Planning a visit to New Zealand? You may need to get a New Zealand visitor or tourist visa, depending on what country you reside in. Learn more in this article.
September 13, 2022
If you are planning a visit to New Zealand with your family and friends to explore, you may need to get a New Zealand visitor or tourist visa, depending on what country you reside in.
A New Zealand visitor visa can allow you to stay as a tourist for up to 9 months in an 18-month period. It allows you to leave and enter the country as often as you need. However, you still need to apply on arrival at each entry point. If you wish to study here, this visa allows you to study for 3 months within a period of 12 months.
Although a New Zealand visitor visa is valid for only 9 months, it can be extended up to a duration of 12 months in some special scenarios as:
If you are involved in an accident or anything else happens to you, and you are unable to leave New Zealand.
If you need more time to complete a tourist itinerary.
If you're applying for residency for the first time.
Before this extension is granted, you will need to provide evidence that you can support yourself independently and will not work or study.
Who Can Apply for a New Zealand Visitor Visa?
Eligibility for a New Zealand visitor visa depends on your home country and the time you want for your visit. For example, if you are from Australia, you do not need to apply for a visitor visa.
If you want to stay for a short period and you are from New Zealand visa waiver countries or territories, there's no need to apply for a visitor or tourist visa. You can come to New Zealand by holding an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority). It allows you to stay in New Zealand for up to a period of 3 months. If you are from the UK, you can stay up to 6 months.
If you are from a country other than the visa waiver list mentioned above, you need to apply for a visitor visa for entry. Forward planning is essential as you will need to ensure you follow the procedures and meet the requirements before the visa is issued, which can take up to a month or more to process before you can travel to New Zealand.
However, if you do not meet these requirements, it is definitely worth contacting an Immigration adviser as, in some cases, they can assist these types of travellers to come to New Zealand on NZeTAs and New Zealand visitor visas. They can also provide support with Group Visitor visa applications, taking the hassle out of organising multiple visas.
Our immigration advisers are more than happy to talk you through the process.
Let's break down exactly what you will need to apply for a New Zealand visitor visa.
Requirements for a New Zealand Visitor Visa
If you want to apply for a New Zealand visitor visa, you should meet these requirements:
1. Reason to Visit
If you are applying for a short-term visa to be in New Zealand, it is necessary to satisfy an immigration officer that you have a genuine reason for your visit to New Zealand. Your intention could be to visit tourist spots, explore New Zealand, see your family or friends, visit an organisation or university, etc.
You will need to provide immigration officers with your reason for visiting and meet the conditions.
Some conditions are:
You must follow the rules and regulations of New Zealand.
You will not stay in New Zealand for more than the visa validity period.
You will leave the country before your visa expires.
The reason to visit should be authentic. Otherwise, your application can be rejected without any clear reasons. If you want help to ensure your visa process goes smoothly, get in touch with Immigration Advisers
2. Character Requirements
When applying for a visitor visa, you will be asked if there are any past criminal or visa issues that may reflect how they assess your character. Immigration officials may request a police certificate to provide further documentation or approve a waiver for minor misdemeanours.
3. Funds in your Account
One of the key requirements to get a New Zealand visitor visa is the availability of sufficient funds in cash or a bank account.
You must have at least $1000 for every month of your visit to New Zealand. These funds must be shown in your documents for the application.
If your family is in New Zealand, and you want to get a visa to visit them, then the funds requirements are reduced to $400 per month or nothing.
Why Do They Ask For Evidence of Money?
The simplest answer is that you have funds to support yourself while in NZ. You must have the above-mentioned funds in your bank account and/or evidence of prepaid accommodation to ensure you can live comfortably. Sponsorship is an alternative to ensure that this criteria are met.
What if You Are Pregnant?
If you are pregnant and want to deliver your baby in New Zealand, you may be eligible for publicly funded health care. However, for those who are not, additional evidence of funding is a requirement in this case. In this case, you must have at least $9000 in your account to support health and living costs.
4. Health Requirements
You should be medically fit and active to travel to New Zealand and at the time of applying for a New Zealand Visitor Visa. You may be asked to complete an immigration medical if you intend to be in NZ for 12 months or longer or an x-ray if you have spent time in a country with high rates of TB.
5. Onward Journey
You will be asked to show evidence to immigration officials that you have a return ticket to your home country (or a country you have the right of entry) or enough funds to purchase a return airline ticket. These are additional funds, other than the evidence of funds to support your living expenses discussed above.
