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Immigration Services in New Zealand

Regardless if you just want to visit New Zealand or be a part of the country’s employment market or simply live here on a long-term basis, including for studying purposes, you have multiple options as a foreigner. You can immigrate to New Zealand as a foreigner who wants to join his or her family members who already live here or you can arrive here for business purposes.

Immigration to New Zealand can grant the right to permanently live in this country, but this will depend on the immigration document one has applied for. An in-depth presentation on this subject can be offered by our immigration lawyer in New Zealand, who can represent in you in various legal steps you must follow when relocating here.

 Quick Facts  
  Entry visa requirement (from EU)  (YES/NO)

EU citizens need the NZETA document, which is a simple immigration document that can be obtained online.

Entry visa requirement (outside EU) (YES/NO)

Yes, most of foreigners will need to apply for a type of visa upon arrival (visa exemptions can apply based on nationality – such as is the case of Australians).

Types of visas available 

 NZETA and visitor visas / student visa / work visas / resident visa / family visas 
Time frame for obtaining work visa (approx.)  It ranges based on the work visa type – it can vary from 10 days to 5 months.


Validity of temporary residence permit Most of visas allow the right to temporary residence for a period of up to 2 years.
Time frame for obtaining permanent residence (approx.)

Between 58 days and 29 months 

Investor Visa Availability (YES/NO)


Sponsorship requirement (YES/NO) Yes, depending on the visa.
Time frame for obtaining citizenship After being a permanent resident of 5 years (the processing of the application takes approximately 12 months).
Citizenship/Residency by investment scheme availability (YES/NO) Citizenship by investment can’t be acquired directly, but the Investor Visa programs open the legal patway to becoming a permanent resident.
Tax benefits for expats Tax exemptions of foreign source income

How can our immigration lawyer in New Zealand help foreigners?

The steps for obtaining a visa or another type of travel document issued by the local institutions can be completed by the applicant, but it is highly recommended to receive legal representation or legal advice on the requirements imposed for each visa type.

Our immigration lawyer in New Zealand can offer you consultancy services on the documents you must prepare, as well as on the steps to be completed prior to the issuance of the visa. You can rely on the services of our lawyer for the following:

• legal assistance in obtaining a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority document – issued for those who migrate to New Zealand for traveling purposes and which grants the right of staying here of up to 2 years;
• legal advice on the types of visas available for study purposes – they are divided based on the nationality of the foreigner, the age (below 18 years or above), and the duration of the stay (less than 6 months or more than 6 months);
• advice for those who immigrate to New Zealand for work purposes – the variety of the visas is rather large and each one has its own requirements (for instance, the Essential Skills Work Visa has a validity of up to 5 years, while others can be issued on short-term basis or indefinite term);
• legal assistance in obtaining the permanent residency – this depends on the reason for immigration in New Zealand and the type of visa one had previously obtained here (for example, the Talent Work Visa requires foreigners to live here for 2 years before applying for permanent residence, while the Global Impact Work Visa has a 30 months minimum requirement);
• legal advice on how to join family members living here – one can apply for a Visitor Visa, which can grant the right of staying here for 9 months, or for 1 or 2 years if the applicant’s relative lives here under a work visa.

Immigrate to New Zealand

What other visa options are available for immigration to New Zealand?

Please be aware that there are numerous combinations of visas one can use when arriving here. Visas for family-related purposes are also divided based on the relation the applicant has with the family member living here, the purpose for which the person is currently living here, the status of the foreigner (visa holder, permanent resident or citizen).

It must be noted that the legislation on immigration in New Zealand takes into consideration the nationality of the applicant, his or her age, and other aspects are also of relevance, based on the visa category one wishes to apply for.

Foreigners can also apply for visas for business purposes or for investment projects. Here, there are multiple options as well – the Entrepreneur Resident Visa, the Global Impact Permanent Residence Visa (a visa which provides the opportunity to obtaining a New Zealand residence permit issued on a permanent basis) or the Entrepreneur Work Visa, all these options being applicable to those who want to migrate to New Zealand for the purpose of starting their own business.

Persons who have a high net worth value can apply for the Investor 1 Resident Visa, which can be obtained if the foreigners are able to invest at least NZ $10 million in the local economy in a period of 3 years. Other conditions apply and you may find out extensive information on this subject from our immigration lawyer in New Zealand.

