New Zealand welcomes applications from people wishing to come here, whether it is to visit, study, work or live. New Zealand needs people who are 'keen to make a go of it', people with qualifications and experience, who would not be a drain on our resources.

It will cost you money to process your application for residency, and unfortunately if you find that you have not been successful, you will not receive a rebate of the fees you have paid. So it is a good idea to assess your chances before having to 'pay up', by filling in the specimen self assessment form in this chapter. If after having assessed your points you wish to proceed further, go to your nearest immigration office and apply for a residency permit. Remember, you then have to go through their assessment. Do not make any serious plans to move until you have received your residency permit.

There are many New Zealand Immigration Offices around the world where expert help and information can be received, and the necessary application forms applied for. See addresses at the back of this book.

Policy in the temporary field has been aimed at facilitating the entry of tourists and business visitors, and New Zealand has arrangements for visa-free entry for citizens of over 25 countries. See the section on Visitors for a list of these countries.

If, on the other hand, you are not from a visa-waiver country, or if:

  • you want to study
  • you want to work at a job you have already arranged
  • you are sponsored for a visit by a relative or friend in New Zealand
  • you want to get medical treatment

then you will need to apply for a visa. Three months is the standard period for a visit to New Zealand for visitors from both visa-waiver and visa-required countries.

If you wish to extend your visit, you must demonstrate viable means of support or other good reasons, before a further three month permit will be granted. British citizens only can receive a six months' permit on arrival. You may also apply for a further visitor's permit if there are good reasons why you cannot leave New Zealand, or if you are a genuine tourist.

If you know you want to visit New Zealand for more than three months before you arrive, then you should apply for a visa to stay the length of time you require (up to 12 months) before travelling to New Zealand, whether you are from a visa-required or visa-waiver country.

Visitors who do not apply in advance for a longer stay are usually only permitted to be in New Zealand for a stay of up to six months in any 12-month period. You must then leave this country, and stay away for the same period you were here, e.g. if you were here for six months, then you must stay away for six months before returning to New Zealand as a visitor.

Applications for work permits are considered in the light of the local labour market. Policy allows entry on student visas of people wishing to undertake long-term courses at universities and other tertiary institutions, although some courses of less than three months' duration can be attended without a student permit. Provision is also made for people to enter New Zealand for medical treatment in certain circumstances.

In March 2002 the Government introduced a Residence from Work Category which encompasses the following:

  1. Talent (Accredited Employers) Residence Policy
  2. Talent (Arts, Culture and Sports) Residence Policy
  3. Priority Occupations List Residence Policy.

The categories

Now we come to the 'hard bit' – delving through numerous pages of information on immigration requirements. So that you can pick out the part that is relevant to you we have divided the sections as follows:

  • Visitor's permit
  • Study permit
  • Work permit
  • Residency.

Advance Passenger Screening

A new system called Advance Passenger Screening now affects all travellers entering New Zealand. Traditionally, visas, passports and other travel documents have been checked when you arrive in New Zealand. Under Advance Passenger Screening, your documents will also be checked before you board the flight that is bringing you to New Zealand.

Therefore, in order to board your flight, it is critical that you have the correct documentation, and that it is valid and current. Incorrect travel documents may. result in your experiencing delays at check-in, or even not being allowed to board your flight to New Zealand.


Visitors may come to New Zealand:

  • as tourists
  • for business talks
  • to see friends or relatives
  • to play sport or perform in cultural events (without pay)
  • for medical treatment or medical consultation.

You will definitely need a visitor's visa before you travel here unless you are:

  • an Australian citizen travelling on an Australian passport (you do not need a visa and are exempt from the requirement to hold a permit to be in New Zealand)
  • an Australian resident with a current Australian resident return visa (you do not need a visa and are granted a residence permit when you arrive)
  • a citizen of any of the following countries, which have visa-waiver agreements with New Zealand.

Note: you must apply for a visa if you plan to visit for more than the time stated below:

For visits up to 30 days

Citizens of France living in Tahiti or New Caledonia.

For visits up to three months

Citizens of Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Nauru, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tuvalu, United States of America.

Notes: French citizens living in France only. Portuguese passport holders must have the right to live permanently in Portugal.

