There are lots of different visa options for expats planning on moving to New Zealand. Application processes and requirements vary depending on the type of visa that is being applied for. The immigration authorities provide detailed information on the documents required for each type of visa. However, many people opt to work through a visa-processing agency as these professionals are up-to-date on the latest developments, removing some of the bureaucratic stress associated with the application process.

Travellers from certain countries don’t need a visitor visa to enter New Zealand. However, even those on the visa-waiver list will need to supply evidence of funds and proof of onward travel.

Those not on the visa-waiver list will need to apply for a visitor visa. They will be required to provide proof that they are in good health, are of good character and have an appropriate purpose for their visit. They will also need to prove that they have plans to leave the country, such as an onward ticket, and that they have enough funds to support themselves during their stay.

Applicants need a certain amount of money per month of their visit, and a passport that is valid for at least three months but ideally six months or more after their scheduled date of departure. Visitor visas can be granted for up to nine months.


There are a number of visa options available for those wanting to live and work in New Zealand. When applying for a work visa for New Zealand, expats should ensure that they choose the correct visa for their situation. There are different visas for expats wanting to work in the country temporarily and for those wanting permanent employment.
  • Working Holiday Scheme

    Nationals of certain countries, including the UK, Canada and the USA, are able to apply for a working holiday visa for New Zealand. The Working Holiday Scheme visa allows expats to stay and work in the country for one year.  This visa is aimed at young travellers wanting to fund their travels around New Zealand.

    Generally, working holiday visa applicants must be between 18 and 30 years old, and must submit proof that they have sufficient funds to support themselves as well as proof of onward travel. Expats will also need to have medical insurance to cover their stay in New Zealand as well as evidence that the main reason for their visit is a holiday, with work being secondary to this.

    Applications for a working holiday visa must be done online. After making their application, expats will be notified within five working days about whether their application has been accepted or rejected.

  • Skilled Migrant Category

    This visa is available for those wanting to move to New Zealand to live and work permanently. In order to be eligible, applicants must be younger than 55 years old, pass a health screening and criminal record check, and speak English. Eligibility for this visa is determined by a points system where points are received for age, experience, qualifications and employability.
The Work to Residence visa allows holders to stay in the country for up to 30 months and gives them the opportunity to apply for a resident visa at a later date. In order for an expat to apply under the programme, their skills must be needed by a New Zealand employer or they must demonstrate they have an exceptional level of skills in a certain field.

Applicants need to fall within certain set categories to be eligible for the Work to Residence programme. This includes skilled workers with a job offer from an accredited employer, those in occupations on the skills shortage list, expats with exceptional talents in art, culture or sport, or those who plan to establish a business in New Zealand. 

Those who have worked temporarily and decide to stay and live in New Zealand will need to start the process of applying for residence.

New Zealand permanent residents are not citizens, but may remain in the country indefinitely. They are eligible for all of the rights and privileges of citizens, including access to health care, education and voting. They can leave and re-enter New Zealand as often as they like.

There are number of different requirements that need to be met by those applying for permanent residency for New Zealand. However, at a minimum, all applicants must have held a resident visa for at least two years continuously to be eligible to apply for a permanent resident visa.