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Work Visa New Zealand from USA

New Zealand work visas give American citizens the ability to live and work in New Zealand for a certain period of time. There are many different options available, to suit those planning to stay for short periods to those intending to relocate permanently.

With so many different visas, it can be a challenge to know where to begin. Our expert and friendly team are here to help you through the process every step of the way. To get that professional, bespoke advice and step-by-step guidance, get in touch with our team by calling +44 (0)333 305 9375 or by using the callback request form online.

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    Working In New Zealand as a US Citizen

    If you want to live and work in New Zealand as a US citizen without any national ties to the country, you will need a work visa.

    Can I Work in NZ as a US citizen?

    Yes, with so many visas available you can absolutely work in New Zealand as a US citizen. If your work visa extends over 24 months, you will then be eligible for a residence visa.

    Can I Get a Working Visa for New Zealand?

    If you are an American citizen and you meet all the New Zealand work visa requirements, then you can absolutely get a working visa. To improve your chances of receiving a working visa for New Zealand, you’ll need:

    • To be fully aware the visa options so you can pick the right one for your circumstances
    • Have all the required documents
    • Have adequate insurance
    • Fill out the visa application properly
    • Be aware of your visa’s unique timeline before booking flights or making arrangements
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    What are the Different Types of Work Visas Available for US Citizens in New Zealand?

    There are many different work visas available for US citizens. Some are short-term and ideal for those who wish to travel while working, and others are designed to help Americans relocate to New Zealand to begin working in a career position. Here’s a quick rundown of the most common types of New Zealand work visa for Americans:

    Working Holiday Visa

    This visa is available to all US citizens between 18 and 30 years of age.

    Visa Type Stay Duration Application Cost Processing Time
    USA Working Holiday Visa 12 Months Working
    6 Months Studying/Training
    $455 NZD 5 Weeks Approx.
    Working Holiday Extension Visa 3 Months $455 NZD 5 Weeks Approx.

    Working Holiday Visas Requirements

    To be approved for this visa, you must:

    • Have a valid passport with at least 15 months left after the day you enter NZ
    • Be between 18 and 30 years old
    • Have a return travel ticket or the money to buy a return travel ticket
    • Have at least $4200 NZD in funds to support your stay
    • Have proof of adequate medical insuance
    • Have never had a working visa before

    Business Visas

    There are many different kinds of business visas for working professionals with a job offer from a New Zealand employer or who are being relocated by their US employer to New Zealand.

    Visa Type Explanation Stay Duration Fee Processing Time
    Accredited Employer Work Visa Work in a full time position for up to 5 years total 2 years (for under $27/hr wages), 3 years (for over $27/hr wages) and possibly extend up to 5 years total No Fee. A New Zealand employer must invite you to apply for the Accredited Employer Work Visa 7 Weeks
    Domestic Staff of a Diplomat Work Visa Work in a domestic role a a diplomatic or consular office For as long as your employer’s posting $52 Receiving Centre Fee
    $30 to $65 VAC Service Fee
    Courrier Fee – Various
    4 Weeks
    Entrepreneur Work Visa Visa for entrepreneurs who plan to set up a new business in New Zealand 3 years maximum From $3920 NZD 12 Months
    Employees of Relocating Business Resident Visa Continue working for your employer after a company relocation to NZ Indefinitely From $5,210 NZD 49 Months
    Specific Purpose Work Visa Work in NZ for the duration of a specific event or purpose Variable From $35 NZD 4 Weeks

    Business Visa Requirements

    Each New Zealand business visa comes with its own unique set of requirements. On top of the general requirements, you will need to:

    • Have a job offer for a role with more than 30 hour weeks
    • Have an accredited employer sponsor your stay

    Entertainer Work Visas

    If you work in New Zealand as an entertainer, there are a different set of work visas you can apply for.

    Visa Type Explanation Stay Duration Fee Processing Time
    Entertainers Work Visa Actors, musicians, etc working on a project For the length of the project $35 NZD 2 weeks
    Short-term Entertainment Act Visitor Visa Festival acts, short-term entertainment jobs, sporting events, etc. 3 months $35 to 45 NZD 5 weeks
    Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa For notable persons in the arts moving to work in NZ 30 months No fee 4 weeks

    Visa Requirements

    You will need to be sponsored by an approved event, promotor or organisation in order to be approved for any of these entertainer visas. If your visa is for longer than 24 months, you can begin the residence visa process to remain indefinitely.

