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Emigrating to New Zealand from UK

Emigrating to New Zealand from UK

Citizens who want to immigrate to New Zealand from UK can apply for a variety of visas, depending on the purpose of stay, its duration and other important factors that determine the type of visa one should select. There are a number of options for British citizens, who can also apply for the Holiday Work Visa program. This program is available only for a part of the nationalities that can apply for a visa for New Zealand.

How can UK citizens immigrate to New Zealand?

One of the main aspects that determines the most suitable visa refers to the purpose of stay. Foreigners are allowed to apply for tourist visas that can provide the right of residing in this country for up to a year, they can apply for work visas, designed for highly skilled workers and other categories of employees. The latter can also grant the right of moving from UK to New Zealand on a long-term basis.

 Quick Facts  
  Visas for short-term immigration to New Zealand from UK

Work visas, student visas, visitor visas, business visas, visas for medical treatment, etc. 

Visas for long-term immigration to New Zealand from UK


Visas for employment, skilled work visas, investment visas, student visas (for long-term enrollment), partner visa and other family reunification visas, etc.  
Visa exemptions 


 British citizens emigrating to New Zealand from UK are exempted from applying for a visa for short-term stays. They only have to apply for the NZeTA (New Zealand electronic Travel Authority). 
Electronic visas available

Yes, the NZeTA (New Zealand electronic Travel Authority). 

Main reasons to immigrate to New Zealand from UK The main reasons for emigrating to New Zealand from UK are regulated by the Immigration Law (business, investment, work, travel, family reunification, asylum, medical treatment, study, etc.) 
Institution in charge with the issuance of the visa 

Immigration Office New Zealand 

Fee system available for the processing of the visa (yes/no) 

Yes, the Immigration Office New Zealand charges fees for those emigrating to New Zealand from UK. 

Fees charged for the issuance of short-term/long-term visas  The fee charged for the issuance of a NZeTA costs $44, while the issuance of a UK Working Holiday visa costs $280 (the fees vary greatly based on the visa the applicant needs). 
Special rules for citizens of US (yes/no)   Yes, UK citizens are part of the visa waiver list for short stays. Also UK citizens emigrating to New Zealand can stay here for up to 6 months. 
The procedure for permanent residency in New Zealand The procedure can be started after 2 years of stay in the country. The applicant will prepare the application file, containing the specific documents, and pay the processing fee, while complying with the requirements of the permanent visa for which the person opted.   
Documents required for permanent residency application  The applicant must prepare information on his or her identity, character, the current visa the person has and evidence on complying with the requirements of the visa, the commitment to New Zealand. 
Reasons for which permanent residency can be granted in
New Zealand
Skilled employment, family reunification, investments in New Zealand, adoption, permanent visas for certain nationalities and ethnic groups. 
Right to permanent residency for refugees/asylum seekers (yes/no)  Yes 
Immigration pathways for highly skilled persons  Talent Resident Visa, Long Term Skilled Shortage program, Skilled Migrant, etc.  
Legal pathways
to citizenship 
Citizenship by descent, by grant

As a British citizen who will relocate to New Zealand from UK, one is allowed to apply for a visa for family-related purposes, meaning that if the British citizen has close relatives relocated here for various purposes, one can apply for a visa that grants the right to reunite with the said family members.

Immigration to New Zealand can also be achieved through visas issued for study purposes. There are several visa options that provide the right to stay in this country for an indefinite period of time, which means that the applicant can directly benefit from permanent residency, but this right is limited to only few visa types and you can rely on our immigration lawyer in New Zealand for extensive advice on how to obtain permanent residency here.

As we mentioned above, British citizens interested to relocate to New Zealand from UK can access the Holiday Work Visa program, which is solely addressed to young persons who want to both travel and work in this country for a determined period of time.

Persons with a high net worth value can easily apply for an investor visa in New Zealand, as long as they comply with the investment threshold imposed by the applicable law, as well as with other required aspects.

How can British citizens become permanent residents in New Zealand?

All foreigners, British included, can become permanent residents of New Zealand, as long as specific requirements are met. The standard regulations are given by the rules for immigration in New Zealand, which state that permanent residency can generally be achieved only after receiving the residency visa.

The main requirements to move from UK to New Zealand on a permanent basis, which means that the foreigner will apply for a permanent residence visa, are the following: the applicant has lived in New Zealand for at least two years at the moment when the new immigration document is required, the applicant has completed the conditions imposed by the residence visa and he or she has shown commitment to staying in this country. Persons who apply for a residence visa will receive a New Zealand residency permit from the local authorities.

Persons moving from UK to New Zealand who want to become permanent residents should know that this document grants them the right to stay in this country on an indefinite basis. This visa will allow a British person the right to work here, enroll in a local education institution or arrive and depart from New Zealand at any given time, without any restrictions.

The document will provide permanent residency to the applicant’s partner and children with an age under 24 years old, only as long as these persons were also included in the first application for residency in New Zealand. The application for permanent residency has to be made by the principal applicant.

British nationals interested in residency in New Zealand on a temporary basis can arrive here under any of the following temporary visas:

  1. the visitor visa;
  2. the student visa;
  3. the partnership visa;
  4. the family visa;
  5. the working holiday visa.

