How we process visa applications

Find out what we check when we process a visa application and when we may ask you for extra information.

What we check when we process an application

When we process your application we:

  • check that you meet the rules and criteria set out in the immigration instructions for the visa you have applied for
  • consider whether you are a genuine applicant
  • verify the information and documents you provided
  • confirm details of your relationship with your partner or family members, if applicable.

Your documents and evidence

With your application you must send us documents and evidence to show us that you meet our criteria. We can usually process your application more quickly if you provide all relevant information, including translations.

Translating supporting documents into English

If we think you have not given us enough information to make a decision about your visa, we may ask you to:

  • send us other photographs, documents or information
  • show us evidence of your onward travel, such as plane tickets
  • have a medical examination
  • attend an interview.

If you do not supply all the information needed to support your application, it could take us longer to process it or we could decide not to grant you a visa.

False, misleading or withheld information in visa applications

If you are not in New Zealand when you apply

If you apply from outside New Zealand for a visa to visit, study or work here, we do not have to ask you for more information before we make a decision. It is your responsibility to make sure you provide all the information you want us to consider.

We may ask you to comment if we learn something about you that is not publicly available. We will not ask you to comment about something you have already told us about in an earlier visa application.

If we decline your visa application and you still want to come to New Zealand, you must make a new application.

How long it takes to process an application

How long you wait for a decision about your visa depends on a number of factors, including:

  • which visa you applied for
  • where you apply from
  • how many other visa applications we have received.

Waiting for a visa


We receive high numbers of applications between November and March. This means it may take us longer to process your visa application during this time.