For short-term immigration, related to tourism or business, foreigners from certain countries should apply for the New Zealand electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA). This is a type of electronic visa that is mandatory when moving from USA to New Zealand for stays of maximum 3 months. This electronic visa is available only for the nations that are included in the visa waiver list.

Obtaining residency in New Zealand

A foreigner can decide to migrate to New Zealand on a short-term basis or a long-term basis. In both cases, one will need to obtain the right to reside here. Residence in New Zealand can be obtained through a residence visa (or a New Zealand residence permit) or through a work permit.

As a general rule, most of the foreigners will apply for a temporary residence visa that is issued for employment, studies or for business purposes. The visa includes a New Zealand residence permit, which grants the right to reside here. One can also obtain the permanent residency, but this can be obtained only after living here as a temporary resident. A foreigner is entitled to apply for permanent residency here after living for two years under a temporary visa.

Being a permanent resident of New Zealand provides numerous rights, including the one of applying for New Zealand citizenship, if the foreigner is interested in exploring this option. There are several legal pathways through which a foreigner can become a citizen and our immigration lawyer in New Zealand can assist with in-depth information upon this subject.

Another way to obtain residency in New Zealand on a permanent basis is by applying for the Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa. This is available for foreigners who have worked in New Zealand for a period of minimum 2 years for an employer who is included in the accreditor employer list.

Besides permanent residency, the foreigner is entitled to bring to New Zealand his or her close family members.

How can one become a citizen of New Zealand?

A foreigner has the right of  becoming a New Zealand citizen, but the procedure and the legal requirements will not be the same for all applicants, as specific factors will influence this process. First, one must verify the type of citizenship one can apply for.

The legislation for immigration in New Zealand distinguishes between the following: citizenship by birth, by descent and by grant. Besides these, the legislation also recognizes the dual citizenship foreigners can be entitled to, as long as the law in their home country allows them to hold dual citizenship.

After verifying this first aspect, the applicant must verify the basic eligibility criteria, which are influenced by the following aspects: the applicant’s parents’ citizenship situation at the moment when the applicant was born, the time spent by the applicant in New Zealand or the time spent in this country by the applicant’s parents, if the applicant has an age below 15 years old.

Provided that the foreigner is eligible to apply for New Zealand citizenship, then he or she must prepare the list of documents required by the local authorities. Once the application file is completed, the person can submit the necessary paperwork by post, in person or online.

The applicant must also pay the required fee, which, in the case of the citizenship obtained by grant, costs $470,20 for applicants with an age above 16 years old and $235,10 for those with an age of maximum 15 years old. After these steps are completed, the applicant has to obtain an answer from the local authorities and, if the application is successful, the applicant will receive the citizenship certificate, which grants the right of obtaining a New Zealand passport.

However, the issuance of the New Zealand passport does not happen automatically once the person received New Zealand citizenship, as this is a separate procedure that must be initiated by the applicant. Having a New Zealand passport is a right that is granted only to persons who have gained New Zealand citizenship, regardless of the legal pathway through which this was achieved.

A short presentation on the main immigration services in New Zealand is available in the video below:

How can visitors arrive in New Zealand?

Not all persons arriving here are interested in immigration to New Zealand. Some of them arrive here only for traveling purposes, which can refer to stays of few weeks to several months. However, even in this case, the foreigner will generally be asked to obtain a permit or a visa for this specific purpose.

As we mentioned above, our immigration lawyer in New Zealand can help you apply for a New Zealand electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) or for a visitor visa. The need of having one of these documents varies based on the nationality of the applicant. Still, it must be noted that persons from Australia do not need to obtain any of these documents, as long as they are citizens of Australia. Persons who live in Australia and who are only permanent residents will still need a NZeTA.

The NZeTA is a type of visa issued for visiting purposes which can be obtained much faster than other documents created for the same purpose. But the right to apply for this document is granted only to the citizens of the countries that are included in the visa waiver program – this means that the NZeTA applicants are passport holders issued by the respective countries; you can request more details on the visa waiver countries from our immigration lawyer in New Zealand.

What are the family reunification programs in New Zealand?

