Visitor legal requirements 


Do I need a visa to visit New Zealand?

You will need a visa to visit New Zealand unless you are from a visa waiver country.

When you apply for a visitor visa, you’ll need to show that you are in good health, of good character and are a genuine visitor. You'll also need to show that you can support yourself during your stay, or have someone in New Zealand who will support you.

More general information about when you need to apply for a visitor visa, as well as information about how to apply and how the application process works, is on the Immigration New Zealand website.
Your visitor visa will usually allow you to stay in New Zealand for nine months in an 18-month time period.

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I am a citizen of a visa waiver country – are there any requirements to fulfil before I can visit New Zealand?

If you are from a visa waiver country you don’t have to apply for a visa to before coming to New Zealand for a short visit i.e. for 6 months or less if you are a British citizen, or for 3 months or less if you are a citizen of another visa waiver country.

However you will need to apply for a visa if you are coming to New Zealand for medical consultation or treatment.

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How do I apply for a temporary work visa?

There are a number of different work visa categories for people who want to work in New Zealand on a temporary basis, so your first step will be to determine what work visa options fit with your circumstances.

You can answer a few questions on the Immigration New Zealand website to find out what your options are, what criteria apply to that type of visa and how to apply.

Here are some of the key categories:

If you want to work for yourself in New Zealand i.e. start a business, read our information about on the Moving to New Zealand page.

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When will my visa expire?

The expiry date will be one of the details on your visa label, in your passport.

Your visa label will also specify the last day that you can enter New Zealand, whether you are allowed to enter New Zealand  more than once, and conditions of your visa (eg that you must have an airline ticket for leaving New Zealand).

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Can I stay in New Zealand after my work visa expires?

If you are in New Zealand on a Working Holiday Visa you may be eligible for a one-off extension to your visa for a further three months. You would be eligible if you have done at least three months of seasonal work in the horticulture or viticulture (grape growing and winemaking) industries. More about this is on the Immigration New Zealand website.

Otherwise, you are not allowed to stay in New Zealand after your visa expires, so if you want to stay in New Zealand for longer than your visa allows you will need to apply for a new visa  (a temporary one to visit, work or study, or a residence visa) before your first one expires.

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My visitor’s visa is about to expire. Is there a way I can get it extended?

If you are in New Zealand on a visitor visa and wish to stay longer than your visitor’s visa allows, you may be able to can apply for a further three months’ stay  before the current one expires. With the extension you can stay for a maximum of 12 months in a 24-month period. The process for doing this is the same as for applying for a visitor visa for the first time (see the previous question about applying for a visitor visa).  

For more information about the circumstances in which your stay can be extended, select the “All Visa Conditions” link on this Immigration NZ website.

You can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for information and help.

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The employer named on my work visa is closing down their business. What will happen to my visa?

If your visa was granted specifically for this job then it will specify the name of your employer and the details and location of your work. If any of these details change you have to notify Immigration NZ.

Some changes (e.g. your employer changes their name, but their business is essentially unchanged) only require you to apply for a Variation of Conditions.

Other changes (e.g. the employer closes down, or you leave your job) will render your work visa invalid. If you've got a new job you can apply for a new work visa - but you should do so before you start the new job.

More about this is on the Immigration New Zealand website.

If your employer is named on your work visa and you are dismissed within a trial period you may be able to apply for a Dismissed Worker Visa.

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I’m on a Working Holiday Visa. Can I start a business while I am in New Zealand?

No. Unless you are a New Zealand citizen or a New Zealand resident, you will probably need an Entrepreneur Work Visa before you can start a business in New Zealand.

More information about visas that allow you to run a business in New Zealand is on the Immigration New Zealand website.

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I am in New Zealand on a visitor visa, sponsored by my partner who is a New Zealand citizen. If I leave him, can he get me deported? 

If your temporary visa (e.g. visitor, work or study visa) is dependent on support from a sponsor (i.e. your partner), then your visa could become invalid if your partner withdraws their support.

You may be able to apply to remain in New Zealand under another category, or you may have to return to your home country and re-apply for entry. The options available to you will depend on your specific circumstances, so the best thing to do is to contact Immigration NZ.

Immigration NZ will aim to talk to both parties in case there is a possibility that the two of you can get together again, but if reconciliation is not possible then they can help you determine what your options are.