If I get a resident visa, how long do I have to move to New Zealand?

In most cases, a Resident Visa granted to an applicant who is outside of New Zealand will allow travel to New Zealand for 12 months from the date of issue.

The only exceptions to this are Resident Visas granted to applicants under the Samoan Quota Scheme and the Pacific Access Category, which allow travel to New Zealand for 3 months from their date of issue.

It is not possible to extend the 12 or 3 month period given to enter New Zealand, so you must enter New Zealand and activate your residence status before your visa expires.

Once you have entered New Zealand and your residence status is activated, your travel conditions will be valid for 2 years from the date of activation (or 5 or 10 years, if your residence was granted under Parent instructions). This means you are able to travel and re-enter NZ multiple times as a resident while the travel conditions remain valid.

If you have travelled to New Zealand to activate your Resident Visa and your travel conditions are now due to expire, you may wish to assess your eligibility for a Variation of Travel Conditions or for a Permanent Resident Visa. Information on these processes is available on our website. 

Extending the travel conditions of a resident visa

Resident to permanent resident