Type of Visas are Available for New Zealand

There are different types of Visa for New Zealand and expats must ensure that they have the correct one.

Expats who are from certain countries may be able to travel to the country without a visa for up to three months. Once you have arrived in New Zealand, you will be given a visitor permit. For more information about if you need a visa check on the Immigration New Zealand website.

Tourist Visa

Expats wanting to visit New Zealand will be required to apply for a tourist visa. Those on this visa can stay in the country for 9 months and will not be allowed to work or study for longer than three months.

Travellers who are from countries such as USA, Ireland and Canada will not need a tourist visa to enter the country. (This includes many other countries)

It is compulsory that foreign nationals from countries who are on the visa waiver programme show evidence of funds and proof of travel

Expats must be able to show:

  • They are in good health
  • Proof of plans of leaving the country
  • Enough funds to be able to support themselves whilst visiting
  • They have an appropriate reason of visiting New Zealand

For applicants whose visitor visa has expired, they will be able to apply for another Visitor visa or a Student/Work Visa.

Skilled Migrant Category (Highly skilled workers)

Expatriates who have qualifications and experience that New Zealand needs will be able to apply for a permanent resident visa under the Skilled Migrant Category. You will be required to have been to university or have had professional education for three years as well as experience.

This is generally based on a points system which considers your age, qualifications, skills and work experience. Those who are applying under this category will need to be under the age of 55 years old and must have a good knowledge of the English language and have a good health. This will then determine what applicants are allowed to apply for this type of visa.

What is needed to apply for this visa?

  • A good character reference (Generally proved by a police clearance certificate)
  • Good English language
  • Good health

How it works?

  1. You will be required to do a Self Assessment to see if you meet the requirements and points
  2. Submit an expression of interest (This describes family, skills and experience)
  3. An invitation to apply will be received (If expression of interest is accepted)
  4. Submit a resident application
  5. Receive the Visa

Most people who are investing in a business will prefer to apply for this Visa and this is one of the popular routes that most immigrants take to find work in the country.

Work Visa’s

Expats wanting to work in the country should ensure that they choose the correct visa for their work situation. For those who want to work permanently a different visa will be required from a temporary work visa.

Work to Residence

For those who are wanting to stay in the country for longer than 9 months will be able to do so by applying for the Work to residence visa. Individuals who have this visa can stay in New Zealand for 2 and half years and then they will be eligible to apply for a resident visa.

In order to apply for this visa, the skills in certain fields and experience must be required by an employer in the country.

There are several categories for applications to apply for this visa. These include:

  • Skilled works with a job offer from an endorsed employer
  • Expats whose occupation is on the skills shortage list
  • Outstanding talents in art or sport
  • Expats wanting to open a business in New Zealand

Working Holiday Scheme

UK, USA and Canadian nationals (and other countries) are eligible to apply for a Working holiday Visa. This will allow them to stay and work in New Zealand for only one year and is a popular way for young people from the age between 18- 30 to work and travel.

Depending on your nationality the requirements may vary, but a permit will be given with 12 months to arrive in New Zealand and, after arriving to work for 12 months.

Some of the requirements include:

  • Expats must be able to prove they have enough funds to support themselves
  • Proof of leaving the country
  • Medical insurance cover
  • Evidence that their visit to the country is a holiday and to work

To apply for a working holiday scheme visa this can be done online. Individuals will then be notified if their application has been accepted within one week.

Work Permits

A work permit will be given to those who are taking up employment in the country and a job offer has been confirmed with a work contract signed by the employer.

Expats must show evidence of their qualifications when they are applying for a work permit. The employer must also show that they were unable to find a resident in New Zealand to do the job.

During the process, a Labour market test will be done by authorities to examine the availability of workers who are qualified in the local labour market.

Study Permit

Students who want to study in New Zealand must acquire a study permit as well as a place at a higher education institute. When applying for this, students will need to show proof of the fees being paid and this will give students a permit for the length of time of the course or how much fees have been paid in advance.

Majority of the students can work part-time in the country and those who already have a New Zealand degree will find that they can apply for a work permit easily.

Permanent Resident Visa

If you are working on a temporary basis in the country and decide that you want to live there, you may be able to apply for permanent residency.

Permanent residents are allowed to stay in the country for an indefinite period and will have the same rights and privileges as New Zealand citizens. This includes: Healthcare, Voting and Education.

Expats who have residency can leave and re-enter the country, but those who live elsewhere for a long period of time may lose their residency status.

You may also apply for a residency permit if you have a family member who is a resident or citizen of the country. The visa must be sponsored by them or you may apply yourself.

To apply for permanent residency, individuals will need to have a resident visa for 2 years or more and must meet at least one or more of the following requirements:

  • Prove they have tax residence status with documentation
  • No less than 184 days have been spent by the applicant in the country
  • They own 24% or more shares in a business that benefits the country
  • An investment has been made for two years
  • A family home is owned and they have maintained employment for 9 months within the 2 year period