Visa process overview

An overview of the steps to choosing a New Zealand visa, preparing an application and visa processing. If you need a visa, use the online tool to compare visa options and requirements to help you decide.

Decide which visa to apply for

Visa options include those that allow you to work, study, visit, bring or join family, stay longer or live permanently in New Zealand.

Explore and select a visa

Check the visa requirements

Check the visa you are applying for to see the specific requirements you need to meet.

You may need to meet specific requirements for your:

  • health
  • character and identity 
  • financial situation
  • skills and qualifications
  • length of time you have lived in New Zealand.

We will ask you to provide supporting evidence that you meet the visa's requirements in your application. 

Some visas require you to first submit an expression of interest (EOI) before you apply for a visa.

Prepare your documents

Allow enough time for you to get any official documents we ask for, and to get them translated into English if they are not already.

Translating supporting documents into English

Apply online or on paper

You must pay all visa fees.

The application process depends on the type of visa you apply for and if you are applying online or on paper.

Process for applying online

You can search for and download paper application forms available in a PDF format.

Application forms, guides and checklists

We process your application

How long you wait for a decision about your visa depends on a number of factors, including:

  • which visa you applied for
  • where you apply from
  • how many other visa applications we have received.

Waiting for a visa


We receive high numbers of applications between November and March. This means it may take us longer to process your visa application during this time.