    Skilled Migrant Work Visas

    If you are a skilled migrant who works in horticulture or viticulture industries in New Zealand, you’ll have these visas to choose from:

    Visa Type Explanation Stay Duration Fee Processing Time
    Recognised Seasonal Employer Limited Visa Work in horticulture or viticulture industry for a season 7 months in any 11-month period From $225 NZD 1 week
    Fishing Crew Work Visa Work on a fishing vessel in New Zealand waters 12 months maximum No Application fee, $52 VAC service fee, $30 to $60 courier fee 4 weeks

    Partner Visas

    If you are the partner or dependent of a current visa holder in New Zealand, then you can applyf or any of these partner visas:

    • Partner of a Student Work Visa
    • Partner of a New Zealander Work Visa
    • Partner of a Worker Work Visa
    • Partner of Military Work Visa
    • Partner of an NZ Scholarship Student Work Visa

    Partner visas do tend to take longer to process. If approved, you will usually be allowed to stay and work in NZ for as long as your partner’s visa is valid.

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      What are the Requirements for a Work Visa in New Zealand?

      Each working visa has its own unique set of requirements. Some need a job offer as part of the application, others don’t. It all depends on which visa you choose. What will remain the same from visa to visa is that you’ll need to:

      • A passport that’s valid
      • Prove your identity
      • Prove your qualifications or genuine intention
      • Prove you are in good health
      • Prove you are of good character

      What are the Common Reasons for Visa Denial in NZ for US Citizens?

      US citizens, on average, are very successful with NZ visas, but it is not guaranteed. Here are just some of the reasons why your visa may be denied:

      • You submitted an incomplete application
      • You provided incorrect information
      • Your employer is not accredited and cannot sponsor you
      • You have a criminal record
      • Your job does not meet minimum requirements
      • Your employer failed to try to hire the New Zealand workforce first

      These are just a few examples. If your visa application was rejected, and you want to know your next steps, get in touch with our team. We’ll work out what can be improved and your next steps.

      How Can Total Law Help?

      With so many different working visas to New Zealand, you are almost certain to find a route that best fits your circumstances, but that doesn’t mean that the process is easy to navigate. If you find yourself struggling with choosing the right visa, or understanding the work visa New Zealand requirements, then having professional immigration experts on your side can take all the pressure and guesswork out of the application process.

      Out team here at Total Law have years of experience in immigration, and are here to help you find the best visa, and put together a stellar application to improve your chances of approval. To get started, all you need is to get in touch with our experts at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or using the online callback form.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                How long you can stay in New Zealand depends on the type of work visa you have, as well as the wage you will receive for your work. In general, the brackets are as follows:

                Wage Bracket Maximum Visa Duration
                Meets or exceeds the $27/hour median wage 3 Years
                Below the median $27/hour median wage 2 Years

                There are many exceptions, however, so check your visas exact duration period limits.

                To get a visa for New Zealand from the USA you will need to visit and create a RealMe account or immigration account. From here you can submit your application.

                It typically takes between 7 and 9 weeks for most primary work work visas. If you are applying as a partner, then the application can take upwards of 6 months or even longer. Regularly check your emails and visa application status online for updates.

                The easiest way to get a New Zealand visa is to have a straightforward application, which means you have submitted:

                • An error-free application
                • All required evidence
                • Proof of your genuine intentions to work in New Zealand

                If you have a complex application, which can occur if you’re new to New Zealand, you have medical issues, your visa is being processed as part of a group, or there’s information the New Zealand government needs verified, then it there will be extra checks, interviews and delays.

                Yes, the easiest and most straightforward way to apply for a New Zealand visa is online through the government website.

                You typically need to show that you have enough in savings to meet the living costs while on a working travel visa (at least $4,200 NZD), or that your income meets the minimum requirements.

                Yes. Work holiday visas can be extended up to 3 months. Those who have regular working visas can apply for an extension or the working to residence visa.

                You must be at least 18 to obtain a work visa in New Zealand.