If you’re planning a visit to Auckland to simply get “the lay of the land,” you can stay in New Zealand for up to three months with a Visitor’s Visa, or six months if you are from the UK. A Visitor’s Visa allows you – along with your partner and/or dependents — to travel freely within New Zealand, but not work. You can study with a Visitor’s Visa but the course must be shorter than the length of the issued visa.
New Zealand does not limit the number of applicants who may be granted Visitor’s Visas. You can also apply to extend your visa but you must do this before your current visa expires. You can also apply for a different category of visa once you are in New Zealand, however, you must keep in mind that your application might not be approved and your time in New Zealand might expire. If you are planning on a long-term stay, consider applying under another category that allows you to stay for a longer period of time (see other visa categories).
Australian permanent residents and citizens do not require a Visitor’s Visa to come to New Zealand.
People visiting New Zealand without a visa must have a valid passport that has an expiry date greater than three months after departure from New Zealand, and evidence of transport out of the country, such as an airline ticket or evidence that travel has been booked and purchased. You may also be asked to provide evidence of financial support of $1000 for every month you will be in New Zealand ($400 per month if your accommodation has been paid for).
If you are a visitor arriving from a country that does not require a visa to be obtained in advance, then you apply for a Visitor’s Visa by filling in an arrival card at the New Zealand border. These cards are generally handed out on the plane prior to landing. Your passport will be stamped with a Visitor’s Visa along with an expiry date.
People from the following countries do not need to apply in advance for a visitor’s visa:
- Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria
- Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil
- Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada
- Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic
- Denmark, Estonia, Finland
- France, Germany, Greece
- Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland
- Ireland, Israel, Italy
- Japan, Korea (South), Kuwait
- Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania
- Luxumbourg, Malaysia, Malta
- Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands
- Norway, Oman, Poland
- Portugal, Qatar, Romania
- San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore
- Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa
- Sweden, Switzerland, Spain
- Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom
- USA, Uruguay, Vatican City
There are some stipulations for a few of these countries, please refer to the Visa Free Countries web page for further clarification.
If you are not from one of the visa-free countries listed above, then in order to obtain a Visitor’s Visa you will need to apply at your local New Zealand consulate. You may be charged a fee, depending on your country of residence. All necessary forms, checklists and information can be found at http://www.immigration.govt.nz. Along with your application, you will need to provide:
- A recent passport size photo of yourself and any family members accompanying you.
- A valid passport for each person included in your application.
- Medical certificates for each person included in your application (if you will be staying in New Zealand for more than six months) proving that all applicants are in good general health.
- A chest x-ray certificate, completed by a certified radiologist, for each person included in your application (if you will be staying in New Zealand for more than 12 months).
- Evidence of financial support of $1000 per month (or $400 per month if accommodation has already been paid for) while in New Zealand. This can take the form of cash, travelers’ cheques, bank statements or an up-to-date statement from a recognized credit card showing sufficient available credit. Other acceptable evidence is a declaration by a New Zealand sponsor that they will pay for your accommodation and maintenance.
Once your application is received, you will either receive a decision within 14 days or be told how long the processing will take. Visa processing times can vary between based on offices and other factors including:
- The requirements of the immigration policy you are applying under.
- The completeness of your application.
- How easily your information can be checked.
- How well and how quickly you respond to any concerns raised.
As Visitor’s Visa applications require the least verification, they take less time to process. However, if any required information if missing or raises additional questions, there is still a chance that you may need to provide further information before a decision can be made. If this is the case, you will be notified, but it will add to the processing time.