For visits up to six months

British citizens and other British passport holders who have evidence of the right to live permanently in the United Kingdom.

If you are a citizen of one of the above stated countries, you can apply for a visitor's permit by completing an arrival card when you arrive in New Zealand.

Visitor's visas

A visitor's visa is an endorsement in your passport before you come to New Zealand. You should apply for your visitor's permit when you complete an arrival card upon entering New Zealand. The period of time you are allowed to stay will be written inside your visa and permit, and you are not entitled to work in New Zealand. Visas are to enable you to:

  • study or train for a single course of not more than three months
  • undergo medical treatment
  • take a holiday.

You will need to supply a completed Application for Visitor's Visa, fee, passport, and a recent passport-size photo. You may also be required to show that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay here, i.e. NZ $1,000 for each person per month or NZ $400 each person per month if your accommodation is already paid, and evidence of this – prepaid hotel vouchers – must be available. Details of your travel arrangements to leave New Zealand must also be shown.

If you wish to make more than one journey to New Zealand, you should apply for a multiple visa.

Medical treatment

If you are coming to New Zealand for medical treatment you may have to give details of treatment by completing a Details of Intended Medical Treatment form. You will also need a letter from a New Zealand hospital (Crown Health Enterprise) or Regional Health Authority to your doctor confirming your acceptance for treatment. For private sector treatment, you will need a letter from a New Zealand doctor or hospital confirming that you have been accepted for treatment. Evidence that you will be able to pay for treatment is also required.

Yacht and private aircraft

You will require a visa if you are travelling by private aircraft or yacht, unless you are a citizen of one of the visa-waiver countries listed in this chapter, also if you are only visiting for no longer than the time stated in that section. Application for a visitor's permit is made by completing an arrival card when you land in New Zealand.

What is a visitor's permit?

A visitor's permit is endorsed in your passport. It shows that you have permission to be in New Zealand. The period of time you are allowed to stay here is written on the permit.

You may not work here if you have a visitor's permit. It is also illegal for you to study for longer than three months if you have a visitor's permit. If you have a visitor's permit and want to work in New Zealand or to study for longer than three months you must make an application to either change to a work or student permit or change the conditions of your visitor's permit. You will only be granted permission to work if there are no suitable New Zealand job seekers who could do the job you have been offered. Also, you will only be able to work for the remaining time you are entitled to stay as a visitor.

How do I apply for a visitor's permit?

When you arrive in New Zealand you apply for a visitor's permit by completing an arrival card. You will need to show your passport which must be valid until at least three months past the date you plan to leave New Zealand, and your visitor's visa (if you had to obtain one before you travelled to New Zealand). If you are already in New Zealand you should apply to an office of the New Zealand Immigration Service.


To make an application you will need to supply:

  1. a completed Application for Visitor's Permit form
  2. the application fee
  3. your passport (which must be valid until at least three months past the date you plan to leave New Zealand)
  4. a recent passport-sized photo.


You will also be asked to show that you have enough money to support yourself whilst in New Zealand, see this chapter for details, plus evidence of funds which can be in the form of traveller's cheques, bank draft, letters of credit or a New Zealand bank account in your name. Cash or credit cards may be accepted as evidence of funds.


If you do not have enough money you will need a guarantee of accommodation and maintenance from a friend or relative who lives in New Zealand. In this case you must use the form Sponsoring a Visitor. In addition, you will need to show details of travel arrangements for your departure from New Zealand, such as valid tickets to a country to which you have the right of entry.

How long can I stay?

The length of stay shown in the permit granted on your arrival will depend on whether you entered under a visawaiver agreement and were able to meet the requirements for a visit of the time specified in the agreement, or you obtained a visitor's visa before you departed for New Zealand.

All visitors to New Zealand are allowed a stay of up to nine months, provided they apply for further permits (if required) and meet normal visitor requirements. You must apply for a further permit if you want to extend your stay. A further visitor's permit allowing a stay of more than nine months many only be granted to people who are genuine tourists, or who have lodged a residence application for the first time, and this is being considered, or if you cannot leave New Zealand because of circumstances beyond your control. This permit will be for a period of not more than three months, to a maximum stay of twelve months, from the date of your arrival.

