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15 September 2020

Certain offshore visa applications set to resume processing

Immigration New Zealand’s adjustment to processing priorities sees the resumption of processing certain offshore visa applications. Effective from 16 September, relationship-based applications for partners and dependent children of New Zealand citizens and residence class visa holders will be moved to the first priority queue. This applies to both onshore and offshore applicants, and as a result INZ will now resume processing offshore relationship-based applications (both temporary and residence), which have until now been placed on hold.


Anyone offshore who is granted a relationship-based visa supported by a New Zealander will be exempt from the border restrictions and will therefore be able to enter New Zealand without the need to request a travel ban exception first. All visas granted under these instructions will also have a six-month “first entry before” date, to allow successful applicants sufficient time to secure flights to New Zealand.


For those who have applied for a visa on the basis of their relationship with a New Zealander or who are considering doing so, it is important to note that processing is resuming for applications made under partnership instructions, but not those made under general visitor visa policy (where partnership instructions were not able to be met). Likewise, if an application has been made under partnership instructions but INZ finds that a general visitor visa is more appropriate, the application will be placed on hold until processing resumes for general visitor visa applications.


It is also important to note that processing is only resuming for partners and dependants of New Zealand citizens or residents. Applications for partners and dependants of work or student visa holders remain on hold, while border restrictions do not allow holders of these visas to enter the country, unless they are eligible to return to New Zealand under the new border exception category talked about here.


Several other visa categories will also resume processing for offshore applicants, however these will not be approved until border restrictions lift. Those categories are as follows:

  • Refugee Family Support - Tiers 1 and 2
  • Migrant Investor 1 and 2, including Expressions of Interest for Investor 2
  • Parent Retirement
  • Entrepreneur


If you are considering submitting an application under these instructions, you are unsure whether your application is affected, or you are unsure what options may be available to you, please contact us to discuss your situation further.