Border changes to help reunite New Zealanders with their loved ones

  • Hon Kris Faafoi

The Government is making changes to current border exception rules to allow some partners of New Zealand citizens and residents to be able to reunite in New Zealand.

“Many people living overseas, who are partners of New Zealand citizens and residents, are not covered by our current travel exceptions,” Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said.

“For example, Australians can normally enter and live in New Zealand without having to apply for a visa. Partners from 61 visa waiver countries would need a visa to live here but could visit without having to hold a visa,” Kris Faafoi said.

“But under COVID border restrictions, partners of New Zealand citizens and residents wanting to enter this country need to have either a relationship-based visa, or be travelling with their New Zealand citizen or resident family member, or be ordinarily resident in New Zealand.

“As more New Zealanders return from overseas, we want to enable them to be reunited with their loved ones here in New Zealand while also ensuring that only genuine partnerships are given that right,” Kris Faafoi said.

“The Government has had to operate tight border restrictions to prioritise the return of New Zealanders while keeping the COVID-19 virus contained. But we are now in a position where we can make some adjustments to our immigration settings which will allow a small number of people who, under normal circumstances, would have the right to come to New Zealand to do so now,” Kris Faafoi said.

Under changes being introduced from early October, Australian citizens or citizens of visa waiver countries living outside New Zealand, but who are partners of New Zealand citizens and residents, may be granted an exception to travel to New Zealand.

“They will be required to submit a border exception request and demonstrate that they are in a genuine and stable relationship.

“Australian partners, if granted a border exception, will be automatically issued a Critical Purpose Visitor visa to allow them to travel to New Zealand and they will receive a resident visa on arrival; in line with usual immigration policy for Australians,” Minister Faafoi said.

Partners from visa-waiver countries, if granted a border exception, will be invited to apply for a six-month Critical Purpose Visitor visa. Applicants who wish to stay longer in New Zealand, can then apply for a partnership visa or any other type of visa. This reflects the usual immigration policy for citizens of visa waiver countries.

Partners may include dependent children in their request.

All arrivals will be required to spend 14 days in managed isolation and quarantine and agree to the terms of managed isolation and quarantine.


A list of visa waiver countries and territories is on the Immigration New Zealand website at