15 March 2022

New visa policy offers aid to Ukrainian nationals

The Government has today announced new policy to offer shelter to Ukrainian nationals whose lives are at risk from Russia’s aggression, following the illegal invasion of Ukraine that began last month.


The 2022 Special Ukraine Policy allows New Zealand citizens and residents who were born in Ukraine or are Ukrainian citizens, and who are currently in New Zealand, to bring members of their family here. Eligible sponsors can apply to bring their parents, grandparents, adult siblings, and adult children, and the partners and dependent children of any of those relatives, to New Zealand under this new policy. Those family members must have been living in Ukraine as at January 2022. The category will be open for one year from today, and successful applicants will be granted a two-year visa with work rights, or study rights for applicants who are under 18 years old.


Applying for this visa is a two-step process. Firstly, the eligible sponsor in New Zealand must complete an Expression of Interest and nominate the family members they wish to support. If the sponsorship request is approved, the family members in Ukraine will then be able to lodge a visa application under this policy. If they are not able to lodge applications themselves given the situation on the ground in Ukraine, the New Zealand-based sponsor can submit an application on their behalf. The application process will be streamlined, with police and medical certificates not required, and there is no application fee. Sponsorship requests and visa applications under this policy will be processed quickly as a matter of urgency.


Once approved, applicants will need to travel to New Zealand within 9 months. Sponsors will be responsible for arranging and funding their family members’ travel to New Zealand, and for their accommodation and living costs once here.


This latest update follows and supplements a number of earlier policy changes that were announced to support New Zealand’s Ukrainian community, as follows:


  • Ukrainian nationals currently in New Zealand, whose visas expire before the end of 2022, will be granted 12-month extensions to their visas.
  • Ukrainian citizens who are offshore and hold valid New Zealand visas can enter New Zealand immediately without waiting for the border to reopen.
  • Urgent visa applications from Ukrainian nationals are being prioritised by INZ.


For more information about the eligibility criteria under this new policy, or the application process, contact us.