Pursuant to section 57(3) of the Immigration Act 2009, by way of special direction, the following application requirements under regulation 15(1)(c) and (d) of the Immigration (Visa, Entry Permission, and Related Matters) Regulations 2010 for transit visa applications are waived that:
- The application be signed;
- The applicant’s passport, or certificate of identity be provided;
- Two passport-sized photographs of the applicant’s head and shoulders be provided; and
- The prescribed fee.
Pursuant to section 57(5) of the Immigration Act 2009, the waiver of these application requirements applies to persons in Tonga and Samoa who are required to apply for and obtain a transit visa to travel to and be in New Zealand as a transit passenger and who can provide copies of their passport or certificate of identity with their transit visa application.
I am satisfied that the making of this special direction is reasonably necessary to manage the effects, or deal with the consequences of, the outbreak of COVID-19 because it will simplify the transit visa application process which is currently impracticable: offices in Tonga and Samoa which usually receive physical transit visa applications and original supporting documents are closed to the public; no Immigration New Zealand-aligned Visa Application Centres (VACs) are in operation in these countries; sending applications to VACs in other countries is considered inappropriate because of risks in sending passports internationally and this could entail significant delays and costs for applicants; postal services are also considered inappropriate as this presents substantial risk in the handling of passports.
This special direction expires on 15 May 2022 unless cancelled earlier.
Dated this 13th day of May 2021.
Hon KRIS FAAFOI, Minister of Immigration.
The effect of this special direction is to facilitate the application for a transit visa for nationals of countries who must apply for and obtain a transit visa to travel to and be in New Zealand as a transit passenger by reducing the application requirements to enable applications to be made without having to submit original travel documents, photos, fees and signing the application.