New Zealand shut its border to the world in March 2020, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. As of December 2020, the border is still closed, with the exception of a limited number of people. Those who are granted a border exemption, or who are of a class of people who do not need permission to enter, will have to quarantine at a managed isolation facility.
Currently there are four classes of people who can enter New Zealand without a border exemption:
New Zealand citizens and permanent resident visa holders
the partner or dependent child of a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and your visa is based on this relationship
a diplomat who holds a post in New Zealand
Australian citizens or permanent residents ordinarily resident in New Zealand.
For everyone else, a border exemption is required. In order to get a border exemption, you need to qualify under one of the categories. Some of these categories are listed below:
Critical health workers
Tongan or Samoan national requiring essential travel to NZ Partner of a student or work visa holder
Dependent child of a student or work visa holder.
Partner of a NZ citizen or resident
Dependent child of a NZ citizen or resident
Keep in mind that while you might on the surface appear to meet one of the categories (dependent child of a work visa holder for example), you will still be required to meet the specific requirements under that category. You can make a request for a border exemption. This is called an expression of interest. If a case officer accepts your expression of interest, you will then be invited to apply for a critical purpose visa - allowing you to travel to New Zealand. Both stages have separate fees.
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