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Straight to Residence Visa for NZ

The Straight to Residence Visa is for overseas nationals who have a job offer that fulfils roles with occupational shortages and contributes to New Zealand’s workforce and economy.

A Straight to Residence Visa permits holders to live and work in New Zealand without time limitations. Successful applicants will bypass the exact timeframes for residency existing on temporary NZ visas. It is available for select job roles and current employment with an accredited employer.

It typically takes 3-5 months to process these visas and can take up to 18 months. If you need to know your eligibility for an accredited employer work visa or residence visa straight away, we can help you expedite the process.

Our lawyers can assist in navigating the law, liaise with immigration New Zealand, and submit an application on your behalf. We can help you with the requirements, supporting documents, and application process. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or complete our online contact form for immediate response.

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    Straight to Residence Visa Pathways

    Eligibility requirements depend on the visa route you choose. Three main visa options exist for foreign nationals entering New Zealand to stay indefinitely. Each one requires a job offer to be in place before your application, and other eligibility requirements vary. You can typically qualify in three ways.

    • The Green List route is for applicants with a job offer in Tier 1 of the Green List occupations. You should check first to see if your job is on the list, which might mean you don’t need to explore other options below to qualify for Straight to Residence. You must have prior experience or qualifications relating to the role to be eligible for this residence pathway.
    • A job offer for a job role on Tier 2 of the Green List. For this, you can only qualify for the Work to Residence route requiring two years of work before residency. However, you may still qualify indirectly for Straight to Residence if your Tier 2 Green List job offer contributes to gaining enough points under the Skilled Migrant Category. Also, you can qualify for residence if you have already completed two years of work experience in New Zealand under a tier 2 Green List job role.
    • A job offer for a skilled role. The job does not have to be on any tier of the Green List if you accumulate enough points to qualify for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category. Points are based on the job offer, your qualifications, skills and other factors which must total 180 points to qualify

    Page Contents


    Straight to Residence Visa Fee & Processing

    • Fee: NZD $4290
    • Processing time: 3 months

    Work to Residence Visa Fee & Processing

    • Fee: NZD $4290
    • Processing time: 4 months

    Skilled Migrant Resident Visa Fee & Processing

    • Fee: NZD $ 4,890
    • Processing time: 5 months

    Straight to Residence (Green List Tier 1 Job Offer)

    The Green List in demand roles include jobs in medical and healthcare, engineering and IT. If your job role is on the Green List, you will need only to have the qualifications and/or experience required to fulfil it. This can normally be confirmed by an accredited employer in New Zealand. 

    Who is Eligible?

    To obtain this visa as a New Zealand resident or as an applicant from overseas, you must:

    • Have a job offer from or be working for an accredited employer
    • Be 55 years old or younger
    • Meet the English proficiency requirements along with your partner and dependent children
    • Have dependent children who are neither more than 24 years old nor have children of their own and they must depend on you financially
    • Have a job role which must be on the Green list for occupations that grant immediate residence in New Zealand
    • Possess eligible qualifications 

    What if my job offer is not on Tier 1 of the Green List?

    If your job role is not on Tier 1 of the Green List, you may be able to apply for Work to Residence if you have a job offer from a Tier 2 Green List occupation. Alternatively, you may qualify for the Skilled Migrant Category pathway to residence, a points-based system if your role falls outside the Green List.

    Work to Residence (Green List Tier 2 Job Offer)

    There is a Work to Residence option for those with job offers from tier 2 occupations on the Green List. You must work for 2 years before you are eligible for indefinite residency unless your job offer, qualifications, and other factors contribute enough points under the Migrant Worker category.  

    Who is Eligible?

    As a current New Zealand resident, to obtain the Work to Residence visa NZ, you must:

    • Be younger than 55 years old
    • Meet good character and health requirements
    • Have a job offer from or currently work for an accredited employer in the country
    • Prove your English proficiency and pass a qualifying English Language Test (if required)
    • Work on a permanent or at least a 12-month contract job or a fixed term employment. It must be a full-time position with no less than 30 hours weekly

    If you have already held the Work to Residence visa and can prove you have worked in an eligible role for up to 2 years in New Zealand on a valid Work visa, you may apply for the Straight to Residence Visa. 

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    What You Need to Apply

    Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa

    My Job Offer is not on the Green List

    The skilled migrant pathway is a points-based system designed to attract highly qualified residents to work in New Zealand. It requires a skilled job offer. You must accumulate enough points (180 points) to qualify. The points are calculated according to your overseas qualification, partner’s qualifications, age, employment, work experience and other factors. 

    If you have qualifications or skills and work experience as a specialist, technical, or management expert, you may qualify for the Skilled Migrant pathway for a Straight to Residence Visa. To obtain this visa, you must meet the wage threshold skill requirement, as well as gain the required points. 

    The Skilled Migrant Category Residence visa allows applicants to add their dependent children and partners to their residence application. It could take up to 3 months to get this visa.

    Who is eligible?

    If you want to obtain the Skilled Migrant Category Residence visa, you must:

    • Be younger than 55 years old
    • Meet health and character requirements
    • Speak English
    • Receive an invitation to apply for residence
    • Have acceptable employment evidence in a skilled job that meets the higher wage threshold or have an offer for it
    • Have eligible qualifications to qualify for points
    • Have an English-speaking partner and children (if required)

    You can apply for a Straight to Residence Visa if you want to reside in New Zealand indefinitely. You must have a job offer for a role on tier 1 of the Green List or already work for an accredited employer.

