NZ reconnects with the world - final steps for maritime, students & visitors
Updated: Jul 28, 2022
At 11.59pm on 31 July (NZST) we reach the final steps of the Reconnecting strategy:
those outside New Zealand will be able to apply for student and visitor visas, and
the border will be reopened to travellers arriving by air and sea.
Every non-New Zealand or Australian citizen travelling to New Zealand needs a visa or New Zealand Electronic Authority (NZeTA) to enter the country.
From 11.59pm on 31 July (NZST), applications for Visitor Visas will reopen. Group visitor visa fees will increase:
Approved Destination Status (China) will be NZD $90 per person (previously NZD $45)
Other group visitor visa will be NZD $110 per person (previously NZD $65)
With an NZeTA you can travel to New Zealand without first applying for a visa if you are:
a cruise ship passenger,
travelling on a passport from a visa waiver country, or
a permanent resident of Australia.
Student visa applications reopen from 11:59pm 31 July 2022 (NZST) to support the rebuilding of a high-value international education sector.
From 11.59pm on 31 July 2022, Immigration fees and levies for student visas will increase. The new costs for a student visa will be:
$375 for Band A (New Zealand)
$315 for Band B (Pacific)
$395 for Band C (rest of world)
The amount students need for living costs while in New Zealand will also increase to:
NZD $20,000 a year for tertiary, English language students and other non-compulsory education
NZD $17,000 a year for students in compulsory education (years 1-13 at a school)
NZD $5,000 for applicants for post-study work visa.
Applications should be made between one and three months before intending to travel.
The maritime border will reopen to foreign-flagged vessels at 11.59pm on 31 July 2022 (NZST). Travellers on cruise ships must apply for an NZeTA.
The border exceptions and Critical Purpose Visitor Visas (CPVV) were created in response to the border restrictions put in place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As New Zealand moves towards a fully open border by the end of July, border exceptions are no longer needed as a pathway for people to come to New Zealand.
That is why the Government has decided to phase out border exceptions from the end of July, with the exception of some class exceptions.
Key dates for the phasing out of border exceptions and a return to business-as-usual visa processing will be:
31 July: All main border exception categories and class exceptions will close.
1 September: Primary sector class exceptions will close.
Transitional: the Seafood processing workers and Deep-sea fishers class exceptions will remain open until the seafood sector agreements under the Immigration Rebalance are in place (or until the caps are filled)
For the border exceptions closing on 31 July, applicants and employers will have until 11:59pm on 31 July to submit their border exception requests.
Border exception requests received prior to this will continue to be considered and if approved, individuals will be invited to apply for a visa.
Invitation to Apply Timeframe
To support the phasing out of border exceptions, the time that individuals who have been issued an Invitation to Apply have to apply for their visa has been reduced from four to two months.
The new ITA timeframe will come into effect today, Friday 8 July. This means that Expressions of Interest submitted on and after 8 July will only have two months to submit their visa application. Expressions of Interest made before 8 July, and those who have already been issued an ITA, will still have the original four months to apply.
Recognised Seasonal Employer Workers
The end of border exceptions means that employers will be able to directly recruit and manage the travel arrangements to bring Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers into New Zealand. During border exceptions, Industry bodies coordinated the recruitment and flight allocation process.
The recruitment process for RSE workers will return to employer-led, as was the case pre-COVID-19, with direct engagement by employers with the Pacific countries to recruit workers and complete visa applications.
All workers travelling to New Zealand will still be required to meet the RSE Limited visa entry requirements, as well as be fully vaccinated, before arriving in New Zealand.
The Government created the 2021 Resident Visa to recognise the contribution migrants made during COVID-19.
Among those eligible to apply are critical workers in longer-term roles who:
held a visa as a critical health worker or other critical worker on 29 September 2021, or
were granted a visa as a critical health worker or other critical worker after 29 September 2021.
The 2021 Resident Visa category closes at 11:59 pm on 31 July 2022 (NZST).
We encourage those eligible to submit their applications before then.