Knowledge base articles

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

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 are:

  1. You may be refused entry at the New Zealand border if you are not a genuine bona fide visitor.
  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/extending 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, and if children are accompanying you, they will be required to pay international fees to study here during the process.
  3. Residence application process can take several months to complete (depending on the category) and the decision can not be guaranteed. It is not, therefore, advisable to move your family and belongings to New Zealand unless a residence visa has been issued to you, as this may incur Customs costs (importation of goods by non-residents) or further relocation costs (if your application is not successful).

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

Bona fide visitor