    You may also apply for a Work to Residence Visa requiring 2 years of work experience prior to residence, and the Skilled Migrant Resident Visa which operates a points based system for residence.

    Determining if your qualification or experience is eligible

    Your qualification or experience relevant to the job role is compiled in to an employer’s assessment from an accredited employer. This is taken into account for your visa application. You are required to provide proof of qualifications and experience to support this. 

    In some cases, you may need to complete an International Qualification Assessment (IQA) to prove that your qualifications meet the standards of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) for that occupation. 

    If your job role is on the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment (LQEA), you will not need to complete an IQA. This includes 24 countries with comparable qualification frameworks including Australia, UK, USA, Canada, Japan, Ireland, Germany and others. 

    Qualification and experience checks apply to all three residence visa pathways; Straight to Residence, Work to Residence and Skilled Migrant Resident Visa. 


    James is a ICT Security Specialist with a Master’s degree in Cybersecurity from the University of Sydney in Australia.

    Reason for No IQA: 

    James’s qualification is from the University of Sydney, which is an institution recognised by the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. The University of Sydney is listed on the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment (LQEA), meaning its qualifications are automatically considered equivalent to New Zealand qualifications.


    Maria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from a University in Mumbai.

    Reason for IQA: 

    Maria’s qualification is from an institution in India, which is not on the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment (LQEA). Maria needs to verify that her nursing degree is comparable to a New Zealand qualification.

    How to Submit

    To apply for a New Zealand visa, you can do so online or in person:

    How to Apply

    To apply for a New Zealand visa, you can do so online or in person

    Fill Out the Online Application

    Take the following steps to make an online application for a New Zealand Visa:

    • Create a RealMe account, and include your correct information on the application.
    • Scan and upload all the needed documents to support your application. Your documents should be in PDF format and be within a file size of 10 MB. Also, your photos must be uploaded in jpeg format.
    • You must pay your visa application fee after providing your MasterCard or Visa details in the application, after which you will receive an email confirmation of the payment.
    • After filling out your application online, submit it.You will be told when your eVisa is ready. You must print the eVisa and bring it with you, as it will allow you to travel and stay in New Zealand for the allowable duration.

    You can also make an application in person if you:

    • Print out and fill out a visa application form. Attach passport photographs with your name written on the back.
    • Book and attend a visa appointment, submitting all required documents
    • Submit your application and make your payment at the visa application centre.

    What You Need to Apply

    To have a successful visa application in New Zealand, you must meet several New Zealand resident visa requirements by providing the below documents:

    • A passport valid for up to 3 months beyond your departure date
    • Two passport-sized photographs
    • Medical examination evidencing good health
    • Documentation evidencing your purpose of travel
    • Evidence of your travel history
    • Healthcare declaration proving you will cater for your medical costs in New Zealand
    • Proof of your relationship for dependents
    • Proof of funds to cover your expenses. You can evidence with bank statements, pay slips and traveller’s cheques. You must have at least NZD $400 if you’ve paid your rent or NZD $1,000 monthly. 
    • A return ticket proving you will leave New Zealand once your visa expires
    • A Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) to prove you have a clean criminal record.

    Depending on your country, visa type, and intended stay, you may be required to provide additional documents. All documents in a foreign language must be translated into English and duly notarised. 

    It’s important to seek expert guidance from our immigration lawyers at Total Law to help assess your situation and streamline all the documents needed for your visa application. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or complete our online contact form for immediate assistance.

    We can assist with the compilation of documents to make sure you meet requirements for your New Zealand visa application. Contact Us

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      Whether you’re applying for a New Zealand visa from within or outside the country, you must meet the following conditions after obtaining the visa. They include:

      Buildings by body of water in Auckland, New Zealand


      Once you have received your New Zealand visa, you will be allowed to study with a Study visa anywhere in the country for as long as possible.


      Upon receiving your New Zealand Work visa, you will be free to work for any employer in any role in the country.


      After obtaining a New Zealand visa, you will be free to travel in and out of the country without restrictions, provided your travel conditions are still valid typically 2 years from your date of entry into the country as a resident. If your travel conditions expire while you’re outside the country, the expiration of your visa follows it.

      If you want to continue travelling in and out of New Zealand after the expiration of your travel conditions you must apply for a Permanent Resident visa or a variation to your travel conditions.

      How Can Total Law Help?

      Obtaining a New Zealand visa requires you to meet various eligibility requirements and provide several documents. The visa application process can also be complex for you and you may risk a refusal of your application should you omit crucial documents in your application.

      Our friendly immigration lawyers at Total Law are readily available to assess your situation, know the visa type you qualify for and the different documents you must provide to support your application. Our immigration lawyers can also help you navigate all the visa application stages and can even apply for the visa on your behalf.

      Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online for more clarifications on Straight to Residence visa NZ cost, New Zealand immigration or other services we offer.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                The Straight to Residence visa NZ processing time is up to 5 months.

                Yes, the process of obtaining a New Zealand visa could be difficult as it sometimes takes up to 18 months to get a decision. However, seeking guidance from our immigration lawyers at Total Law will help make your application process seamless, call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online.

                To become a New Zealand citizen, you are required to live in the country for up to 5 years. You must stay in the country for 240 days per year and a maximum of 1,350 days within those 5 years.