Visa News
September 13, 2022

How to Get a New Zealand Visitor Visa

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.
How to Get a New Zealand Visitor Visa
How to Get a New Zealand Visitor Visa

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. 

Steps to Obtaining a New Zealand Visitor Visa

If you want to apply for a New Zealand visitor visa, you have to follow some steps to follow:

1. Your Documentation

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.

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