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What is a New Zealand Resident Visa?

  • Annual Application: Over 70,000 individuals from across the globe choose New Zealand for residency each year, highlighting its appeal due to the country’s strong economy and diverse career opportunities.
  • Eligibility: Primarily aimed at skilled workers, entrepreneurs, and those with family ties in New Zealand, ensuring that applicants contribute positively to the economy and society.
  • Renewability: Some resident visas are subject to conditions and may require renewal after two years; however, they can lead to Permanent Resident Visa status, which does not require renewal.
  • Travel Rights: Allows multiple entries into New Zealand, enabling residents to travel internationally and return without applying for a new visa.
  • Healthcare and Education: Provides access to New Zealand’s public healthcare system and the opportunity to attend schools and universities at domestic student rates.
  • Family Reunification: Offers the opportunity to sponsor family members for residency, helping to keep families together.
  • Pathway to Citizenship: Holding a Resident Visa for a specified period can make you eligible to apply for New Zealand citizenship, offering you the chance to participate fully in New Zealand’s democratic society.
  • NZ Immigration Cost:Varies depending on Visa type. For Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa – Starts from NZD 4290; Parent Resident Visa – Starts from NZD 3180.
  • Visa Quota – Varies depending on Visa category,like Parent Resident Visa – 2500 each year.

Note – Cost & NZ Visa Quota entirely depends on the NZ Immigration and can change based on government decision.

If you are ready to start a new life in New Zealand, contact us today to learn more about how we can help you obtain your Resident Visa.

Free Eligibility Assessment

What are the various categories of Resident Visas available in New Zealand?

  • Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa 
    • Criteria: Based on skills, experience, and an offer of skilled employment in New Zealand.
    • Benefits: Offers the opportunity to live, work, and study in New Zealand indefinitely.
    • Path to Citizenship: Can lead to New Zealand citizenship after meeting residence requirements.
  • Family Category Visas 
    • Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa: For those in a relationship with a New Zealand citizen or resident.
    • Parent Retirement Resident Visa: For parents of New Zealand citizens or residents to join their family in New Zealand if they have an investment to make.
    • Benefits: Enables families to live together in New Zealand, contributing to community cohesion and personal well-being.
  • Investor Resident Visas 
    • Criteria: Requires a substantial investment in New Zealand over a set period.
    • Benefits: Provides a pathway to residency for those who contribute economically through investment.
    • Renewal and Citizenship: Allows for living, working, and studying in New Zealand, with a pathway to citizenship.
  • Entrepreneur Resident Visa 
    • Criteria: For individuals running a business in New Zealand on an Entrepreneur Work Visa.
    • Benefits: Allows entrepreneurs to live in New Zealand indefinitely to continue growing their businesses.
    • Contribution: Encourages economic growth and job creation in New Zealand.
  • Long-Term Skill Shortage List Resident Visa 
    • Criteria: Aimed at individuals who have worked in New Zealand in a job on the Long Term Skill Shortage List.
    • Benefits: Offers a direct pathway to residency for those filling critical skill gaps, improving New Zealand’s economic capabilities.
  • Special Resident Visas 
    • Permanent Resident Visa: For those who already have a Resident Visa and have met certain conditions.
    • Interim Visa: Provides temporary status while a Resident Visa application is processed.
    • Specific Purpose or Event Visas: For individuals with skills or attributes that benefit New Zealand.

What is the New Zealand Resident Visa application process?


When it comes to applying for a New Zealand Resident Visa, there are specific steps you need to take to ensure a smooth and successful application. At ICL, we’re here to guide you through every stage of the process.

Step 1: Gather Your Documentation

To apply for a New Zealand Resident Visa, you must have all the relevant supporting documentation. This includes proof of your qualifications, work experience and financial resources. The exact requirements will vary depending on the type of Resident Visa you are applying for.

Step 2: Complete the Application Form

Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, you can fill out the Resident Visa application form. Make sure you provide accurate and complete information to avoid any delays or complications. In some cases, it may be necessary to include the contact information of previous employers for employment history verification.

Step 3: Submit Your Application

After you have completed the application form and gathered all the required documents, you can submit your application for review. You will also need to pay an application fee at this stage. Your Immigration adviser at ICL double and triple-check your application to make sure everything is ready for your case officer.

Step 4: Wait for a Decision

After submitting your application, you will need to wait for a decision from Immigration New Zealand (INZ). The decision can be to accept, decline or postpone your application. In some cases, you may be asked to provide additional information or attend an interview.

Step 5: Receive your Resident Visa

If your application is successful, you will be issued a New Zealand Resident Visa by INZ.

Congratulations, you are now free to live, work and travel in New Zealand indefinitely!

