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Visa Options For Individuals

There are many different types of visas and choosing the right one can be confusing. Here, we present a brief overview of the most common visa types.




Skilled Migrant


Applying under the Skilled Migrant category has always been the most popular visa class for obtaining residence in New Zealand. All principle applicants for this visa class must be under 56 years of age and are required to meet a minimum standard of health, character and English language prerequisites before an Expression of Interest can be lodged with Immigration New Zealand. The Skilled Migrant visa is for those with skilled employment in New Zealand and/or who have recognised qualifications and experience that will benefit New Zealand.




If you have family member who is already a New Zealand citizen or residence you may be eligible to remain in New Zealand permanently. The family class is divided partnership, parent and dependent child category of residence.


The Partnership category is for those living together in a exclusive, genuine and stable relationship. You do not have to be legally married and you maybe in a same-sex relationship.


The Parent category is for those with an adult New Zealand citizen or residence and income and sponsorship criteria applies. Application are submitted by submitting an Expression of Interest and then being invited to apply for residence.


The Dependent Child category is for children (in some circumstance up to 24 years of age) of New Zealand citizens and parents.


Investor and Business Categories


For those with a proven record of running a business, have capital and are wanting to actively engage in running and business opportunities in New Zealand.




Work visa:


The most common type of work visa is the Essential Skills work visa. If you have a job offer from a New Zealand employer, then this is probably the visa for you. The employer will need to show that there are no New Zealand citizens or residents available to fill the vacancy. They can do this by showing that the occupation is on one of the Essential Skills in Demand Lists or by providing evidence of advertising for the vacancy.


You will also need to meet health and character requirements as well as be able to demonstrate that you are appropriately qualified by training or experience to take up the position.


Important note: New Zealand employers can sometimes be reluctant to sponsor offshore candidates unless there are specific skills shortages and the candidate is generally unable to start for 4-6 weeks so careful planning is required.


Working Holiday Visa:


Younger citizens, generally between 18 years and 35 years, of certain countries may be eligible for a Working Holiday Visa. These visa, and schemes can differ, allows you to work and travel for one year with Canadian and United Kingdom passport holders able to stay longer. You must not undertake permanent employment and some schemes have a restricted on the length of employment for any one employer


Student Visa:


If you are enrolled into a qualifying course at a New Zealand tertiary institution, you can apply for a student visa. Some student visas also allow you to work up to 20 hours per week.


Temporary Retirement Category:


This is an extension visa designed for people who wish to stay in New Zealand longer than the 12 months of a visitor’s visa. Applicants will be issued with a 2 year multiple entry visitor’s visa which allows for travel in & out of New Zealand. It is only a temporary visa. At the end of the 2 years, applicants must leave New Zealand or re-apply for a further visa under this category, subject to meeting the requirement of this visa.


Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be aged 66 or over;
  • Nominate funds/assets of at least NZ$0.75 million and undertake to invest that money in New Zealand for a period of two years;
  • Be able to show that they own the (legally earned or acquired) funds/assets;
  • Be able to transfer & invest the said funds in an acceptable investment in New Zealand;
  • Be able to nominate funds of NZ$0.5 million of maintenance funds and demonstrate ownership of these funds;
  • Have an annual income of at least NZ$60,000.


In this category, the applicant may include his/her partner but dependent children cannot be included. Both the principal applicant and partner must also meet the health and character requirements and hold and maintain comprehensive travel and or health insurance for the two year duration. Should you be successful in your application, you will need to transfer and invest your funds in New Zealand within 3 months of your approval in principle. If you fail to do so your application will be declined.


Visitor Visa


If you wish to visit New Zealand for a short time for tourism or visiting family, then you may need to apply for a visitor visa. Nationals of some countries are not required to apply for a visitor visa before travelling to New Zealand. Others must obtain visitor visa before travelling to New Zealand. Generally, visitors may stay for a maximum of nine months in New Zealand, although this can be extended in certain circumstances.


Australian citizens and people who hold a current Australian permanent residence visa or a current Australian resident return visa do not need a New Zealand visitor visa to enter New Zealand.