Applying for a visa 

How do I apply for a visa?

Once you have an idea how long you plan to stay and why you want to visit (eg for a short holiday, to study, to work), you can visit the Immigration New Zealand website for information about what your visa options are. You can also find out the conditions of your chosen visa, the eligibility criteria, application process and fees.

You can apply for your visa online or by completing the appropriate printed application form and sending it (along with the relevant documents) to the nearest receiving office (eg a Visa Application Centre, if you are applying from overseas).

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Who can help me with my visa application?

You can get help from: 

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How much will it cost to apply and how long before I know whether my application has been approved?

How much it costs to apply depends on the type of visa you apply for and which country you are applying from. Generally the application fees include a processing fee for Immigration New Zealand and a courier fee. If you have to submit your application to a Visa Application Centre (VAC), then you’ll have to pay a fee to the VAC also.

Read more about visa application fees.

Depending on the kind of visa you’re applying for, and whether you’re applying online or on a printed form, it can take around 20-25 days to process an application for a visitor visa, student visa or work visa, or 3-8 months for one of the other types of visa. More about this is on the Immigration New Zealand website. 

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Do I need a medical examination certificate for my visa application and where would I get one?

If you are applying for a visa to visit or live in New Zealand you may be required to get a chest x-ray or medical certificate as proof that you are in good health. Whether you will need a chest x-ray and/or medical examination will depend on how long you’ll be staying in New Zealand, whether the country you are from has risk factors for tuberculosis (TB) and what kind of visa you are applying for. You can find out more on the Immigration New Zealand website.
You need to go to an Immigration New Zealand-approved panel physician to get your x-ray or medical certificate. You can find one by searching the Immigration New Zealand website, which lists approved physicians around the world (including New Zealand).

The x-ray or medical certificate must be no more than three months old when Immigration New Zealand receives it. When you make your appointment with the physician, make sure to tell them that it is for an Immigration New Zealand application.

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How do I check the progress on my application?

If you applied online, you just need to log on to the online service and view the application status.

If you applied through an immigration adviser or a Visa Application Centre (VAC), the immigration adviser or VAC can update you on the progress of your application.

For an application submitted on a paper form within New Zealand, contact the Immigration Contact Centre.

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Can I appeal Immigration New Zealand’s decision on my visa application?

Appealing a temporary visa decision
If you disagree with Immigration New Zealand’s decision regarding a temporary visa application (for example your visitor visa is about to expire and your application for an extension was declined) you can ask them to reconsider the decision.

You will need to still be lawfully in New Zealand (i.e. your first visa has not expired yet) and you will need to apply for the reconsideration within 14 days of the decision that you want reconsidered. The reconsideration will be done by a different Immigration Officer.

More information about your options for appealing a temporary visa decision is on the Community Law website (towards the end of the webpage).

Appealing a residency decision
If the decision that you disagree with is regarding a resident visa application, you can apply to the Immigration & Protection Tribunal (IPT). You will need to make your appeal within 42 days of the decision.

For information about how to make an appeal visit the Immigration & Protection Tribunal website and the Community Law website (towards the end of the webpage).

Making a complaint
If you want to make a complaint about the service provided to you by Immigration New Zealand you can use their feedback and complaints process. Complaints about an immigration adviser can be made to the Immigration Advisers Authority.