If you’re considering applying for a Resident Visa, get in touch with one of our friendly consultants via email ( or call us at 09 369 1681 or 021 039 1964 today. Let us help you make your dream of living in New Zealand a reality!

Why choose ICL for your New Zealand Resident Visa needs?

Navigating the complex and stressful process of applying for a New Zealand Resident Visa can be daunting, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the legal requirements and documentation needed for a successful application. That’s why it’s wise to seek the help of a visa application expert like ICL.

Each year, hundreds of individuals who want to make New Zealand their home choose ICL to assist with their Resident Visa applications. With an average success rate of 97% over the last 20 years, we have the knowledge and experience to help you achieve your goal of obtaining a Resident Visa.

Here are some of the other benefits you can expect when you work with ICL:

  • A dedicated Resident Visa advisor who will guide you through every step of the application process
  • Years of experience and expertise in handling applications for various types of Resident Visas
  • A hassle-free experience where we take care of all the necessary paperwork and documentation
  • A higher likelihood of obtaining your Resident Visa
  • ICL has a one-time flat fee for each visa process which means no hourly rates or surprise invoices

If you’re unsure about which type of Resident Visa is right for you, or you don’t know where to start, then our free assessment was created just for you.

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What Is a Resident Visa in New Zealand?

A Resident Visa in New Zealand permits indefinite living, working, and studying in the country. It offers most rights of a New Zealand citizen, excluding voting rights and holding a New Zealand passport.

What Are the Different Types of Resident Visas in New Zealand?

New Zealand offers several types of Resident Visas:

  • Work to Resident Visa: For individuals with specific skills or job offers.

  • Care Workforce Work to Residence Visa: For healthcare workers with relevant qualifications.

  • Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa: Points-based visa for skilled workers (minimum points threshold subject to change).

  • Straight to Residence Visa: For highly skilled or talented individuals in specific sectors.

  • Highly Paid Residence Visa: For individuals earning significantly above the median wage (exact threshold available on Immigration New Zealand's website).

  • Partnership Residence Visa: For partners of New Zealand citizens or residents, requiring proof of a genuine and stable relationship.

Eligibility for the Work to Resident Visa?

Typically requires employment in a role listed on the Long-Term Skill Shortage List, or a job offer from an accredited employer in New Zealand.

Who Can Apply for the Care Workforce Work to Residence Visa?

Care workers in New Zealand, needing specific qualifications (as outlined by New Zealand's standards) and relevant work experience in healthcare.

Process for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa?

Applicants are assessed based on age, work experience, qualifications, and a job offer in New Zealand. The current pass mark is dynamic and can be checked on Immigration New Zealand's website or connect with us for more information.

Criteria for the Straight to Residence Visa?

Aimed at highly skilled professionals or individuals with exceptional talent in specific areas, requiring evidence of significant contributions or expertise.

Details of the Highly Paid Residence Visa?

For professionals earning above a certain income threshold, typically set above the median wage in New Zealand (exact figures subject to change).

Who Is Eligible for the Partnership Residence Visa?

Partners of New Zealand citizens or residents, requiring proof of a genuine and stable relationship for at least 12 months.

Application Process for a Resident Visa?

Applications involve submitting forms and supporting documents online through Immigration New Zealand. Each visa category has specific document requirements.

Family Inclusion on a Resident Visa?

Most visas allow the inclusion of partners and dependent children under 24 years, subject to meeting health and character requirements.

Language Requirements for Resident Visas?

English proficiency is typically required. The level of proficiency and type of test accepted varies by visa type.

Difference Between Resident and Permanent Resident Visas?

Resident Visas have initial travel conditions typically valid for 2 years. Permanent Resident Visas offer indefinite stay without travel restrictions.

Processing Times for Resident Visa Applications?

Processing times vary by visa type, ranging from several months to over a year. Check the Immigration New Zealand website for current processing times or connect with us for more information.

Work Restrictions on Resident Visas?

Generally, no specific work location restrictions unless specified by the visa, such as those under the Skilled Migrant Category.

What to Do if a Resident Visa Application Is Declined?

Applicants can address the reasons provided by Immigration New Zealand in a new application or explore alternative visa options.

ICL Immigration's Role in Resident Visa Applications?

ICL Immigration assists with eligibility assessment, application preparation, document advice, and ongoing support throughout the process.

What Is a Class Visa in New Zealand, and How Does It Relate to Resident Visas?

A class visa in New Zealand refers to a specific category under which resident visas are issued. It defines the terms and conditions, including duration, work rights, and travel limitations. Understanding the class of your resident visa is crucial for compliance with New Zealand immigration laws.

How Does Investing in New Zealand Affect Resident Visa Eligibility?

