What is a Variation of Conditions?

Temporary visas, like work, student, or visitor visas, come with certain rules that outline what you can do during your time in New Zealand. These rules might limit things like where you can work, which school you can attend, or how long you can stay.

If your situation changes and the visa rules don’t suit you anymore, you might qualify to ask for a change in these rules, called a variation of conditions. But remember, in some cases, you might need to apply for a whole new visa instead.


You can only get a variation of conditions if the changes you want still match the reasons you got your visa in the first place. For instance, if you want to switch to a different course, you can ask to change your student visa. But if you want to go from studying to working full-time, you’ll need to apply for a work visa instead.

How to Apply

To ask for a variation of conditions, fill out the form, pay the fee, and give any needed documents to the right place listed in the ‘Fees, decision times, and where to apply’ tool. If you first applied for your visitor visa using the Immigration Online system, you can also do your Variation of Conditions application on your account there.

Application Form

INZ Form for Variation of Conditions

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Fees, Decision Times, and Where to Apply

Immigration New Zealand’s official guide on application details for Variation of Conditiions

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Specific Variations Based on Visa Type

If things change for you, like where you work or study, the rules of your New Zealand visa might not fit anymore. But don’t worry! The steps to change your visa rules vary based on the type of visa you have. Let’s look at how to do it for different visa types.

Extending Your Travel Permission on a Resident Visa

With most resident visas in New Zealand, you can travel in and out of the country for up to two years. But if you want to keep enjoying this travel flexibility and not risk losing your resident status, you'll need to apply for an extension.

How to Apply:
  1. Fill out the right form for extending your travel conditions.
  2. Provide any needed documents, like proof that you're still living in New Zealand.
  3. Pay the fee and submit your application before your travel permission runs out.

Doing this helps you stay connected to New Zealand while still being able to travel, which can be super important for work, family, or just exploring new places.

Student Visa Adjustments

If you have a student visa in New Zealand, it means you can study at a school or college that's approved by the government. But if you want to switch your course, change schools, or move to a different city for your studies, you need to update your visa.

How to Apply:
  1. Tell your current institute about your plans and get approval from the new institute.
  2. Apply to change your visa conditions. You'll need documents like acceptance letters, course info, and proof you've paid your fees.
  3. If your new course is different from your original plan, show how it still fits with your visa.

Also, some student visas let you work part-time during school and full-time on breaks. If you want to change these work rules — like for an internship — you'll need to adjust your visa too.

Work Visa Modifications or Job Change

Work visas usually come with certain rules based on your first job offer. These rules include who your employer is, where you'll work, and what your job involves. If you need to change your job details, like your role, employer, or where you work, you'll have to update your visa too.

How to Apply:
  1. Get a new job offer that explains your new role, pay, and work details.
  2. If your visa allows changes, ask for a variation to your conditions or apply for a new work visa that fits your new job.
  3. Show proof, like a new job contract and that your new job follows New Zealand's work rules.

By doing this, you make sure your visa matches your job situation and sticks to the local work laws.

Visitor Visa Adjustments

If you're on a visitor visa, you might want to tweak it a bit to fit your plans better. Whether you need more time, want to study for a short course, or do some temporary work, you can adjust your visitor visa.

Here's what you do:
  1. Check if your visa can be changed or if you need a new one.
  2. Have a good reason for the change, like joining a short study program or a cultural exchange.
  3. Fill out the application form, add any needed documents, and pay the fee.

How ICL Can Help

At ICL Immigration, we get that dealing with visa rules and applying for a Variation of Conditions (VOC) can be overwhelming. That’s why our licensed immigration advisers are ready to help you every step of the way. Here’s how we can support you:

Preparation and Submission of Your Application

  • Getting Your Application Ready: We’ll help you gather and organise all the paperwork needed for your VOC application, making sure everything is accurate and complete.
  • Form Assistance: Our experts will guide you through filling out your application forms correctly, avoiding mistakes that could slow down the process or cause rejection.
  • Submitting Your Application: We’ll take care of submitting your application, ensuring it meets all the necessary rules and looks polished and professional.

