New residence pathway for Special Ukraine Visa holders settled in New Zealand

Foreign Affairs Immigration

The Government continues to support those who have fled the illegal war in Ukraine with the announcement of a new residence pathway for Special Ukraine Visa holders.

“Many of those who sought safety here in New Zealand would never have anticipated being here long term, but as war continues we have a humanitarian obligation to provide certainty to them,” Immigration Minister Andrew Little said.

The residence pathway will be available to Special Ukraine Visa holders where the principal applicant was granted a Special Ukraine Visa and travelled to New Zealand before 15 March 2024.

“The Government’s ongoing support of Ukraine and its people demonstrates Aotearoa New Zealand’s enduring support in a rules-based international system,” Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said.

“The conflict in Ukraine resonates deeply with us all. In launching this residence pathway, we are honouring our responsibility as global citizens, weaving together the threads of compassion, solidarity, and kaitiakitanga, affirming our commitment to support those affected.”

The Special Ukraine Visa first opened for applications for 12 months from 15 March 2022, as part of the Government’s response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. It was later extended another 12 months to 15 March 2024.

“The visa allows Ukrainians with close relatives who are New Zealand citizens or residents, to come to New Zealand to shelter for two years,” Andrew Little said.

“In line with similar countries who have already closed their temporary pathways, the Special Ukraine Visa will close to Expressions of Interest from new applicants after 15 March 2024.

“Special Ukraine Visa holders who are in New Zealand can continue to apply for subsequent temporary visas under the existing policy, as long as they wish to shelter here, or await the outcome of their residence application.

“We’re making it as simple as possible to apply for the residence pathway.

"New Zealand is a peaceful country, and we are enriched by the Ukrainians who wish to make New Zealand their home permanently,” Andrew Little said.

As at 20 August 2023, around 1,510 Special Ukraine Visas have been granted since the special category was created. Around 340 special category visa holders are in New Zealand.


Notes to Editor:


  • As of 20 August 2023, around 1,510 Special Ukraine Visas have been granted since the special category was created. 
  • Around 720 people have travelled to New Zealand on this visa, noting this number includes those who have left New Zealand, and re-entered, on one or several occasions. 
  • Around 340 special category visa holders are in in New Zealand. A number of special category visa holders are yet to arrive in New Zealand, and some have arrived but subsequently left or moved to other visas.
  • Application information for the residence category will be published by MBIE before Christmas

Requirements for residence:

  • Special Ukraine Visa holders who apply for residence will only be required to provide a Limited Medical Certificate. Normal character checks and identity requirements will apply.
  • A $1200 residence visa application fee will apply to those who apply through the Special Ukraine Residence pathway, however, applicants won’t be charged the Immigration Levy.
  • To maximise accessibility applicants do not need to sit English language tests or have access to suitable funds. There are no sponsorship requirements for the residence pathway.