Emergency benefit for temporary visa holders

If you've got a temporary visa and are in financial hardship, we may be able to help you with an Emergency Benefit.

Applying for this benefit won’t affect any visa application you may have with Immigration New Zealand.


This support is now available to 31 August 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:

    • either:
      • are arranging to return home as soon as you can (eg you can get home but there's some time until your flight)
      • have a way to support yourself within a short time (eg you have a job starting in a short time)
      • can't get home because of COVID-19 travel restrictions but will do so as soon as flights are available, or
      • you can't yet travel home for another good reason (eg severe illness or injury so you cannot fly) but will do as soon as you can.
    • have a current temporary New Zealand visa that's not sponsored (eg a visitor visa, student visa, work visa or interim visa)
    • are in financial hardship with no other means of support (other than funds to buy a flight home)
    • have a New Zealand bank account
    • have an Inland Revenue (IRD) number if you have one (don't worry if you don't, you can get one after your benefit's been approved)
    • have a legal form of identification (eg a passport)
    • have arrived in New Zealand on or before 18 April 2021.

    You also need to have tried and keep on taking all reasonable steps to find other means of support. This could mean you:

    • are finding work
    • are taking up first-available 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 New Zealand or overseas).

    It will also depend on your income and assets.

  • What you can get

    The Emergency Benefit is paid up until 31 August 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 $239.70 a week
    Single, aged 25+ years $278.50 a week
    Have a partner and children $481.30 a week
    A sole parent $406.78 a week
  • How to apply

    You can apply from now until 31 August 2021.

    How you apply depends on which COVID-19 Alert Level you're in:

    Alert Level 1: You must visit a Work and Income service centre for a face-to-face appointment. You can’t apply online or over the phone. Follow the steps below to do this.

    Alert Level 2,3 or 4: You can phone 0800 559 009 to book a call-back.

    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 dependant children in your care, you also need to bring their passport or full birth certificate.

    You’ll need to sign a consent form allowing us to confirm your arrival date in New Zealand with Immigration New Zealand, or you’ll need to contact Immigration New Zealand directly to ask for documentation verifying your arrival date in the country.

    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.

    At our service centre, 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)
    • sign a consent form to verify your visa information and arrival date in New Zealand
    • 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.

  • How to apply for an IRD number

    Complete the application form

    To apply for an IRD number, you can do this online on IRD's website:

    If you can't apply online, you can download an IR742 form here:

    You can also pick up a paper application for an IRD number from either:

    • Automobile Association (AA)
    • NZ Post shop, or
    • an Inland Revenue office.

    Bring in documents

    When you apply for an IRD number, you'll need these documents:

    • Overseas passport
    • Visitor's Visa, Student Visa or Work Visa
      • If your visa has expired, you'll need to provide proof it has been extended.
    • Your Emergency Benefit approval letter from us
    • Proof of address where you're staying, eg, a card, letterhead or receipt from the motel, hotel or campground where you're staying.

    You need to take your documents to either:

    • Automobile Association (AA)
    • NZ Post shop, or
    • an Inland Revenue office.

    Beware of scams

    Be aware of sites who charge you a fee to apply for an IRD number, or tell you that your application will be processed quicker.

    There is no cost to apply for an IRD number. Also, the wait to get your application approved is the same no matter who you apply through.

  • Alternative languages