Border Exceptions for Events

Event organisers can request exceptions to the border restrictions for participants and staff who are critical to the delivery or execution of the event.

Organisers of events are eligible to request exceptions to border restrictions for “critical workers”. Requests for exceptions for critical workers must be submitted by the employer or sponsoring agency, which, for events could be the event organiser.

To receive an exception the person must meet the following criteria

If working in New Zealand for less than six months:

  • The worker must have unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not readily obtainable in New Zealand


  • The work must be significant in terms of a major infrastructure project, or event of national or regional importance, or government approved programme, or in support of a government-to-government agreement, or have significant benefit to the national or regional economy AND
  • The role must be time critical (e.g. if the person does not come to New Zealand, the project, work or event will cease or be severely compromised, or significant costs will be incurred)

If working in New Zealand for longer than six months:

Event organisers can also request an exception for a worker to stay longer than six months if they meet one of the above criteria and have a role that is essential for the delivery or execution of a government approved event, or programme that is of major significance to New Zealand. Or, the person can earn more than $106,000 per year (as an indicator of high skills).

The event organiser must request the exception on behalf of the worker as either as a sponsoring agency or employer.

Applicants may also request exceptions for the worker’s partner and dependent children.

All costs for both the visa process and the managed isolation (discussed below) will need to be covered by the employer or sponsoring agency.

Submitting a request does not mean that an exception will be granted, and a high bar has been set for approving requests. Once your application is received, it will be assessed based on the criteria.

Please note applications are not limited to Government-approved events, however if you are not a Government-approved event and you wish to apply for an exception for a worker for longer than 12 months the worker must earn more than twice the median salary ($106,000 per year) or you must evidence that the work will have significant benefit to the national or regional economy.

Examples of Government-approved events

  • 36th America’s Cup
  • ICC Women’s World Cup 2022
  • Crankworx Rotorua
  • Winter Games
  • Rugby World Cup 2022
  • FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023

How to apply

Immigration New Zealand has developed an online form for applicants. If you wish to submit a request for border exceptions in the meantime, please fill out the PDF form and follow the instructions on the Immigration New Zealand website(external link).

Isolation requirements

Upon entry to New Zealand everyone is required to enter 14 days managed isolation or quarantine. An exception to border restrictions is not an exception to this mandatory isolation requirement. Isolation must occur at an approved government facility.  Please note that it might not be possible for the workers to travel on your preferred date or to do isolation in your preferred city, and employers will need to work with Government to agree dates before flights are booked.

The costs of managed isolation, including accommodation at government approved facilities and food, for any person entering New Zealand under the essential skills category must be paid by the employer or sponsoring agency (which, in the case of the Major Events Fund portfolio, can be the event organiser).

Information on what to expect when you enter managed isolation are on the MIQ website(external link).


Last updated: 15 July 2020