You might also be granted a further visitor's permit if you are undergoing medical treatment or your private yacht or aircraft needs repair. Owners of private craft may be granted further permits beyond the standard maximum stay when their craft needs to undergo refitting or major repairs. You will need to show evidence of this.

Finding a sponsor

If you are applying for a visitor's visa or visitor's permit, but do not have enough money for your living expenses or onward travel, you may be sponsored by a friend or relative in New Zealand.

Such sponsors must be resident in New Zealand and be a New Zealand citizen or have a residence permit without requirements, or be exempt from the requirements to hold a permit.

They must be prepared to cover the cost of your maintenance (or living expenses), accommodation and tickets for you to leave New Zealand. Any dependants must also be listed on this form. Your sponsor should complete the form Sponsoring a Visitor and take it to an office of the New Zealand Immigration Service in New Zealand for approval. After approval, your sponsor should send it to you so that you can attach it to your application for a visitor's visa.

It must be noted that if sponsors fail to carry out their undertaking, the New Zealand Government may recover from them any costs incurred in respect of that failure (this could include the cost of accommodation and tickets for departure if the person has to be removed from New Zealand).

Could I be refused a visa or permit?

Yes, you could if you did not meet the standard requirements for getting a visitor's visa or permit, or if you are not eligible for a permit under Section Seven of the Immigration Act 1987. You could be refused entry if:

  • you have been convicted and sentenced to prison for five years or moref
  • in the past ten years you have been convicted and sentenced to prison for twelve months or moref
  • you have been deported from any country
  • you are subject to a current New Zealand removal warrant or removal order
  • the authorities suspect you of being a terrorist or likely to commit a crime.

This applies even if your offences have been later taken off the record.



A visa is an endorsement placed in your passport before you depart for New Zealand. Visas allow you to travel to New Zealand until the specified date; they do not give you permission to be in New Zealand, but do indicate that the holder has permission to travel to New Zealand, and that the issuing officer knows of no reason why a permit should not be issued upon arrival. You must apply for a visa unless the course of study or training is for three months or less. A visa shows the length of your stay, e.g. up to four years. This will also be shown on your permit.

If you wish to enquire about technical institutions, universities and schools, you can contact either the Ministry of Education, International Division, Private Bag, Wellington, New Zealand. Tel: 64 4 473 5544 or Fax 64 4 499 1327, or the institution of your choice. The addresses can be found at the back of this book, together with the Immigration Service Offices (NZ addresses) and the New Zealand Ministry of Education offices.

Before you apply

There are two courses of action to take before applying for a visa:

1. You must have a letter of acceptance for the course of your choice, from the New Zealand institution of your choice. A specimen application form is shown on page 175.

2. You must show that the fees have been paid, by presenting your receipt. You must then have the following information which must be attached to your application for a visa:

(a) Your passport or certificate of identity. Your passport must be valid for the period of time you are applying to study for.

(b) A completed and signed Application for Student Visa form, with a passport-size photograph. You will be required to pay a non-refundable student visa application fee of approximately NZ$188.00.

(c) A written offer of a place, which notifies you that you have been accepted by an educational institution in New Zealand to undertake a course of study.

(d) Either a receipt for payment of course fees (you are not required to produce the receipt before your application has been approved in principle), or evidence that you are exempt from course fees, e.g. by a New Zealand Government Scholarship. To find out more about this please contact your nearest New Zealand Embassy office.

(e) A guarantee of accommodation – a written assurance from an educational institution or other person, that suitable residential accommodation is available to you in New Zealand.

(f) Evidence that funds are available for your maintenance throughout your stay. The following is acceptable:

A completed Sponsoring a Student form, in which your sponsor gives a financial undertaking that he or she can transfer to New Zealand approximately NZ$7,000 per year.

A letter from your educational institution confirming that your living costs have already been paid. A bank document showing the funds of the amount required will be available to you in New Zealand e.g. approximately NZ$1,000 for each month of your stay for short-term study, or approximately NZ$7,000 per year for long-term study.

An award of a full New Zealand scholarship.

(g) Evidence of arrangements for onward travel from New Zealand. If you are undertaking a long-term course, a completed Sponsoring a Student form will usually satisfy this requirement. If you intend taking a short-term course, you will need to provide a return ticket to show that you have the funds to do so.

