Knowledge base articles

Will I lose my New Zealand residence status if I travel abroad?

As long as you have a Resident Visa with valid travel conditions or a Permanent Resident Visa (PRV) in your valid passport when you return to New Zealand, your residence status will not be affected if you travel overseas.

A valid Returning Residents Visa with valid travel conditions (granted prior to 29 November 2010) will also allow you to return to New Zealand as a resident.

If you have a Permanent Resident Visa (PRV) in your passport, you may return to New Zealand at any time and continue your residence here.

If your Resident Visa has travel conditions on it, you must return to New Zealand before the expiry date of those travel conditions in order to resume your residence in New Zealand.

Your eligibility for further travel conditions or a PRV may be affected by the time you have spent outside of New Zealand. For more information on this, refer to the article below.

When and how can I apply for a Permanent Resident Visa

I moved to New Zealand and I've never left, but I don't know if I hold a Permanent Resident Visa.

Permanent Resident Visas were only introduced in the 2009 Immigration Act. Some people who made New Zealand their home before this time have never travelled outside New Zealand since arriving, and may not be aware their residence visa may end when they leave the country.

Migrants who arrived in New Zealand after World War II, under the Assisted Passage scheme, may not have any paper records of their arrival. Up to the 198os migrant children may have not held a passport of their own and were permitted to enter New Zealand on their parent's passport. These people may  never have been granted a Permanent Resident Visa in their own right. Other people were granted a single-entry Residence Permit on arrival under the 1987 Immigration Act, and are not aware they need to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa.

If you do not have written confirmation you hold a Permanent Resident Visa (and you do not have proof of New Zealand citizenship) it is important you contact the Immigration New Zealand Contact Centre before departing New Zealand, to clarify your visa status in NZ. Alternatively, you can submit a request for a Confirmation of Visa.