Although the application system is the same for almost all visa types, applicants will have to submit different documentation and comply with rules that are tailored in accordance with the requirements of each visa.

You can watch the following presentation on the main steps of moving from UK to New Zealand:

What are the requirements for the Holiday Work Visa?

The legislation for emigration to New Zealand prescribes different types of eligibility criteria based on the nationality of the applicant. This also applies to the Holiday Work Visa, which has a high demand rate from those interested to move to New Zealand from UK for studies and work purposes.

When applying for this visa as a UK citizen, one will be allowed to stay in this country for a period which ranges from 12 to 23 months. Although for other nationalities there is a quota on the issuance of such visas, UK citizens do not have to worry about this matter, because, as long as the applicant meets the imposed requirements, then he or she will receive the visa, regardless of how many other visas were issued to British citizens.

This type of visa can be used as a way for short-term emigrating to New Zealand from UK for persons with an age between 18 to 30, but for several nationalities the age criteria have been extended to 35 years old. This visa allows a UK citizen or a UK permanent resident to work in this country for up to 12 months. At the same time, the person is entitled to study here for a period of up to 6 months, as presented by the New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade Department.

The Working Holiday program is also available for persons moving from USA to New Zealand. However, there are certain aspects that are slightly different than in the case of UK applicants. For instance, the maximum age allowed for American applicants is of 30 years.

Other differences can appear, but in general, for Americans, the same rules will apply as the ones available for UK nationals.

What are the legal grounds for partnership visas in New Zealand?

Each country prescribes specific requirements for family or partner visas. As a general rule, the main idea is that one of the partners is living in a foreign country (for example, New Zealand), and the close family or the partner of the said person, is living in their home countries. In this case, the legislation for immigration in New Zealand prescribes several visa options, which will allow bringing the close family members here.

For those who are moving from UK to New Zealand as the partner of a person who already lives here, it is necessary to know that the definition of partnership is extensive and it refers to those who are married, those who live in a civil union or those who are in a de facto relationship, which means that they do not have any legal document attesting their partnership, but they do have a relationship, which can be proven by various grounds.

It is also important to mention that New Zealand recognizes these partnerships for opposite sex partners, as well as for same-sex partners. If the relationship is established between a person who is a New Zealand citizen or resident, the above mentioned rules also apply. However, in this case, the person living here is known as supporting partner.

Persons moving from UK to New Zealand who wish to apply for a visa to stay with their supporting partner have to be at least 18 years old, or they can be younger than this, but they need the consent of their parents or legal guardians, if their age is of minimum 16 years old.

Please be aware that the visa application process will include the assessment of the relationship and thus, both partners, the one living in New Zealand, and the one moving from UK to New Zealand, will have to prepare detailed information on their relationship, living arrangements, children maintenance (if applicable) and others.

What are the basic visa requirements in New Zealand?

When emigrating to New Zealand from UK, the applicant must comply with a wide range of requirements and must also pay the visa fee, which varies based on the type of document required. The visa provides various rights, including on residency aspects, and our immigration lawyer in New Zealand can present extensive information on the following basic visa types:

• the Working Holiday visa can be processed in a period of 31 days (in 90% of the cases) and the visa fee is of $280;
• the Essential Skills Visa can be used as a way of emigrating to New Zealand from UK on a long-term basis, as it grants the right to stay here for up to 5 years (those who stay here on a permanent basis are also entitled to applying for New Zealand citizenship);
• the Work to Residence Visa can be requested by applicants with an age below 55 years old and the document will ensure that the applicant will receive a New Zealand residence permit;
• this visa type costs $635 and it can be processed in 76 days for the Talent (Accredited Employer) visa type;
• the Skilled Migrant Visa can be used to migrate to New Zealand on a permanent basis, but it must be noted that the visa can be processed in 15 months in most of the cases.

How can British citizens visit New Zealand?

If you are considering arriving in New Zealand for short-term stay purposes related to visiting the country, as a person coming from the United Kingdom (UK) the immigration process is much simpler compared to the nationals of other countries. This is given by the fact that the UK is included in the list of visa waiver countries, which does not require British citizens to obtain a travel visa for New Zealand.

In this case, you simply have to obtain the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) document, which can be easily accessed online. It acts as a visa document, although, from a legal point of view, it is not a visa. This simpler procedure is, however, addressed solely to those who want to visit the country. If we refer to British citizens moving from UK to New Zealand, the standard visa issuance procedure has to be followed.

You must also know that the ETA document allows you to stay in New Zealand for a period of up to 6 months as a UK citizen, which represents a much longer period of time, compared to the standard duration of a stay allowed under this travelling document, of only 3 months, so the document can be used as a way of moving from UK to New Zealand for a short-term period of time.

The British passport holders and permanent residents are invited to contact our immigration lawyer in New Zealand for more details on other visas that can be accessed by eligible UK applicants. Our attorney can help you in the process of emigrating to New Zealand from UK. You can also rely on our lawyer for advice on obtaining New Zealand citizenship.