If you intend studying in New Zealand for more than two years you will need to show New Zealand Immigration Service medical and chest X-ray certificates, plus character clearances, which must be:

  • two original character references if under 17 years of age or
  • a local police clearance if you are 17 years of age and over. You will be advised of the procedure for obtaining these by the New Zealand Government office of your country.

All of the above are essential before a student visa is issued. When the New Zealand Government office overseas is satisfied that your application is complete and in order you will be issued a student visa.

If your course of study is less than three months, a student visa is not required.

If you are in New Zealand, or entering New Zealand on a visitor's visa, or under a visa-waiver agreement, or as the dependant of a visitor for a short time, you may be admitted to a primary or secondary school without charge for a period of up to 28 consecutive days, at the discretion of the principal, and beyond 28 days with the approval of the Secretary of Education.


When you arrive in New Zealand your passport will be endorsed with a permit which will allow you to be here for study or training whilst it is current. If you need an extension of your permit, you must apply before the original permit expires. Failure to do so will mean that you are here unlawfully, and may be removed. If you leave New Zealand before your permit expires, it will automatically cancel.

Further information for students

New Zealand Immigration Service will issue a visa or permit to a school student for one year, on the basis of one term's fees. However, if an instalment of fees is for less than one term, a visa or permit will be issued for only the period covered by the instalment. A permit renewal fee is payable.

If you wish to transfer to another course or institution, you must obtain a variation to your student permit, specifying the course and institution and, if appropriate, the extended validity of the permit.

Health benefits for students

As a full-fee foreign student you are eligible for health benefits if your course of study is of two or more years' duration. It is strongly recommended that all foreign students obtain medical insurance cover, especially students on shorter courses of up to two years' duration. Information on medical insurance will be available from New Zealand Government offices overseas.

Full-fee students from the United Kingdom and Australia are eligible for health benefits during courses of study lasting less than two years if they meet the requirements of the reciprocal health agreements New Zealand has with these countries.

Income support

You will not be eligible for income support assistance. A condition of your student visa is that you will be able to meet the full costs of education, accommodation and other living costs.

Accident compensation

You will be eligible for accident compensation on the same basis as resident New Zealand citizens. This will include earnings-related compensation if you are working. Student allowances Foreign students will not be entitled to student loans or to allowances under the Student Allowances Regulations 1991. Australian citizens or those who have been granted the right to reside permanently in Australia will be entitled to student loans. They may also apply for student allowances, provided they make a statutory declaration of their intention to reside permanently in New Zealand.

Restrictions on student employment

Holiday employment

You need to apply for special permission from the nearest office of the New Zealand Immigration Service before you commence holiday employment. You may work only during the long summer holidays and only if you are taking a full-time course of more than 12 months' duration.

Course-related employment

The New Zealand Immigration Service will grant approval for you to work during the year if it is work experience related to course requirements. They may also give you permission to remain in New Zealand and work for up to two years in employment related to your course if it has not been possible to gain work experience during your studies and if this work experience is a condition of being awarded a certificate.

Application for spouses of students to work

If your spouse wishes to work while you are in New Zealand, an application must be made through an office of the New Zealand Immigration Service.

Decisions on applications will depend on whether there are any unemployed New Zealand residents who can do the job which has been offered. For this reason, no definite assurance can be given whether an application would be successful.

Postgraduate study

If you have already completed an undergraduate course at a New Zealand university, you can apply for a further permit to do postgraduate study.


Anyone who arranges a job before arriving in New Zealand, or who intends to come to New Zealand to work, must apply in their own country for a work visa. Do not make arrangements to travel here until you have written approval of your application.

How to apply

If you have a current work, visitor's or student permit and you now want a work permit to stay longer, you must apply before your current permit expires. Your work permit application will be considered according to the local job market. A permit will normally be issued only if a suitable New Zealand citizen or resident is not available locally for the job.

You will need to supply:

  • a completed Application for Work Permit
  • your passport or certificate of identity, which must be valid for one month beyond the proposed date of leaving New Zealand, or three months if your passport has to be sent outside New Zealand for renewal
  • a recent passport-size photo
  • the application fee.

