Visa application groups

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) uses visa application groups to manage and prioritise applications for processing.

Visa application groups link visa types that are either:

  • Part of one overarching policy
  • A category with different but associated visa policies
  • Grouped together in the Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ) Operational Manual.

The Operational Manual is INZ’s guide to processing all visa applications. It sets out visa policy and instructions we use to process applications.

Operational Manual

We generally process applications in the order we receive them, from oldest to newest. There are exceptions set by INZ that have priority and are processed first. All exceptions are either listed in the General Instructions or within the application type in the Operational Manual.

General Instructions

We publish processing timeframes for individual visas separately.

How long it takes to process a visa application

Residence application groups

Business group

  • Active Investor Plus Visa
  • Employees of Relocating Business Resident Visa
  • Entrepreneur Resident Visa
  • Global Impact Permanent Residence Visa

Family Residence group

  • Dependent Child Resident Visa
  • Intercountry Adoption Resident Visa
  • Parent Retirement Resident Visa
  • Parent Resident Visa
  • Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa

Skilled Residence group

  • Care Workforce Work to Residence Visa
  • Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa
  • Straight to Residence Visa
  • Work to Residence Visa
  • Transport Work to Residence Visa

2021 Residence Visa group

  • 2021 Resident Visa

Residence from Work group

  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Resident Visa
  • Religious Worker Resident Visa
  • South Island Contribution Resident Visa
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa
  • Talent (Arts, Culture and Sports) Resident Visa

Special Residence group

Special categories for certain nationalities

  • Pitcairn Islander Resident Visa
  • Samoan Quota Resident Visa
  • Pacific Access Category Resident Visa

Refugee and Protection Category group

Special residence categories

  • Afghan Emergency Resettlement Category
  • Christchurch Response (2019) Permanent Resident Visa
  • Community Sponsored Refugee Resident Visa
  • Refugee Family Support Resident Visa
  • Refugee and Protection Category
  • Trafficking Victim Resident Visa
  • Victims of Family Violence Resident Visa

Temporary entry groups

Temporary entry visas are grouped in one of five visa application groups: visitor, work, student, limited and interim.

All temporary entry visa groups are processed in the order we receive them, from oldest to newest.