Before applying, there are official documents you will need to gather. You may need specific immigration advice if medical documentation or police certificates are necessary. Ensure you carefully follow the instructions and ask for advice before lodging your application if you are unsure.
A complete online application form will include:
A passport-size photo.
A copy of your passport
Medical Certificate from authorised medical practitioners and physicians, if required.
Police certificates if required.
Bank statements to show available funds to support yourself and purchase outward tickets
Letter from your employer confirming annual leave granted and for what dates.
Return travel (itinerary from a travel agent)
If you intend to visit family in New Zealand, show your relationship to them.
All documents should be in English and supported by an authorised English translation if required.
Other documents may be required depending on the circumstances of the intended visit.
2. New Zealand Visitor Visa Application
To apply for a New Zealand visitor visa, you can apply online through the NZ government website or a service like Malcolm Pacific Immigration.
3. Getting Your Visa
After applying, your documents will be assessed by an immigration officer. If all your documents are verified and your reason to visit is genuine, you'll be issued your visitor visa. Then, grab your bag and get ready to fly to New Zealand.
However, if your documents do not meet all the requirements discussed above, your application may be rejected. You can apply again after being rejected, but ensure you address any concerns in your next application.
Cost of Applying for a New Zealand Visitor Visa
Charges cover the Immigration agent processing of your application and the non-refundable immigration levy.
Charges for a single-person application are $246, including IVL (International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy of New Zealand) of $35. These charges are non-refundable even if your application gets rejected.
Payment Methods for Fee
You can pay the fee online through MasterCard, UnionPay, Visa credit, or debit card.
Time Frame for Processing Your Application
75% of applications are completed within 71 days. However, it can vary depending on how complex your case is or how many applications the immigration office is processing. So best to plan ahead to ensure you don't have to delay an exciting adventure.
A Few Takeaways
Applying for a New Zealand Visitors visa is a straightforward process, just plan ahead and answer honestly. Then, you can be enjoying the best of New Zealand pretty soon.
You can always keep yourself informed about visas and Immigration NZ news by subscribing to our newsletter or by reaching out to our experienced immigration advisers.
Get started with a FREE consultation today
Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our team is on standby, ready to help.
Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our employer team is on standby, ready to help.
Today the government announced a pathway to residence for migrant workers who are living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave who are eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else they will miss out on this one off opportunity.
July 8, 2022
Skilled Migrants Opportunity
Today the government announced a pathway to residence for people living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else you miss the boat.
July 8, 2022
New Employer Accreditation Process
The government has moved the introduction of the new employer accreditation process across to mid-2022. At the same time, the Minister of Immigration announced new work visa rules for migrant workers who are already in New Zealand and working full time.
July 8, 2022
Skilled Migrant Changes
The government has increased the median wage to $27 per hour from 19 July. Any Skilled Migrant residence application lodged after this date will need to include a skilled job offer that pays at least $27 per hour. For some lower-skilled occupations, the minimum pay rate increases to $40.50 per hour.
Employers of migrant workers must become accredited from 1 November 2021 before work visa applications can be processed. Most employers are not accredited. Those that are accredited will have to roll into the new system when it goes live in late September.
July 8, 2022
Work Visa Rules
From mid-2020 (delayed)
Government to negotiate and introduce Industry Sector agreements setting minimum conditions for industries that heavily rely on overseas workers. Sectors include; residential care, meat processing, dairy, forestry, road freight transport, tourism, and hospitality. Construction, horticulture, and viticulture may also be included.
Skilled occupation "Dairy Cattle Farmer" spilt into three occupations. New occupations are: "Dairy Farm Manager", "Assistant Dairy Farm Manager" and "Dairy Herd Manager". Each sit at different skill levels, therefore, the award of points will depend on pay rates, job tasks and other requirements.
Dairy Cattle Farmer job offers are now assessed by three new occupation descriptions: Dairy Farm Manager, Assistant Dairy Farm Manager and Dairy Herd Manager. Pay rates and job tasks will determine how long a work visa is valid. Take advice.
The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool for six months (to be reviewed in April 2021). Invitations to Apply for Residence remain suspended. The last selection from the Skilled Migrant pool took place on 18/03/2020.
Introduction of "Oversupply" and "Undersupply" occupation lists used to assess Essential Skills Work Visa applications when a job offer pays less than the median wage.