The person or firm offering you the job must provide you with the following information in writing to give to the New Zealand Immigration Service:

  • the name, address, telephone and/or fax number of company or employer
  • a job description including –
    Job title
    Type of work or duties
    Pay and conditions
    Qualifications or training or experience required
    Duration of the job
    Details of attempts to recruit New Zealanders and reasons why none was suitable.

You must supply evidence that you are suitably qualified by training and experience to do the job, and if the salary or pay from your prospective employer is not considered enough to cover your maintenance and/or outward travel, you may also be asked to produce evidence of money or means of support and an outward ticket or other evidence of the travel arrangements you have made to leave at the end of your stay. It is very important that you make a careful note of the expiry date of your permit, because if you stay in New Zealand after that date you will be here unlawfully and will be liable for removal.

Other conditions of a work permit

You may not study without obtaining:

  • a student permit, or
  • a change to the conditions of your work permit to let you study for a short time, unless the course is one single course of not more than three months' duration.

United Kingdom Working Holiday Scheme

British residents aged between 18 and 30, and unaccompanied by children, are allowed to have one-year working holidays in New Zealand, under the Temporary Work Permit Scheme.

New Zealand allows 500 people per year, on a first come first served basis. All applicants have to satisfy the New Zealand Immigration officers in London that their primary intention is to holiday in New Zealand. They are then only allowed to perform 'incidental or temporary work' whilst in New Zealand.


There are four main categories permanent migrants will be considered under:

  • Skilled Migrant Category
  • Business Investment Category
  • Family Category
  • Humanitarian Category.

Skilled Migrant Category (SMC)

Under this new migrant category, an Expressions of Interest (EOIs) form needs to be completed. If this completed form meets the health, character, and English language prerequisites and the threshold of 100 points for employability and capacity building factors, then it will go directly into a pool. EOIs will then be selected from the pool periodically. The length of time from submission to being invited to apply will vary. EOIs accepted into the pool are ranked according to their points score.

If your EOI is not selected from the pool within three months it will be withdrawn and you will be notified. You are then at liberty to lodge another EOI. However, if no selection from the pool has taken place within the threemonth period, your EOI will remain in the pool until a selection occurs.

To submit an EOI on-line – – will cost considerably less than in paper form. Another advantage of this method is that you will be able to check your EOI's status on-line and make instant updates to it after it has been submitted to the pool. The paper form is available from your nearest NZIS office. In order to help the skill-starved provinces, bonus points are available to those who choose not to settle in Auckland.

If you have been successful you will be sent an official invitation to apply for residence. You will then need to send a signed form, the applicable fees and all the necessary documentation to support your claims. EOI fees are as follows: NZ$465 for paper applications and NZ$315 for on-line applications.

The self-assessment chart on page 52 will give you some idea of how points can be scored.

The main areas tested will be –

  • Employability
    This is the major element and will relate to qualifications and work experience. You will need to supply original or certified true copies of your qualifications, and evidence that you were employed in your stated occupation for the given length of time.
  • Qualifications
    The following rules apply:
    – You can only obtain points for one qualification.
    – Partially completed qualifications will not be accepted.
    – Your qualifications must be of a comparable standard to a New Zealand qualification.

Note: in New Zealand there are certain occupations for which you must have membership of and/or registration with a professional or industrial organisation.

Some examples of such occupations are:

Dental technicians Optometrists Radio/TV servicing
Electricians Pharmacists personnel
Town planners Plumbers and Veterinarians
Medical personnel gas fitters

If you wish to apply for residence in New Zealand you do not have to be registered. If you are registered, however, this will assist the New Zealand Immigration Service in making a correct assessment of your qualification.

Work experience

You can score points for work experience that is:

  • sound, continuous and relevant to your qualification (which you obtained after the completion of your schooling) for which you by obtain points.

Your work experience must have been obtained after you completed your qualification, or be:

  • sound, continuous and in an approved occupation.

An approved occupation is one which is considered skilled in New Zealand and appears on the New Zealand Immigration Service's Register of Approved Occupations.

To score points in this area you must have had at least five years' experience in your approved occupation. You may wish to contact your local New Zealand Immigration Service office for advice on whether you are working in an approved occupation.