Assisting with Immigration Authorities

  • Keeping You Updated: We’ll be your go-between with immigration authorities, ensuring you stay in the loop and get timely updates on your application’s status.
  • Following Up: We’ll actively track the progress of your application and handle any questions from immigration authorities on your behalf.

Helping with Denied Applications

  • Review and Explanation: If your application gets turned down, we’ll go through the decision with you, explain why it happened, and advise if it’s worth appealing or trying again.
  • Reapplying Support: We’ll help you fix any issues from your previous application and guide you through the reapplication process to boost your chances of approval.

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Variation of Conditions Process at ICL

Learn how the process works at ICL. With ICL Immigration, you can trust us to handle every step of the process professionally and efficiently, giving you the best chance for success.

Step 1: First Chat

Begin with a thorough talk to talk about your needs and get a clear idea about your current visa and what changes you want.

Step 2: Checking Eligibility

We’ll carefully look at whether you qualify for a VOC according to the newest immigration rules.

Step 3: Collecting and Reviewing Documents

We’ll gather and check all the needed documents to make sure they meet immigration standards.

Step 4: Getting Ready

Get your application ready with careful attention to detail, making sure everything’s accurate and complete.

Step 5: Sending Your Application

Send in your application along with all the needed documents.

Step 6:  Stay in Touch

We’ll keep an eye on your application’s progress and keep you updated. If more info is needed, we’ll let you know right away.

Step 7:  Getting the Result

Once we know the outcome, we’ll inform you. If there’s an appeal or more steps needed, we’ll help with that too.


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What is a Variation of Conditions?

A Variation of Conditions (VOC) is a powerful tool that allows individuals holding a temporary visa in New Zealand—such as a work, student, or visitor visas—to change the specific conditions of their visa flexibly. This might include changing employment, educational institutions, or the purpose of the visit, giving you the freedom to adapt to new circumstances.

Who is eligible to apply for a Variation of Conditions?

Any temporary visa holder can apply for a VOC if their circumstances have changed and need to adjust their visa conditions to reflect this. However, the new conditions must be consistent with the initial intentions of the original visa grant.

How do I apply for a Variation of Conditions?

You can apply by filling out the specific VOC application form available on the Immigration New Zealand website and submitting it along with any required documentation and the applicable fees. Some visa holders may also be able to apply online through their Immigration Online account.

What documents do I need to provide for a VOC application?

The documents required depend on the type of variation you are seeking. Generally, you might need to provide:

  • Proof of your current visa status.

  • Supporting documents relevant to your new conditions (such as a new job offer, enrollment confirmation from an educational institution, etc.).

  • Are there other documents supporting your need to change the visa conditions?

How long does it take to process a Variation of Conditions application?

The duration it takes to process an application may differ based on the visa type and the intricacy of your application.

But don't worry; for the most accurate information, it's best to check the current processing times on the Immigration New Zealand website or contact them directly. We're here to support you through this process.

Can I apply for a VOC if my visa is about to expire?

Yes, you can apply for a VOC even if your visa is about to expire. However, if your passport expires while your application is processed, you may need to apply for an interim visa. An interim visa is a temporary visa that allows you to stay in New Zealand while your VOC application is being processed. Maintaining your legal status in New Zealand is essential, and an interim visa can help you do that.

What happens if my application for a Variation of Conditions is denied?

If your application is rejected, you will be sent a letter detailing the reasons for rejection. You can reapply with additional information or appeal the decision if you believe it was made incorrectly.

Is there a fee for applying for a Variation of Conditions?

Yes, there is a fee associated with applying for a VOC. The specific fee depends on the visa type and the nature of the requested change. To find the current fees, visit the Immigration New Zealand website, navigate to the 'Visa Fees' section, and look for the fees related to 'Variation of Conditions '. These are the fees that are currently applicable for VOC applications.

Can I work while my VOC application is being processed?

If you apply to change employment conditions, you can only start working in the new position once the VOC has been approved. Working outside the conditions of your current visa could result in penalties, including the potential cancellation of your visa.

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.