Employers offering jobs to migrant workers where an occupation is on the "Oversupply" list will not get Skill Match reports issued by Work & Income. Solid evidence of genuine attempts to find a local to fill the job will be critical for approval.
Anyone invited by Immigration NZ to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category where their invitation is dated between 1 November 2019 and 15 April 2020 (inclusive) has now been granted an additional six months to lodge their residence application.
Regional Skill Shortage List goes live. 15 regions around New Zealand list occupations reflecting local skill shortages in each region. The labour market test is not mandatory provided the job offer matches the occupation and region plus the visa applicant has qualifications and/or work experience set out on the list.
The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool. This means Invitations to Apply for Residence are also suspended. Malcolm Pacific Immigration does not anticipate selections to resume until after the general election held on 17 October 2020.
Immigration NZ is now prioritising Skilled Migrant Residence applications where the main (principal) applicant meets the criteria:
Has employment paying double the median wage which is currently NZD $51 per hour OR NZD $106,800 per annum; OR Has New Zealand occupational registration and is required to hold valid registration to lawfully carry out their job.
The government recently added more occupations that are now to be regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. In order to qualify for points, the job must be paying at least the current median wage (or higher for certain occupations) at the time the residence application is lodged.
From 1 November 2021 anyone who is not a NZ citizen must be fully vaccinated (unless exempt) before travelling to New Zealand. Fully vaccinated means your last dose of vaccine was given at least 14 days before travelling and it was an approved vaccine.
July 8, 2022
Applications for employer accreditation closed at the end of June 2021. Applications lodged before the closure date are still being processed. New applications for accreditation open on 9 May 2022. The process will be quite different to what employers have experienced in the past. Businesses will need to meet minimum standards.
July 26, 2022
2021 Resident Visa
Wednesday, 1 December is fast approaching and it is estimated that around 16,000 individuals and families can apply in the first wave for the 2021 Resident Visa opening next month. It is exciting for the thousands of people who have been waiting patiently to become residents that finally the finish line is in sight.
The first wave of applicants can apply from 1 December 2021. Around 16,000 applications are expected in this first wave. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. In total, the government expects approximately 110,000 applications that will include about 165,000 people.
The second group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 March 2022 are those who hold an eligible work visa and either meet "Settled", "Skilled" or "Scarce" as set out above. In total Immigration NZ estimate around 110,000 people will qualify to apply for this visa.
The first group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 December 2021 are those that on 29/09/2021:
Had lodged a residence application under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) or Residence from Work category; OR Had lodged an SMC Expression of Interest (EOI) in the SMC pool that included at least one dependent child aged 17 or above.
People who were lawfully in NZ (or in Australia when the travel bubble closed between April and July 2021) on 29/09/2021 need to meet the visa eligibility criteria:
Workers in NZ who held an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and on the day they apply for residence; OR Applied for an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and the work visa application is subsequently approved and still hold an eligible work visa on the day they apply for residence.
The government has introduced a limited pathway to residence for people who are already living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave of people eligible to apply. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. The deadline to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa is 31 July 2022.
A small number of critical health workers (taking up jobs for six months or longer) or specialist workers (taking up jobs that are for longer than six months) who were granted border exemptions may also have eligibility for the 2021 Resident Visa. They will need to have arrived in NZ and lodge a 2021 Resident Visa application.
July 4. Applications open for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa.
July 31. Applications for the 2021 Resident Visa close.
August. Skilled Migrant Residence category scheduled to reopen.
August. A new pathway to residence for people earning 200% or more of the median wage.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
July 8, 2022
Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022
February 13. Fully vaccinated Kiwis plus certain other travellers entering NZ from the rest of the world* can skip MIQ.
April 30. The border starts a phased reopen to fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
April 30. The Productivity Commission reports back to the government on immigration settings.
May 9. Applications open for mandatory Employer Accreditation.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
July 8, 2022
Work Visa Categories Closing
The work visa categories set to close are:
Essential Skills Work Visa
Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
Work to Residence (Talent – Accredited Employer)
Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage)
Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa (closed October 2019)
Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa.
July 8, 2022
The Green List
From September 2022 people holding job offers in a small number of occupations may apply for residence. Some occupations are a direct pathway to residence and others require a period of two years or longer before applying.
There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Establishing if an overseas qualification matches the NZ equivalent qualification before applying is paramount for success.