Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has a contract with VFS Global Ltd (VFS) to operate 42 user pays Visa Application Centres (VACs) in 27 countries. VACs collect and securely send visa applications and/or passports to the visa office for processing.
Immigration New Zealand has announced that on 30 November 2021, New Zealand’s Visa Application Centres (VACs) in Kiribati & Naru will close down. Besides this, Australia’s VACs in these two places will also close by this date.
The closure is due to significant decline in the volume of visa applications globally as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, uncertainty about when normal visa activities will resume and the impact of INZ’s digital development.
VACs will accept & digitize paper-based applications & also passport related information that is associated with online applications.
1 December 2021 onwards, customers of INZ’s Kiribati & Naru VACs will have to either courier a printed application to the VAC or apply using Immigration Online.
Immigration Online is a system that allows applicants to apply online for certain visa categories.
More information about Immigration Online can be found here
VACS that will remain open
VACs in the following places will remain open:
• Sydney (Australia)
• Suva (Fiji)
• Honiara (Solomon Islands)
More information about offices/ VACs outside New Zealand can be found here
Immigration New Zealand has confirmed that VAC closure will not lead to an increase in fees. However, the VAC service fee will still have to be paid by customers.
The extra cost to courier an application and/or passport to and from the nearest VAC will have to be borne by the applicants themselves. Applicants are encouraged to check the fee and timeframe with the local courier before submitting the application.
To avoid closure of VACs, INZ has considered other options like increasing the VAC service fees. However, this would lead to a substantial increase in fees to cover the costs of operating in these two locations – Kiribati & Naru. This has been deemed unreasonable as the costs would be too high and the burden of the increased service fee would have fallen on the applicant which would have resulted in the fees being higher than the overall cost (including courier charges) to just send an application to the nearest VAC.
For information about New Zealand Visa Application Centres (VACs), please click on the link here.
INZ has confirmed that it is committed to working with the Kiribati & Naru Governments to ensure that the people have continued access to New Zealand visa services.
Get in touch with Immigration Advisors New Zealand Ltd, which provides up-to-date immigration information so you can consider opportunities and prepare yourself for the future. To know all the required procedures, contact us at [email protected] or call on +64 09 3790219.
Vandana Rai is a Senior Licensed Immigration Adviser and has built a reputation around her rare set of skills, which could be considered ideal for her legal profession.