Why some visa applications take longer to process than others

Find out what slows us down when processing your visa application, and how you can help minimise delays.

There are many factors that can slow down a visa application. In some cases there are actions you can take to speed up the processing of your visa application.

Information about your application

Check your application status

To find out information on your visa application status you can log in to your Immigration Online account and check your visa status.

Checking your visa application status

Check if we have emailed you

We may have emailed you asking for more information and have had no response. For example, we may have asked for more medical information or photos. Check the email account you used for your visa application and search for emails from Immigration New Zealand.


Make sure to also check your junk and spam folders.

Complex vs straightforward applications

Complex applications

One reason your application might be taking longer than expected is if your application is complex. These are some of the factors that can make your application complex:

  • You are applying to come to New Zealand for the first time.
  • You or someone included in your application have medical issues or a history of medical issues.
  • Your application is part of a group application.
  • We are waiting on information from others, for example, organisations that provide international qualification information or police certificates.
  • Your application has information that requires further review. For example, your travel history, or links and circumstances in your home country.
  • Your previous travel to New Zealand raised concerns with us. For example, you stayed in New Zealand after your visa expired.
  • You or someone included in your application have declared character issues, and we are assessing if you are of good character.

Good character for temporary visas

Straightforward applications

If your application is straightforward, it is more likely that we will be able to process it within the timeframes we advise.

How long it takes to process an application

A straightforward application:

  • includes all required evidence
  • has no mistakes or typos within the application
  • shows that you have genuine intentions to visit, study or work in New Zealand.

Genuine intentions to visit, study or work in New Zealand

Other factors that can affect processing times

If you have a sponsor

If you are applying for a Visitor Visa online and your application is being sponsored, your sponsor must complete an online form. We cannot process your application until your sponsor completes this form.

Check in with your sponsor. Find out if they have completed the online form and, if not, remind them to do so.

Process to become a sponsor

Evidence provided with your application

Only include evidence that we ask for in your application. If you include additional evidence that we have not asked for this can slow down the processing time for your visa. If you have provided evidence with your application that is in the wrong format, outdated or that is not in English, this could also slow down the processing time for your visa.

File formats for uploading documents and photographs

Providing English translations of supporting documents

Your visa application could also be slowed down if you have sent us your original passport. If you applied for your visa online you only need to provide a photo of your passport, not the original.

Providing your passport for online applications

AEWV applications based on a reused job token

For AEWV applications based on a reused job token, we will generally only start processing an application when your current AEWV expiry date is within the next 9 months, or as our processing capacity allows.

Maximum continuous stay and longer visa length for the AEWV

Peak seasons

Some visa types have more applications than normal at certain times of the year.

Visitor visas

October to February

We get more Visitor Visa applications during this period as this is when New Zealand's summer is. This means that more tourists want to come here during this time.

Student visas

November to March

We get more student visa applications during this period because the academic year for New Zealand universities normally starts in February or March.