The family reunification program represents a legal pathway through which the members of a family unit (such as partners, parents or children) can join a member of their family who is relocated to New Zealand for various reasons. Given that there are numerous circumstances, one can also opt for a wide category of visas.

These visas can be used to migrate to New Zealand for a limited period of time or they can be used as a legal option for obtaining permanent residency here. They can vary based on the relation with the person who is currently living in New Zealand (visas for spouses or partners, for children, grandparents, etc.). Below, you can find some of the basic options:

  • visitor visa – used for arrivals in New Zealand with a limited duration, of maximum 9 months;
  • visas for partners of persons who are currently New Zealand residents (or New Zealand citizens);
  • visas for children of foreigners who work in New Zealand – they can be obtained by children with an age below 19 years old;
  • visitor visas for parents or grandparents of foreigners living here, which offer the opportunity of staying here for 18 months;
  • persons who are on a student visa in New Zealand can bring their partner here under a visa that can be valid for the entire duration of the student visa.

Family reunification in New Zealand – retirement visa

The legislation on immigration in New Zealand prescribes that a person who has obtained his or her residency here or who has become a New Zealand citizen can bring his or her parents in the country for permanent residency. This can be done through the Parent Retirement Resident Visa, but one must know that the parent (or parents) has to comply with basic eligibility criteria, referring to the person’s annual income and future investments in New Zealand.

Here, the applicant parent must have an annual income of minimum NZ $60,000 and the financial ability of investing at least NZ $1million in the local economy, in the first four years of residency in New Zealand. The right to becoming a permanent resident will be obtained after living here for four years and meeting the basic eligibility requirements, including the financial ones.

Resident visa for Samoan citizens

The New Zealand authorities organize an yearly ballot for Samoan citizens who are interested in relocating here. For this, the Samoan citizens will register for the Samoan Quota Resident Visa and the persons whose registrations are drawn for the ballot will have the opportunity to receive a visa that will provide access to New Zealand residency. If this will apply, the Samoan citizens will be entitled to work and live in New Zealand on a permanent basis.

Please be aware that the annual quota for this visa is limited to 1100 visas. Also, applicants have to meet an age requirement, as only those with an age of 18-45 can qualify for this program. The visa program also acts as a family reunification program, as the person receiving the visa can bring his or her close family members in New Zealand.

Still, one must have a job offer in this country that will pay enough to cover the living costs. The same applies for the person’s partner that will migrate to New Zealand. If you need legal representation, our immigration lawyer in New Zealand remains at your disposal and can guide you through the entire visa process.

Family reunification visas for military persons deployed in New Zealand

A special category of visas refers to persons who work as military personnel or who are on a military duty in New Zealand. In this case, there are two basic visa categories, created for the partner/spouse of the military person or for his or her children. The visa options are divided between visitor visas and work visas.

The latter grants the right to migrate to New Zealand as the partner of a military person and work in this country for the same amount of time that is prescribed for the military visa. These visas can only be obtained with the approval of the New Zealand Government.

The Partner of Military Work Visa is issued without paying an application fee and, while it provides the right to work here, the applicant is not required to have a job offer in this country at the moment when the application is made. If the couple has children, the applicant parent can’t include the children in this visa, but they can arrive here on a separate visa, meaning the Child of Military Visitor Visa.

For other information on immigration in New Zealand under other family reunification programs, you can send an inquiry to our lawyer. Our immigration lawyer in New Zealand can assist you in the process of obtaining a visa and can help you understand the visa application process, depending on the visa type you require.

Can refugees immigrate to New Zealand?

Yes, refugees can immigrate to New Zealand in specific conditions. The country accepts refugees arriving here through the United Nations Refugee Agency, persons who have left their country due to fear of persecution or those who are family members of refugees already living in New Zealand.

As a refugee, one benefits from a set of rights, including the right to work in this country. There is a special visa program designed for refugees and for family members of refugees living here and you may request more details about it from our immigration lawyer in New Zealand, who is ready to provide legal representation to all foreigners interested in immigration in this country.

Feel free to contact us for detailed information on all our immigration services in New Zealand. Our lawyer can present more information on other types of documents that can be required for foreigners relocated here for short-term or long-term stays. You can request tailored advice if you want to immigrate to New Zealand for work or business purposes or for family reunification programs.