Note: if you have a post-schooling qualification and work experience which is not directly related to that qualification, you cannot claim points for both the work experience and the qualification, even if the work experience is in an approved occupation. You can, however, claim points for both twelve years' schooling and work experience in an approved occupation.


You will be allocated points for the age that you are at the time you lodge your application. If you are over the maximum age limit of 55 years, you are not eligible to be approved under the General Category.

Settlement factors

If you claim points for settlement funds, your investment funds must be additional to your settlement funds.

Settlement funds

To score points, your settlement funds (i.e. the value of your house, cash, shares, stocks find any other assets, minus all your debts) must be worth at least NZ$100,000.

Investment funds

To score points you must have between NZ$100,000 and NZ$300,000 and must be willing and able to have it transferred to, and invested in, New Zealand for at least two years. This investment must, in normal circumstances, provide a commercial return on the funds invested. Applicants will not be permitted to invest the funds in the purchase of possessions that could be for personal use, such as a house or car.

Note: you should note that settlement funds of $100,000 will attract two points, while the same amount of investment funds attract one point.


To score points for a sponsor, you must have a family sponsor who is your adult brother or sister, or parent, or adult child, who is a New Zealand resident, who has been lawfully permanently living in New Zealand for at least three years immediately prior to the application, and is prepared to accept family sponsorship obligations. Your community sponsor must be prepared to accept community sponsorship obligations, and be approved by the New Zealand Immigration Service.

Offer of skilled employment

To score points for an offer of skilled employment, you must have a firm and genuine job offer which will be kept open for six months. (For further details contact your nearest Immigration Office.)

Business and investment migrant category

The Government recognises that business migrants can significantly add to the wealth of New Zealand, and as a result, consideration will be given to applicants with substantial capital and business skills who can create jobs and enhance development.

Applicants in this category will be required to bring into New Zealand a minimum of NZ$750,000.

Though in general business migrants will be allowed to place their money in investments of their choice, a residence visa will not be granted until funds have been lodged in a New Zealand investment, and if those funds are not kept there for at least two years, the residence permit may be revoked.

Applicants must be able to show that the business investment funds are the direct result of their own business or professional record over a period of at least three years, and that their business or professional record extends over a minimum period of ten years. This category will be open to business people aged 54 and under, and will require a minimum level of English language ability on the part of the principal applicant or their spouse or an adult child over 17.

Self assessment

Having got this far you must be anxious to see if you will qualify. This you can do by using the Self Assessment Form on page 52 or

Business investor category

The aim of the business investor category is to ensure that high quality migrants with excellent, proven business skills and experience gain entry to New Zealand. Generally, they are also expected to invest business funds in New Zealand. You will be granted residence under the business investor category if you score enough points to meet the pass mark and you meet the compulsory requirements. Contact the New Zealand Immigration Service for the current pass mark.

Family migrant category

This category covers three situations – marriage to a New Zealand citizen or resident; de facto/homosexual relationship with a citizen or resident; parents, dependent children and single adult brothers and sisters and children. A legally married spouse of a New Zealand resident or citizen may qualify for residence. De facto or homosexual partners of New Zealand citizens or residents may be considered for residence. Once again, approval is not automatic, and an interview with both partners may be held. The couple will need to show they are living together in a stable, lasting relationship. The relationship must be of at least two years' duration in the case of a de facto couple, and four years if the relationship is homosexual.

When adult children have resided in New Zealand for three years, a parent may be reunited with them (provided all your adult children are living permanently outside your home country, or you have an equal or greater number of adult children lawfully permanently resident in New Zealand than anywhere else).

Limited provisions exist for parents with dependent children. Single adult brothers, sisters and children of New Zealand citizens or residents (including persons who are divorced or widowed) are eligible for residence provided they have no children and have no immediate family in their home country.

If you are applying under family reunification you will need a sponsor or support from the New Zealand based relative.

Unmarried dependent children under 17 are eligible for residence if they:

  • are joining their parent(s) in New Zealand
  • have no children of their own
  • were declared in their parents' application for residence, and provided their parents are lawfully and permanently living in New Zealand.


There are two appeal authorities which can review declined applications.

