Critical Purpose Visitor Visa

Visa details

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.

Who can apply

The criteria and evidence below will provide you with the information you need to meet the requirements of this visa.

View All Evidence


You must provide proof of your identity

  • 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Also provide a copy of your Identity card.

  4. Also provide your:

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


You must be in good health

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

Who needs an x-ray or medical examination

Update on medical certificate requests on Immigration Online

  1. 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.


You must be of good character

You may need to provide police certificates as proof of your good character.

If you are aged 17 or older and plan to stay in New Zealand for more than 24 months (including any time you have already spent in New Zealand), you must provide police certificates from:

  • any country you are a citizen of
  • any country you have spent more than 5 years in since you turned 17.

You do not need to provide police certificates if:

  • you have provided them to us with an earlier visa application, and
  • they were issued in the previous 24 months.

Good character

How to get a police certificate

Invitation to apply

You must be invited to apply for a visa

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.

Critical purpose in New Zealand

You must have a critical purpose for being in New Zealand

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.


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How to submit

Payment methods and receiving centre details if applicable.


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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 an arrival card, which you are given on the way to New Zealand.

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.