Application, Processing, and Costs- Critical Purpose Visitor Visa

Know how to file an application and obtain a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa to NZ even when the border is closed.

The shores of New Zealand have seen a change in its immigration policies since the COVID-19 crisis. For the first time ever in the country's history, its borders were sealed off entirely on March 19, 2020, to prevent any transit across its boundaries. In early October 2020, New Zealand approved certain classes of workers and Work Visa holders to travel to the country after some lengthy six months. Later, provisions to allow family members to reunite were also made when visa categories to reunite with a partner or a dependent child opened up.

However, the Immigration instructions are still quite stringent, and entry into the country is relatively inflexible, though the government has started processing offshore visa applications. There is reason to believe that the situation will remain so for quite some time as the risks posed by the COVID-19 will not be quickly allayed. Thus, it will prove fruitful if we are familiar with the NZ Immigration Policies and the Critical Purpose Visitor Visa changes. Book a consultation with our immigration advisors if you want to know the minute details about the various visa applications and processing time and fees.

What is the Critical Purpose Visitor Visa?

The Critical Purpose Visitor Visa is a type of temporary entry class visa which allows entry to a person because they have a "critical purpose" to visit New Zealand. With a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa, you can gain access to New Zealand even though its borders are currently closed. However, to get the visa, you must meet one of the conditions given below of the critical purpose criteria list set by the government:

  • Partner of a dependent child of a New Zealand resident or citizen without a relationship-based visa.
  • Critical health worker
  • Other critical workers
  • Citizens of the countries Samoa or Tonga who have directives and approvals from their respective governments to travel and the travel has been approved by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade partner
  • Dependent child of an NZ work or student visa holder
  • Humanitarian grounds
  • Ship crew arrival by sea
  • Cargo ship crew arrival by air

How to Apply

Procurement of a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa is a two-fold process:

  • Expression of Interest: You will first have to give an Expression of Interest by filling up an Online Request Form to receive an invitation to apply for the Visa by the authorities
  • Visa Application: It is only upon receiving that invitation you will be able to fill up the final form applying for the Visa, which will be your second step

Expression of Interest Application

  • Once you submit an online request form for an invitation to apply, you will receive a response mail that will contain the link to the visa application
  • The Expression of Interest should contain all possible information about the reasons for your travel to NZ and the details of your partner/children if they are also included in your travel.
  • It should also contain any specific detail relating to the subgroup under which your case qualifies as a Critical Purpose. For example, if you are requesting travel based on family relations and on the grounds that your partner and/or child are already in NZ, you should provide all information about them as well
  • Suppose a person is applying under the "Other Critical Workers" section. In that case, their employer or agency should request a Critical Worker Exception form, and the process should subsequently be carried forward by the employer or agency group
  • You must apply for the visa within a month of receiving the invitation.

After You Have Received the Invitation to Apply, You Have to Follow Either of the Two Courses of Action Given Below

  • If you already have an NZ Visa, you will have to apply for a variation of your visa conditions to bring it under the fold of a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa.
  • If you do not have a Visa, you will have to apply for a fresh visa.

Visa Application

In applying for a new visa, you can apply online or offline. The online link will be given in your invitation mail itself. Alternatively, you will have to select "Type of Visitor Visa" in the Online Application form, followed by "Special Category Visitor Visa. "Finally, select" Critical Purpose Visitor Visa."

You will need a RealMe account to file a visa application and make all necessary payments. All important updates will be mailed to you, while all-important transaction receipts will be displayed on your account's Acknowledgments page. Therefore, you should positively create an account before filing an application.

With your Visa application, you will need to send a host of other information and evidence to prove whether you're eligible to enter the shores of NZ. These will be discussed in the subsequent portion.


  • The total application cost for requesting an invitation amounts to NZD $380
  • The cost of requesting a variation of your visa conditions is NZD $190
  • The cost of applying for a new visa is NZD $246. You will not be refunded in case your application is declined. An additional charge of $35 is levied on the application cost, an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy(IVL)

Processing Time

  • The response to the application requesting an invitation to apply is usually received within five working days. Response to agents and employers of those filing under Other critical workers takes about two weeks
  • The time taken to process and grant visas usually takes a longer time. There is no standard time, and the time taken varies with different visa groups. For example, 50% of immigration applicants bearing "Essential Skills" are granted a visa within 22 days of application, while students are usually granted within 14 days. Book a Consultation with our immigration experts to find out the exact processing time for your visa group

Evidence and Information

Below is a list of the documents you need to provide as evidence while applying for the visa or a variation of your visa conditions:

1. Identity

Proof of your identity would involve a photograph(s) and your passport. In the absence of a passport, a special waiver can be obtained for producing a Certificate of Entry.

2. Good Health

A proof of good health needs to be produced by conducting a medical examination as well as a chest X-ray, if required, by a Panel Physician who is a medical practitioner with a special license to perform medical tests and X-rays on patients for NZ Visa Apps. Whether it is mandatory to have an X-ray done will depend on your span of stay, country of origin, and various other factors.

3. Character

These are certificates of good character issued by the Police of your country, which you need to produce if you are 17 years or above to ensure that you pose no threat to the security of NZ.

4. Genuine Intentions

Your request to grant a visa may be declined if the Immigration authorities suspect that you may have applied for a visa on false grounds or that once you are there, you may not abide by the conditions of your visa and may intend to disrupt the order of the country. They will conclude after studying all the documents provided by you.


It is true that things indeed appear kind of gloomy when it comes to traveling overseas to NZ. But it is best to gear yourself with the latest modifications and immigration policy implementations so that you can plan your tour or work-purpose journey well in advance without having to go through the unnecessary hassle.

Book a Free Consultation

Book a Free Consultation