Individuals who have invested significantly in New Zealand can apply for a resident visa under the Investor categories. These visas are for those who intend to invest a substantial amount of money in New Zealand businesses or government bonds.

What Are the Conditions for Staying in New Zealand on a Temporary Entry Class Visa?

Temporary entry class visas, such as visitor or student visas, have specific conditions like duration of stay, work rights, and study limitations. These must be adhered to strictly to maintain legal status in New Zealand.

What are the eligibility criteria for a Work to Residence visa for care workers in New Zealand?

Care workers in New Zealand who meet specific eligibility criteria can apply for a Work to Residence visa, allowing them to live and work in the country with the pathway to residency. Find out more about the requirements and application process on our care workforce work to residence visa page.

How Can Business Owners in New Zealand Apply for a Resident Visa?

Business owners can apply for a resident visa under the Entrepreneur category, which requires them to set up or purchase a business in New Zealand and actively participate in its management.

What Are the Requirements to Apply for a Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand?

To apply for a permanent resident visa, individuals must have held a resident visa for at least two years, demonstrate a commitment to New Zealand, and meet other criteria like spending a minimum number of days in the country (184 days in each of the last two years).

Can Resident Visa Holders Sponsor Family Members to Join Them in New Zealand?

Yes, resident visa holders can sponsor eligible family members, such as partners and dependent children, for residence under the family sponsorship category, subject to meeting specific eligibility criteria.

What Happens After Meeting the Conditions of Your Resident Visa?

Once you meet the conditions of your resident visa, such as the initial two-year travel condition, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent resident visa, allowing unrestricted travel to and from New Zealand.

What Constitutes a 'Commitment to New Zealand' for Permanent Residency?

A commitment to New Zealand is assessed by factors like the time spent in New Zealand during the resident visa period, establishing a home, or contributing to the community or local economy.

How Can a Temporary Visa Serve as a Pathway to Residence in New Zealand?

A temporary visa, such as a work or student visa, can serve as a pathway to residence by allowing individuals to gain the necessary experience, qualifications, or relationships in New Zealand. This experience can then be leveraged to meet the criteria for various residence class visas.

What Are the Different Categories of Residence Class Visas in New Zealand?

Residence class visas in New Zealand include the Skilled Migrant Category, Family Category (including Partnership Visa), Investor and Entrepreneur Visas, and other specific categories like the Long-Term Skill Shortage List Visa. Each category has unique eligibility requirements and conditions.

Is It Common to Start with a Temporary Visa Before Applying for a Resident Visa?

Yes, it is common to start with a temporary visa, such as a work or student visa, before applying for a resident visa. This approach allows individuals to establish themselves in New Zealand and meet specific requirements that make them eligible for resident status.

What Are the Benefits of Transitioning from a Temporary Visa to a Residence Class Visa?

Transitioning from a temporary visa to a residence class visa provides several benefits, including increased stability, longer duration of stay, the possibility of family inclusion, and a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship.

How Does ICL Immigration Assist with Moving from a Temporary Visa to a Residence Visa?

ICL Immigration assists clients in transitioning from a temporary visa to a residence visa by assessing their eligibility, advising on the best pathway based on their circumstances, assisting with document preparation, and guiding them through the application process.

Can Holders of Temporary Visas Include Family Members in Their Residence Visa Application?

Yes, holders of temporary visas who are applying for a residence visa can often include their family members in their application. This includes partners and dependent children, subject to meeting the relevant criteria and providing the necessary documentation.

What Are the Key Considerations When Applying for a Residence Class Visa after Holding a Temporary Visa?

Key considerations include ensuring continuous legal status, meeting specific criteria for the residence visa category, preparing and submitting the necessary documentation, and understanding the timeframes and processes involved.

How Long Should I Hold a Temporary Visa Before I Can Apply for a Residence Visa?

The duration for holding a temporary visa before applying for a residence visa varies depending on the visa category. For example, work visa holders may need to work in New Zealand for a specific period to qualify for certain residence visas.

What Are the Differences in Rights and Responsibilities Between Temporary Visas and Residence Class Visas?

Temporary visas generally have more restrictions and a shorter duration of stay compared to residence class visas. Residence visas offer more rights, such as the ability to work for any employer and access to certain public services and benefits.

How Can Business Owners on a Temporary Visa Plan for Residence in New Zealand?

Business owners on a temporary visa can plan for residence by meeting the criteria under the Entrepreneur or Investor residence categories. This includes successfully establishing or investing in a business in New Zealand and contributing to its economy.

Disclaimer: The information provided is subject to change based on New Zealand government policies. For the most current information, please refer to Immigration New Zealand or contact ICL Immigration for updated guidance.

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