in any calendar year. Children studying for more than 2 weeks must attend a school that is signatory to the ‘Code of Pastoral Care for International Students’.

Code of Pastoral Care for International Students