Emergency benefit for temporary visa holders

If you've got a temporary visa and you can't work, support yourself or return home due to COVID-19, you may be able to get an Emergency Benefit. This payment is to help with your basic living costs.


You can apply for the Emergency Benefit from now until 28 February 2021.

It's paid up until 28 February 2021.

Please contact your Embassy, High Commission or Consulate for further support if you need it.

Who can get it

You may be able to get the Emergency Benefit if you:

  • are looking for work, or can't work for some reason
  • have a current temporary New Zealand visa that's not sponsored, eg, a visitor visa, student visa or work visa
  • have a NZ bank account
  • have an Inland Revenue (IRD) number
  • have a legal form of identification, eg a passport
  • are in financial hardship with no other means of support (other than funds to buy a flight home).

You need to show us you either:

  • are making plans to return home as soon as possible, or
  • can't get home because of COVID-19.

You also need to be taking all reasonable steps to find other means of support. This could mean you:

  • are finding work
  • are taking up opportunities to return home on repatriation or commercial flights.
  • are getting support from your Embassy, High Commission or Consulate
  • have savings in the bank
  • have support from family, friends, church groups or an educational institute (in NZ or overseas).

It will also depend on your income and assets.

What you can get

The Emergency Benefit is paid up until 28 February 2021, as long as you continue to qualify.

How much you get depends on your situation.

Your situation

How much you can get

Single, aged 16-24 years $213.10 a week
Single, aged 25+ years $250.74 a week
Have a partner and children $428.06 a week
A sole parent aged 16-17 years $202.34 a week
A sole parent $375.17 a week

How to apply

You can apply from now until 28 February 2021.


To apply, you must visit a service centre for a face-to-face appointment. You can't apply online or over the phone.

Step 1 - Collect documents or proof

When you visit a service centre, you (and your partner if you have one) will need to bring these documents.

  • Current passport
  • One other form of identification, eg:
    • driver licence
    • phone or power bill in your name
    • marriage or birth certificate
  • Bank statement showing your New Zealand bank account details.
  • Inland Revenue number (if you don't have this yet, you can give it to us within 10 days of applying for the Emergency Benefit).

If you have dependent children in your care, you also need to get their passport or full birth certificate.

You'll also need to bring proof of your (and your partner if you have one) current visa. This could be an Immigration NZ visa approval letter with the current visa details.

If you don't have visa documents, you can show us your visa details using the Immigration New Zealand online Visa Verification Service. To use the online Visa Verification Service you must have a RealMe account. If you don't have a RealMe account, you need to create one before you visit a service centre (use the link below to do this).

Step 2 - Visit your nearest Work and Income service centre

You (and your partner if you have one) need to visit your nearest Work and Income service centre.

When you visit, you'll have an appointment with a case manager.

The case manager will ask you and your partner to:

  • fill out an application form (you can get one at the Work and Income office or download one below)
  • show your documents or online visa details
  • talk about your application.

You may also need to get proof of your assets in New Zealand and overseas. Your case manager will let you know if you need to do this.

What happens next

If your application is approved, we'll pay the Emergency Benefit directly into your New Zealand bank account.