Immigration New Zealand advises foreign nationals unable to leave New Zealand because of the Chilean ash cloud and whose visas expire in the meantime that, even though they may become unlawfully in New Zealand, no action will be taken against them while the disruption continues. However, there is a clear expectation that people will take steps to leave New Zealand as soon as flights resume.
When natural disasters occur or in similar circumstances that are beyond the control of the visa holder, we apply common sense and empathy in considering any visa issues.
We don’t disadvantage people for being stuck at an airport because of climatic conditions, just as we didn’t disadvantage foreign nationals whose immigration status was affected by the Christchurch earthquake.
To ensure we are aware of the reason a person has become unlawfully in New Zealand, anyone whose visa has expired pending resumption of flights should contact their nearest Immigration New Zealand branch or call the Immigration Contact Centre at 0508 55 88 55.