Fishing Crew Work Visa

Visa details

Apply for this visa to work as crew on a fishing vessel in New Zealand waters. You must have a job offer and the skills and experience to do the role.

Length of stay
Up to

12 months

NZD $700
Processing time
90% within
49 days
With this visa you can
  • Work in a fishing vessel in New Zealand waters.
  • Do only the work for the employer who offered it to you.
Things to note
  • If you do any work on land or for another employer, you’ll have to leave New Zealand and you won’t be able to return.
  • It’s a good idea to keep your seaman’s book up-to-date. A seaman’s book is a good way to show us you have the necessary experience to apply for a work visa.
  • You can't include a partner or dependent children in your visa application.

Who can apply

The criteria and evidence below will provide you with the information you need to provide to meet the requirements of this visa.

View All Evidence


You must provide proof of your identity

You must provide proof of your identity:

Acceptable photos

You may provide your original passport, or a certified copy when you submit your application. If you provide a certified copy we may request your original passport to complete your application.

  1. Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after you plan to leave New Zealand.

  2. Also provide a copy of your Identity card.

  3. Also provide your:

    • Hukou (household registration book)
    • Chinese identity card.
  4. If you are a citizen of China and you submit a paper application form in China, you must also complete a supplementary form.

    Supplementary form for Chinese citizens (INZ 1027) PDF 338KB

  5. If you are submitting a paper application form, you must provide a supplementary form for Hong Kong and Macao visitors, workers and students.

    Supplementary form for Hong Kong and Macao visitors, workers and students (INZ 1220) PDF 240KB


You must be of good character

You may need to provide police certificates as proof of your good character.

If you are aged 17 or older and plan to stay in New Zealand for more than 24 months (including any time you have already spent in New Zealand), you must provide police certificates from:

  • any country you are a citizen of
  • any country you have spent more than 5 years in since you turned 17.

You do not need to provide police certificates if:

  • you have provided them to us with an earlier visa application, and
  • they were issued in the previous 24 months.

Good character

How to get a police certificate

  1. If you provide a police certificate that is not in English, you must provide an English translation.

    This includes police certificates that record no convictions.

Your employer

Your employer must be allowed to recruit foreign workers

For your employer to be allowed to recruit foreign workers, they must either:

  • have a current Approval in Principle (AIP) from INZ to recruit foreign workers
  • be recruiting 6 or fewer crew members for work on a single vessel in a calendar year

You must provide information about your employer with your visa application. This can be either:

  • an AIP letter from your employer
  • a ‘Supplementary Form for Foreign Crew of a Fishing Vessel’ completed by your employer.

We won’t normally grant a visa if your employer is included on the list of non-compliant employers maintained by the Labour Inspectorate.

Supplementary Form for Foreign Crew of a Fishing Vessel (INZ 1213) PDF 309KB

List of non-compliant employers

New Zealand job offer

You must have an offer to work on a fishing vessel in New Zealand waters

You must provide a written employment agreement in English, which must:

  • agree to pay you at least the New Zealand minimum wage plus another NZ $4.00 an hour 
  • agree to pay you for all the hours you work and not less than 42 hours a week on average over the time you spend working in New Zealand waters
  • include information on what to you if you have a disagreement with your employer
  • detail any deductions, eg for food, visa application fees and airfares
  • if it’s from a New Zealand employer, comply with New Zealand employment law
  • if it’s from a foreign employer, comply with the standard principles for Crew employment agreements.

Standard principles for crew employment agreements

Employment agreements

  1. Your employer must provide you with a copy of your employment agreement in your own language too. 

    Important Information for Foreign Crews Working in New Zealand Fisheries Waters (INZ 1214) PDF 233KB

  2. Job offer scams are common in India and South Asia, ensure your job offer is genuine.

    How to determine how realistic the job offer is

Work experience

You must be qualified by training or experience to do the work you’re offered

You must have at least 12 months’ work experience in a position that’s similar that the one you’ve been offered. Evidence can include:

  • your seaman’s log
  • letters from previous employers.
  1. Your employer can’t pay you less than they’d have to pay a New Zealander to do the work.


Your employer must agree to cover the costs of your accommodation, living expenses, and return home

Your New Zealand employer or their agent in New Zealand must complete a ‘Sponsorship Form for Temporary Entry’.

Sponsorship Form for Temporary Entry (INZ1025) PDF 414KB

Process and costs

The information below will help you understand the process, timeframes and costs involved in applying for this visa, so you can plan ahead and have the best chance of submitting a complete application.


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How to submit

Payment methods and receiving centre details if applicable.


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These are the conditions that you must meet once you have your visa.

Entry permission

You must apply for entry permission when you arrive in New Zealand. You can do this by completing an arrival card, which you are given on the way to New Zealand.

Arriving in New Zealand

  • You can be refused entry permission if:

    • you don’t meet our character requirements
    • your circumstances have changed since you were granted a visa
    • you refuse to let us to take your photo, or provide us with your fingerprints or an iris scan, if we ask you for them.


Most visitors to New Zealand are granted multiple entry visas.

If you have a multiple entry visa, you can travel to and from New Zealand as many times as you like before your visa expires.
If you have a single entry visa, your visa will expire when you leave New Zealand.

  • If applying from inside New Zealand, we will normally give multiple entry travel conditions when we grant a visa.

    If there are no multiple entry travel conditions and you leave New Zealand the visa will expire.

    The travel conditions will be listed on the visa label or in a visa letter.


You can only work in New Zealand waters, on the New Zealand or foreign chartered fishing vessel, and for the employer listed in your visa.

  • You can’t work on land or for any other employer.


You can study for up to 3 months.

Visa expiry

You must leave New Zealand before your visa expires.

  • Visa expiry dates are printed on a visa label or included in a visa letter.