You need to pay the correct fee when you lodge your application. The amount you have to pay varies depending on the type of application, your country of citizenship and where you currently live. There are two ways to find out the fee you have to pay:
We cannot refund the fee once your application has been accepted for processing. The same amount of work is involved whether we decide to approve or decline your application.
People who are applying for residence should be aware of our migrant levy.
In most cases, your application will be processed at the Immigration New Zealand office where you lodged your application. However in some cases we may decide your application should be processed at a different office. If we decide this, we will let you know which office will be processing your application.
As soon as your application has been accepted for processing, we will send you an acknowledgement letter telling you either the name of the officer looking after your application and how to contact them, or the likely date that an officer will be available to assess your application.
In the acknowledgement letter we may also ask you to provide any further information or documents. We may also return original documents like passports and birth certificates at this stage.
The work involved in processing your application typically involves:
Before making a decision on your application, we may also ask you to:
The time it will take for us to process your application can vary depending on:
Processing times can also vary between offices. See our branch pages for information on processing times.
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.
If you are already in New Zealand on a temporary visa and are awaiting a decision on a further temporary visa, you can now be granted an interim visa. This new type of visa allows you to maintain lawful status in New Zealand if your current visa expires while we are considering your application.
It is recommended that you submit your application at least two weeks before the expiry date of your current visa to allow us to make a decision on whether to grant an interim visa. Note that no one is entitled to an interim visa as a matter of right and there is no guarantee an interim visa will be granted.
Below are some tips that can help the application process.
The best way to ensure the application process goes well is to include all the information and documentation we require with your application form.
The application form will say whether you need to include certified copies, originals or photocopies. You should include appropriate English translations if necessary.
If you are coming to New Zealand on a temporary visa, but there is a chance that you might apply for residence in the future, think ahead. Check what documents are required for a residence application and bring them with you (originals or certified copies). It is easier and quicker than having to go back to your home country to get them later, or asking friends or family to retrieve the documents for you.
Make sure your passport is current up to three months after arriving in New Zealand, and that it has enough space in it for a visa to be added. If you don’t yet have a passport or it is unavailable, you can provide your birth certificate or other identity document. However, assuming your application is successful, you will need to have a passport at the time a decision is made on your application so we can place a visa in it.
If you are already in New Zealand and applying for a further visa, please do not leave your application until just before your current visa expires. If your visa expires you will have to leave New Zealand.
Once we have accepted your application you will be given the contact details of the person processing your application.
If you applied online, you can check the status of your application by logging into your Online Services account and going to ‘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.
You can also find information through our Online Help system, or contact us and we will be able to tell you the status of your online application. We are unable to provide information about decisions through email. You will be able to get more information by phone, but decisions will not be discussed until you have received the decision in writing.
If you are using an agent or consultant, you should also get in touch with them to find out whether they are aware of any problems or delays.