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Resident Visa for New Zealand

Becoming a resident of New Zealand can be an exciting yet sometimes complex journey, and it is important to obtain the correct immigration permissions.

If you would like professional help applying for a Resident Visa, contact our expert lawyers at Total Law by calling 0333 305 9375 or through online chat.

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    Introduction to Resident Visas

    Obtaining a permanent Resident Visa allows you to live, work, and study in the country indefinitely. There are multiple routes to obtaining a Resident Visa, all with their specific requirements and standards.

    Navigating the Resident Visa process can be challenging, stressful, and complex in some cases, requiring careful consideration of variables like eligibility, documentation, and common procedure.

    Applicants who obtain a permanent Resident Visa enjoy various benefits like subsidised or free health care, access to a modern economy, and the opportunity to settle in New Zealand indefinitely.

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    Types of Resident Visas

    The different Resident Visa types include:

    Work Resident Visas

    The most popular Work Resident Visa is the Skilled Migrant Category Visa, which allows workers with certain skills and qualifications to settle permanently in New Zealand. Applicants are assessed on age, health, employability, experience, and qualifications. The employment offered must be in demand and includes healthcare workers and drillers.

    Several other work-related visas are available to those wanting to remain living in New Zealand. Each one has different requirements but generally, applicants must be under 55 years of age, have a full-time employment offer and been based in the country for a qualifying period.

    Work Resident Visas offered by the New Zealand immigration services include:

    • Straight to Residence Visa
    • Transport Work to Residence Visa
    • Employees of Relocating Business Resident Visa
    • Care Workforce Work to Residence Visa
    • Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa
    • Long-Term Skill Shortage List Resident Visa
    • Religious Worker Resident Visa

    Entreprenuer Resident Visa 

    The Entrepreneur Resident Visa may be an option for those who are self-employed. To be approved, applicants must have been self-employed in the country for at least six months or have managed a self-employed business for two years on another visa.

    For those applying with less than two years of self-employment, it is necessary to have an Entrepreneur Work Visa, invested capital of at least NZ $500,000 and have created three or more jobs in the country.

    Family Resident Vias 

    Family Resident Visas enable family members of those already living in New Zealand. The Family Resident Visa needed will depend on your relationship and whether you are in the county.

    In most cases, the New Zealand citizen or settled family member will need to sponsor the overseas person and be able to support them financially. The visas available to qualifying family members are:

    • Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa
    • Parent Resident Visa
    • Dependent Child Resident Visa
    • Parent Retirement Resident Visa
    • Intercountry Adoption Resident Visa
    • Refugee Family Support Resident Visa

    Specialised Resident Visas

    There are several Resident Visas offered for citizens from specific countries. Each one has its own qualifying requirements, and you should reach out to an immigration specialist for further information on the following:

    • Australian Resident Visa
    • Samoa Quota Resident Visa
    • Pacific Access Category Resident Visa
    • Pitcairn Islander Resident Visa
    • South Island Contribution Resident Visa

    Resident Visa Requirements


    There are numerous Permanent Resident Visa NZ requirements when applying for a Resident Visa. You must have the correct documentation required by the visa, including a valid passport and other paperwork such as an employment contract, marriage certificate or proof of qualifications/skills.

    Applicants may also need to have a health check and disclose any details of medical issues that may be relevant.

    Demonstrating “good character” is also a key part of the Resident Visa application process so you need to provide evidence of a clean criminal record and no history of breaking immigration laws.

    Applicants must also demonstrate genuine intentions to reside in New Zealand, positively contribute to society and develop ties with the local community.

    Financial Requirements and Sponsorship

    Being financially stable and supporting yourself is essential for being approved for a residence Visa in New Zealand. Whether through your funds or a sponsorship, you need to show that you can support yourself while in New Zealand.

    The exact financial requirements for each Resident Visa differ, but you should be asked to provide details of your income and savings via payslips and bank statements.

    For example, a Skilled Migrant Resident Visa must have a job or job offer that pays at least 1.5 times the median wage (currently NZD $44.49 an hour).

    Healthcare and Insurance

    One of the main benefits of permanent residency in New Zealand is access to quality health care. New Zealand offers a wide range of medical services for a subsidised price or even free depending on individual circumstances.

    However, obtaining travel insurance and medical coverage during their transition period is still vital. Getting insured can help protect you in an unexpected illness or emergency before you transition.

    Once you officially become a resident and live in New Zealand, you’ll get access to the New Zealand Health System. From here, you can register with a local GP to receive care, treatments, and referrals to specialists if needed.

    Call us today to learn more about the process of resident visa for NZ. Contact Us

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      How Long Does it Take to Get Permanent Residency in New Zealand?


      You can submit your application online, by mail, or in person through a visa application centre. Waiting times vary drastically depending on the type of visa you are applying for, the complexity of your case, and the volume of applicants.

      The waiting time guidelines from the official New Zealand Immigration website are currently

      • Parent Resident Visa: 9 months
      • Work to Residence Visa: 9 weeks
      • Permanent Resident Visa: 4 weeks
      • Straight to Residence Visa: 6 months
      • Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa: 12 months

      Understanding the Costs Associated With Applying for a Resident Visa

      Applying for a Resident Visa involves various costs such as the visa application fee, medical examinations, courier fees and translation of non-English documents,

      The total cost will vary depending on the exact Resident Visa applied for. Still, you can expect to pay between NZD 250 to NZD 6000 per application and around NZD 300 to NZD 600 for a medical examination.

      Conditions and Duration of Stay

      Once granted a Permanent Resident Visa, you will be subject to certain conditions that outline your rights while residing in New Zealand. These conditions vary depending on the type of visa you were granted.

      While in New Zealand, you are expected to follow all the laws and maintain your residency by residing there.

      But how long can a permanent resident stay outside New Zealand? Resident Visas usually allow individuals to travel freely in and out of the country for holidays and family visits, but some visas may have specific conditions. For example, you may have to keep New Zealand as your primary residence or only be able to work in a specific occupation or with a specified employer.

      Sometimes, you may have to reapply for your Resident Visa if your circumstances change, for example, you change jobs or divorce. You must notify New Zealand immigration services of any such changes.

      How Can Total Law Help?

      Obtaining a New Zealand Residence Visa can be challenging. If you are struggling to obtain a Resident Visa for New Zealand or just feel overwhelmed by the process, Total Law can help streamline the process and maximise the chances of your application being accepted.

      We can assist with planning, advise you on the necessary documents needed, guide you on how to become eligible, and much more.

      We are experts in the New Zealand immigration field and have helped thousands of applicants succeed. Contact us at 0333 305 9375 or via our online chat.

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                Related pages for your continued reading.


                You can submit documents like a valid passport, birth certificate, or marriage certificate to prove your identity when applying for New Zealand citizenship.

                No, a residence permit is not the same as a permanent residence. While both grant individuals the right to reside in New Zealand, they differ regarding duration, eligibility criteria, and rights.

                A residence permit is a Temporary Residence Visa allowing individuals to stay in New Zealand for a specified period to work, study or reunite with family.

                Permanent residence allows an individual to stay indefinitely if they meet certain conditions without renewing their visa.