The Residence Appeal Authority will provide unsuccessful residence applicants with an opportunity to have the decision independently reviewed. The Authority may approve cases where it is satisfied they fall within policy. The Removal Review Authority will have the power to quash a removal order where there are exceptional humanitarian grounds for allowing the person to remain in New Zealand, or where a person has been determined not to be an overstayer.

There is provision for appeals on questions of law to be taken to the High Court.

Provision is also made in the Immigration Act for the reconsideration of any refusal by an immigration officer to grant a temporary permit.


New fees were introduced in July 2003. Your application will not be considered unless your fee is paid. Fees must be paid by bank cheque, building society cheque, money order or acceptable credit/debit card. Cheques must be made payable to 'The New Zealand Immigration Service'. Cash payments are acceptable if paying in person. Do not send cash payments by mail. All fees must be paid in pounds sterling, no other currency is accepted. Acceptable debit/credit cards are: Visa, Delta, Switch, Eurocard/Mastercard. Irrespective of outcome, visa fees are nonrefundable.

Business immigration category application fees do not include Goods & Services Tax (GST) as they are assessed outside New Zealand. GST (12.5%) is payable when the service is provided in New Zealand.

It is possible to lodge an appeal asking for reconsideration of decisions made. The appropriate fees for this can be obtained from

Family applications

Your spouse to de facto partner (either heterosexual or same sex) and any unmarried dependent children 24 years of age or younger do not need to make a separate application or pay a separate fee if they are included in your application for a residence visa or permit.

Children who are 25 years of age or younger who are not dependant and children who are 25 years of age or older must make their own application for a residence visa or permit and pay a separate fee.


All applicants applying for residence in New Zealand must provide a Police Certificate at the same time as a residence application is lodged. This Certificate must be less than two months old at the time the application is lodged.

You must apply for this from your country of residence, but contact the nearest New Zealand Immigration office. If you have lived for periods of 12 months or more in other countries during the last ten years, you must obtain certificates from these countries also. The certificates must be in English, or on an official letterhead as a certified translation, with a stamp or signature of the translator.


This covers people whose circumstances are exceptionally difficult. The applicant must have at least one close relative who is a New Zealand citizen or resident, and who supports the application. Applicants will be assessed under the following criteria:

  • their circumstances must be such that they, or a New Zealand party, is suffering serious physical or emotional harm, and
  • their application is supported by a close family member who is a New Zealand citizen or resident, and
  • they produce evidence to show why their situation can only be resolved by their being granted residence in New Zealand, and
  • it would not be contrary to the public interest to allow the applicants to reside in New Zealand.

A close family member is defined for the purposes of the Humanitarian Category as a parent, sibling or child, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, grandparent or a person who has lived with, and been part of, the applicant's family for many years.


How long does it take to process residence applicants?

It can take up to six months. However, if you ensure that your application is complete and all the necessary material is enclosed with your application, i.e. original documents or certified copies, then you stand a much better chance of getting an early reply.

How can I find out about work prospects?

By obtaining New Zealand newspapers or by contacting your nearest Immigration Office. You could also contact an Employment Bureau in New Zealand. If funds allow, you could always come here first on a visitor's visa to check the situation out for yourself before applying for New Zealand residency and selling up in your homeland.

Is it possible that a visitor wouldn't be allowed a permit upon arrival in New Zealand?

Yes, but only if something unusual had happened in between your getting your visa and your arrival in New Zealand.


The flow of people isn't just inwards into New Zealand. Several New Zealanders have had to abandon, temporarily or otherwise, their country of birth to earn a living overseas.

Rachael Hunter, who was a photographers' model, made her name as a very highly paid model in America. She met Rod Stewart, famous English pop singer, they got married, and now she lives permanently in the USA. She would have had to live 'outside' New Zealand even if she hadn't met Rocker Rod.

Sam Neill, the sexy superstar, started off small time acting in New Zealand, but he didn't achieve world fame and fortune until he went overseas. Now he just comes home for a visit to 'wind down'.

Kiri Te Kanawa, the world-acclaimed opera singer, went overseas for furtherance of her career, and now lives outside London. She, too, is just an occasional visitor to these shores.

Bob Charles, well-known golf champion, now travels overseas to play the golf circuits as a veteran golfer. He earns his income overseas, and very rarely competes in New Zealand. He does come back to his New Zealand home occasionally.