Visas for New Zealand

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. 
Before venturing to another country, make sure you have a health insurance plan you can rely on. Our international health insurance plans offer comprehensive health cover for when you are in your home country and abroad.

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 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 for 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 taking up permanent employment.
  • Essential Skills Visa

The Essential Skills Visa a temporary work visa for expats with a full-time job offer from a local employer. The length of stay is up to three years, and a residence permit is needed in addition to the visa. Holders of Essential Skills Visas might qualify for a Skilled Migrant Category Visa, which is a combined work-and-residence visa.

The New Zealand employer acts as a sponsor to the applicant. If the expat has a skill on the Skills Shortage List, no labour testing is required on the part of the employer. If the expat does not have a skill on the list, the employer must be able to show that there has been a genuine attempt to find a New Zealand citizen or resident to fill the position.

  • Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa

This Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa is a points-based visa for those wanting to live and work permanently in New Zealand. A minimum points threshold of 100 must be obtained by applicants.

Points are given for working or having a job offer in skilled employment in New Zealand, holding a recognised qualification, having skilled work experience and being under the age of 55.

It’s possible to apply for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa without meeting each and every criterion – for example, it’s not compulsory to have a job offer – but the more points one has, the more likely they are to succeed in their application.

  • Working Holiday Visa

Nationals of more than 45 countries, including the UK, Canada and the USA, are able to apply for a Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand. The Working Holiday Visa allows expats to stay and work in the country for one year, although applicants from the UK and Canada can stay for up to 23 months.  This visa is aimed at young travellers wanting to fund their travels around New Zealand.

Working Holiday Visa applicants must be between 18 and 30 or 35 years old (depending on their country of origin). They 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.

Work to Residence Visas allow holders to stay in the country for up to 30 months. After two years, the visa holder is eligible for permanent residence.

There are various categories within the Work to Residence programme. This includes skilled workers with a job offer from an accredited employer, those in occupations on the long-term skills shortage list, and expats with exceptional talents in art, culture or sport.

Those who wish to remain in New Zealand for the long term will need to start the process of applying for residence.

New Zealand permanent residents may remain in the country indefinitely. They are eligible for all of the rights and privileges of citizens, including access to healthcare, 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.