Visa News
January 11, 2023

A Guide to Living in NZ for Parents Applying for the Parent Residency Visa

The Parent Residency Visa in New Zealand has now reopened. Learn more about visa changes, new sponsorship rules and what life is like for parents living in NZ.
A Guide to Living in NZ for Parents Applying for the Parent Residency Visa

There will be families breathing a sigh of relief as the Parent Resident Visa restarts. The visa had been suspended since 2016 and prolonged by NZ border closures during COVID

What Is the Parent Residency Visa Category?

A Parent Residency visa allows you to live in New Zealand permanently if you have a child (sponsor) who is a New Zealand citizen or resident. They must earn enough money to meet the new threshold and agree to sponsor you. 

This category is open to parents, grandparents and legal guardians. It allows the successful applicant to travel freely in and out of the country until their travel conditions expire. After these conditions expire, the visa holder must apply for permanent residency or an extension of their visa.

Successful applicants can work and study to support themselves. 

Requirements such as 'must be of good health and character' are retained, the same as all other visa categories in NZ. 

New Expressions of Interest (EOI) commenced from 12 October 2022. Successful applications will be selected by a random ballot starting in August 2023. 

What are the Sponsorship requirements? 

For ten years after the Parent Resident visa is granted, the sponsor must meet the following sponsorship obligations:

  • Provide the parent with suitable accommodation.
  • Ensure the parent's health and welfare needs are met.
  • Pay any costs associated with the deportation and repatriation (if required).

What Has Changed?

There has been an increase in the number of visas available, which has risen from 1000 to 2500. As with the previous system, NZ residents and citizens can sponsor their parents to come to New Zealand.

It now allows two adult siblings, rather than just one adult child and their partner, to sponsor their parents. Joint sponsorship allows the sponsors to pool their income to meet the requirements to get the visa for their parents. However, it does not enable dependant children to be added to this visa. 

The income requirements for sponsors have been reduced. A sponsor now must earn 1.5 times the New Zealand median wage rather than twice the median wage. Joint sponsorship requirements (the combination of 2 sponsors) now require twice the median income. 

The sponsors can bring up to a limit of six people under this category. However, there is an increase in the income threshold with each additional person brought in, increasing by half the median wage for each joint sponsor or additional parent.

What Happens if You Already Have an EOI? 

Existing EOIs, received before 12 October 2022 will be selected in the date order they were received. Selection will start again on 14 November 2022 and continue to choose EOIs every three months after that.

Timeframes for selection and visa processing will be available on the INZ website as they work through processing the visa applications. 

All existing EOI’s will be contacted to ensure the information available to INZ is up to date. 

What is Life Like in NZ for Migrant Parents? 

The next big step after securing residence is understanding what life will be like for you once you arrive. Of course, many parent residency visa applicants will have already visited our shores on a Visitor Visa and spent time with their children. However, for those who have not previously visited, here are a few things to consider when moving down under. 

Cost of Living

There are various living expenses to keep in mind for parents applying to live in New Zealand. These include general living costs, like utility bills, groceries, or other expenses for your family.

Living costs can vary from city to city, which is also essential to keep in mind.

  • Utility bills are an average of NZ$135 for a single person per month.
  • Licensing (registration) fee for one year is NZ$110.
  • Warrant of Fitness (WoF) is required every 6-12 months and costs about NZ$50-60. 
  • Petrol costs vary by fuel type. With a litre of 91 costing upwards of NZ$2.60, 98 is averaging around NZ$3 as of 2022.
  • Eating out can cost NZ$110-130 for two people, especially in cities like Auckland, while fast-food chains are typically NZ$10-14 per meal. 
  • Groceries from supermarkets, buying bulk and cooking at home are always cheaper.


New Zealand's public healthcare system is heavily subsidised by the government, making many services free or low-cost for citizens, residents and some visa holders. As a Parent Residency Visa holder, you receive the same benefits as citizens.  

Enrolling with your local General Practitioner (GP) is free and easy. However, GPs do charge for a consultation. You're never far from primary health care, with local clinics in every city, town, and suburb. 

Prescription charges are heavily subsidised by the taxpayer. If your doctor prescribes beyond approved lists, you may incur higher costs, but that is not true for most prescriptions. Either way, you can use insurance to cover all or part of these modest costs.

If you are faced with an immediately life-threatening illness or accident, you will receive immediate world-class care in the public system. But if faced with an "elective" (that is, not immediately life-threatening) problem, say varicose veins, you may find yourself on a "waiting list" for service in the public system, in which case you may elect to have immediate treatment in a private hospital.

Dental Care

Dentists are not part of the free public health care system. However, children can get free basic dentistry care until they're 18.         

Dental care is provided by oral health care practitioners, such as dentists and orthodontists, in private practices. Fees can vary widely, so remember to ask about them when looking for a dentist.


The most common mode of transport in New Zealand is a private vehicle. However, you must have the correct driver's licence to drive a car in New Zealand. New Zealand accepts driving on a foreign license but does enforce a 12-month limit to update your licence to a Kiwi one. 

Although much of the country requires your vehicle to get around, public transport is widely available in all cities and towns. 

In addition, you can also get around many cities with a bike. Some places are more accommodating for cycling than others, like Christchurch. However, there is usually at least enough infrastructure for bicycles to make them a viable means of transport all around the country.


Accommodation in New Zealand can come in many different forms at a wide price range, depending on location. For parents with residency visas, you are not just limited to renting but may be eligible for purchasing property as well, as typically only NZ Citizens, Resident Visa holders and a small group of other individuals can buy Residential Property.

New Zealand has a mix of housing types, ranging from standalone buildings on a block of land (section) to attached townhouses and apartments. It can take as little as four weeks to go through the purchase process if you're looking to buy. 

So once you've found where you want to live and after a parent holding a residency visa places a formal bid, there can be no last-minute offers, which makes buying here a lot less stressful than in some parts of the world.

However, if you are looking to rent, we've listed some information below.

  • The average rental price of an apartment depends on the location of the apartment, the quality of the build, and the size of the property. On average, apartment rent ranges from $460 to $800 per week. 
  • The average rental price of a house depends on the location and the size. On average, house rent ranges from $520 to $1050 per week.
  • The average rental price of a room arrangement depends on the property's location and size. On average, room rent ranges from $220 to $440 per week. 

Is There Another NZ Parent Visa Option?

The NZ Parent Retirement visa enables parents to join their adult children in New Zealand. To be eligible, applicants must meet INZ's financial requirements of keeping at least NZ$1 million invested in an acceptable investment in New Zealand for four years.

While allowing migrant parents to live, work and study in New Zealand, it also allows them to apply for permanent residence after four years of keeping their funds invested in New Zealand.

Want to Know More About Parent Residency Visa Options? Get Advice From Licensed Advisers

Applying for a New Zealand visa doesn't have to be overwhelming. Reach out to our experienced immigration advisers for advice and guidance on the process.

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