DIA’s response to COVID-19 and information on services

Updated: 8 October 2020

All of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1. See: .  Check out our social media pages for updates on our public sites.

As always, you can access our services online. Find more information about our online services on the New Zealand Government website.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 or to access information in Te Reo Māori, New Zealand Sign Language or a Pacific or other language, please visit the Government’s dedicated COVID-19 website.

On this page:

Information for foreign nationals

The Department of Internal Affairs is working with New Zealand Red Cross to deliver in-kind assistance to Foreign Nationals experiencing serious hardship due to COVID-19, under the $ 37.6 million Assistance for Foreign Nationals Impacted by COVID-19 programme announced by the Government 16 June. Those eligible for support are Foreign Nationals in New Zealand who are experiencing serious financial hardship, and as a result are unable to meet their own basic, urgent and immediate needs, have exhausted other options and have no current access to a flight home. The Programme will run as a temporary, transitional mechanism, from 1 July 2020 for three months, at the end of which it is intended that people are able to return to their home country or have secured alternative means of support.

People on temporary visas and, in serious hardship, can apply by filling in an online form (on https://foreignnationals.services.govt.nz) or by calling 0800 REDCROSS (0800 733 276)

Information for the gambling sector

We are communicating with industry representatives about interim changes to how regulated parties are expected to comply with the Gambling Act, as they transition through the New Zealand Government’s Alert Levels.

Read more on the COVID-19 informaion for the gambling sector

Information for charities

Charities Services is open. New charities can apply for registration, existing charities can complete their annual return (if they are able – extensions are available), and we are available to answer questions.

Contact Charities Services

Information for community groups 

Our Community Operations team is still available, although our Auckland office is closed.

Contact Community Matters or 0800 824 824

Information for local government

See: COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit

Information for businesses when messaging customers about COVID-19

We appreciate that many businesses want to get in touch with customers about COVID-19. Here’s how to do it without breaching the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007.

Before issuing a notification to customers, consider the following:

  • There are already many communications being issued regarding COVID-19 so consider whether it is necessary to send a message in the first instance.
  • Consider whether your message could be added to the front page of your website instead - customers may naturally go to your website if they are concerned about your business and your position on COVID-19.
  • If you do need to send messages to your customers, please clearly identify yourself within your message, particularly if it’s a text message.
  • Provide clear and accurate contact information within your message in case the recipient needs to get in touch with you.
  • Do not send messages to people who are no longer members or customers of your business, or to people who have previously unsubscribed from your messages.

While the majority of these messages are likely to be non-commercial, some companies may take advantage of COVID-19 to promote their goods or services. Businesses issuing these messages need to abide by the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007: the business must have consent, clearly identify themselves and have a clear and functioning unsubscribe facility.

You’ll find more information about how a business can avoid spamming customers.

Scam warning

Scammers are using COVID-19 to steal information and gain access to individuals’ devices. These scams take the form of emails and text messages pretending to be from known organisations. An example of a current scam email claims to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and includes a file for ‘Immunity tips’ against COVID-19. Once the file is opened it releases malware, sending personal information to the scammer.

Most emails from legitimate organisations will not include attachments. If you receive an unexpected email from a business or organisation with attachments, do not open them.

Do not click hyperlinks in suspicious emails or text messages. In many cases they look legitimate, however the hyperlinks usually direct you to a scam website. Before clicking links in an email, hover your mouse over the hyperlinked text and if it is directing you to a web address that looks incorrect then it is likely to be a scam.

If you get a suspicious text message, delete the contact from your phone and contact the company directly to confirm if it was a scam.

Where to find more information about spam and online scams:

Accessing services online

Passports

Almost all New Zealanders can apply for their passport online. No paper, no postage or visits to our office. Learn more at Identity and Passports website.

Births, Deaths and Marriages

Almost all birth, death or marriage certificates can be ordered online. Learn more or order a certificate.

Birth registration is done online at the SmartStart website

Accessing family records

Accessing family records online is easier than ever. You can search and view historical records and order historical certificates online

Citizenship

Adults and families can now apply for citizenship online. You can learn more or start your application on the official New Zealand Government website.

Change your own name

You can download the name change application online and submit it by post. Read more information on the name change process.

SmartStart

SmartStart provides step-by-step information and support to help you access the right services for you and your baby. Learn more at the SmartStart website.  

RealMe

RealMe services allow New Zealanders to verify their identity online. It can be used to renew your passport, apply for a visa from Immigration NZ, log in to your Inland Revenue account and more. Learn more at RealMe website.

Whetūrangitia

Whetūrangitia provides information for family and whanau experiencing the death of a baby or child. You can access this support at the Whetūrangitia website

Te Hokinga ā Wairua End of Life Service

Te Hokinga ā Wairua End of Life Service provides you to with the information you need following the death of a loved one, and allows you to create a personalised plan of what you want to happen when you die.

Access Te Hokinga ā Wairua End of Life Service.

We will continue to update this page and our social media accounts as the situation evolves.

Services for people, communities and businesses

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