Answers to some of the most common immigration-related questions.
How long will it take Immigration New Zealand to process my visa application?
How do I check the progress of my visa application?
How do I apply for a visa to work in New Zealand?
How do I apply for a visa to study in New Zealand?
Where do I access immigration application forms?
How do I apply to come to New Zealand as a skilled migrant?
How do I apply to come to New Zealand as a partner or parent of a New Zealand resident or citizen?
How do I apply to extend my temporary permit to remain in New Zealand longer?
What fees do I have to pay to make an immigration application?
How do I apply for a permanent residence class visa to New Zealand?
The time it will take for us to process your application can vary depending on:
Processing times can also vary between offices. When we accept your application, we will either give you a decision, or tell you within 14 days, how long the processing time is predicted to be.
The amount of verification your application requires can affect the amount of time it takes to process your application. Applications that require the most verification; for example work visa or residence applications, typically take the longest to process.
We may find that you need to provide us with further information before we can make a decision on your application, which will also add to the processing time.
Tips to help you with the application process
Once we have accepted your application, you will be given the contact details of the person processing it.
If you applied online, you can check the status of your application by logging into your Online Services account and visiting ‘What’s Happening?’
If you applied using a paper form, but want to be able to check your status online, you can provide details on your form that will give you an online enquiry option. This will allow you to set up an account on the site and receive updates.
If you contact us through our Online Help system, we will be able to tell you the status of your application.
We are unable to provide information about decisions through email. You may be able to get more detailed information by phone, but decisions will not be discussed until you have been notified in writing.
If you are using an immigration advisor you should also get in touch with them to find out whether they are aware of any problems or delays.
Which type of visa and you apply for depends on why you want to come here, the skills you have to offer, and how long you want to stay.
The Skilled Migrant Category is for people who have the skills, qualifications, and experience we need, and who want to live and work permanently in New Zealand.
The Work to Residence Category allows you to get a temporary work visa and as a step towards gaining permanent residence. Applicants may be qualified in occupations that are in demand in New Zealand, or may have exceptional talent in sports or the arts.
The Residence from Work Category is for people who are already in New Zealand on a work to residence visa, and want to apply for residence.
If you are a key employee of a business that is relocating its operations to New Zealand, you can apply for a work visa, and later a residence visa,under our Employee of a Relocating Company Category.
We grant temporary work visas to people who have a job offer from a New Zealand employer, people skilled in occupations that are in demand here, people coming here for a particular purpose or event, and people who want to gain work experience or work after studying in New Zealand. Find out about the options for temporary work in New Zealand.
If you’re aged between 18 and 30 years you may be eligible to experience life in New Zealand on a working holiday.
Our Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Work category is for temporary workers from overseas to work in the horticulture and viticulture industries.
Everyone who comes to study in New Zealand from overseas must meet certain rules and requirements. If you are coming to New Zealand to study for more than three months, you will need a student visa.
To find out whether you need a visa, whether you'll qualify, and what a student visa will allow you to do, visit Can I study in New Zealand?
All immigration forms and guides can be accessed (in PDF format) by visiting forms and guides.
Filling in the application forms as requested, and ensuring all relevant information required is included, will help to speed up the processing of your application. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant unprocessed.
If you’ve got the skills we need and want to make New Zealand your long-term destination, our Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) offers you the opportunity to move to New Zealand to work and live permanently.
See our Partner of a New Zealand resident or Parents of New Zealand residents pages.
As you must be on a valid visa at all times while in New Zealand, you must either obtain a further temporary entry visa to remain in New Zealand, or you may depart New Zealand and wait for your residence decision offshore (please advise your immigration officer of your contact details in this case).
To obtain a further visa, you must meet the current requirements as specified in the immigration instructions for the visa type you wish to apply for. Please refer to visit, study, and work, for further information and application forms.
Our office and fees finder will help you determine your specific application fee. Application fees differ depending on the type of visa you are applying for and your current location.
Please assess yourself against our permanent residence visa instructions before applying for this visa.