Can I travel to New Zealand as a visitor, and apply for residence from there?

9 February 2023

Knowledge base articles

If your intention is to live in New Zealand permanently, it is not recommended to travel to New Zealand as a visitor and apply for residence here.

Reasons for this include:

  1. You may be refused entry at the New Zealand border if you are not a genuine visitor.

    Genuine intentions

  2. If you are here as a visitor and decide to apply for residence, you are required to remain on a valid visa at all times during the process of your residence. This may require further visa applications for yourself and family, which require further application fees and documentation.

    Also, the outcome of these cannot be guaranteed - you must meet the policy of the visa you are applying for in order to remain in New Zealand longer. If you do not meet any of our work policies you will not be able to undertake employment during this time. Any children accompanying you may be required to pay international fees to study here during the process.

  3. Residence application processes can take several months to complete (depending on the category) and the decision can not be guaranteed.

    Visa processing times

    This means it is not advisable to move your family and belongings to New Zealand unless a resident visa has been issued to you. Doing so may incur Customs costs (importation of goods by non-residents) or further relocation costs if your application is not successful.

We recommend that you visit New Zealand at least once before making a decision to move, but also that you apply for residence from your home country. This helps to avoid any additional costs and uncertainty.