New Zealand expands a more visitor-friendly visa application process
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has extended its online visa application technology platform that makes it faster, easier and cheaper to apply for most New Zealand visas. Immigration ONLINE (external link) has been introduced to improve customer experience and deliver better immigration outcomes.
Immigration ONLINE was launched for Student visas in August 2014, and Work and Visitor categories in June this year. At the same time, INZ launched the ability for Immigration Advisers and Education Agents to apply on behalf of their clients.
The service aims to move more than 80 percent of visa applications to online channels by 2018, when technology is extended to allow groups such as families and tour groups to apply online.
While the tools are relatively new, usage continues to grow with around 1,500 applications now being received weekly.
From 7 December 2015, it will also be NZ$27 (around Rs 1,100) cheaper to apply for a Student or Work visa online rather than by paper.
A range of other new initiatives are also about to be launched from early December 2015, including the next phase of Immigration ONLINE; the expansion of eVisas (passport-free applications and label-less visas).
INZ will extend eVisas to:
- All Student, Visitor and Work visa applicants who apply online to renew their visa while in New Zealand; and
- Student, Visitor and Work visa applicants from visa-waiver countries who apply online from outside New Zealand.
This means that from 7 December 2015, Indian students with a relevant New Zealand student visa, Indian nationals working in New Zealand on a relevant work visa or Indian visitors to New Zealand will be eligible for an eVisa if they apply to renew their visas from within New Zealand using Immigration ONLINE. These applicants will not be asked to send in their passport when they submit their Immigration ONLINE applicant – making the application process quicker and easier.
Those applying for a Student, Work or Visitor visa from outside New Zealand will still, in the meantime, need to send their passports to a Visa Application Centre until eVisas are extended to online applicants from non-visa-waiver countries such as India.
Another Immigration ONLINE service, eMedical, is also speeding up processing time by facilitating the submission of medical information, such as x-rays and certificates electronically.
Immigration New Zealand’s website www.immigration.govt.nz (external link) provides detailed information on specific visa requirements.