To enter or re-enter New Zealand as a resident, you must hold either a permanent resident visa or a resident visa with valid travel conditions that allow you to stay in New Zealand indefinitely if you are granted entry permission.
This article (Immigration New Zealand Resident Visa Application) will provide you with information about applying for a permanent resident visa, a variation of travel conditions, or a second or subsequent resident visa.
What is the difference between a resident visa and a permanent resident visa?
If your application to live in New Zealand is approved, you will normally be granted a resident visa.
A resident visa:
- Allows you to travel to New Zealand multiple times, but only within the validity of the travel conditions of the visa, and
- Allows you to stay in New Zealand indefinitely, if you are granted entry permission.
Permanent resident visas are usually granted to resident visa holders who have complied with the conditions of their visa and shown a commitment to New Zealand.
A permanent resident visa:
- Allows you to travel to and enter New Zealand anytime, and
- Allows you to stay in New Zealand indefinitely.
For information about applying, see the ‘Requirements for a permanent resident visa’ section of this guide.
How do I apply for Immigration New Zealand Resident Visa?
You must apply on the form Application from a Resident or Former Resident Visa Holder (INZ 1175), supply your passport, two passport-size photos, and the correct fee.
In addition, you must provide any evidence to show you meet the requirements for your application to be approved. The requirements are explained here > How to Get Resident Visa in New Zealand – Ongoing
What if I am a New Zealand citizen?
Under the Immigration Act 2009, New Zealand citizens cannot hold any type of visa, including a residence class visa.
If you are a dual citizen and you wish to use your non-New Zealand passport to travel, you should obtain an endorsement of your New Zealand citizenship in that passport.
This will allow you to re-enter New Zealand as a citizen. To obtain an endorsement, you must complete the form New Zealand Citizen Endorsement (INZ 1174) and supply the evidence explained on the form.
What are section 49(1) conditions
If your resident visa label or your resident visa approval the letter indicates your visa is subject to conditions under section 49(1) of the Immigration Act 2009, it means that there are certain conditions that you must meet before you can be granted a permanent resident visa.
Once you have provided us with the evidence that you have met the conditions, they can be removed from your visa.
Your resident visa approval letter will contain details of any conditions you must meet and the process for having these conditions removed once you have met them.
Can my application be declined?
You cannot be approved a permanent resident visa, variation of travel conditions, or second or subsequent resident visa if you do not meet the requirements set out in this guide.
In addition, your application for a permanent resident visa or a second or subsequent resident visa will be declined if you do not meet the character requirements to be granted a residence class visa.
People normally ineligible for a residence class visa include those who have made any statement or provided any information, evidence, or submission that was false, misleading or forged or withheld material information from Immigration New Zealand.
The application form will require you to complete a character declaration stating whether you have any convictions or other character issues of concern.
Although police certificates will not normally be required from applicants, Immigration New Zealand can apply for New Zealand police certificates on your behalf. In addition, an immigration officer has the right to ask you to provide.
Do I need travel conditions?
You need to have valid travel conditions on your resident visa if you plan to leave and return to New Zealand as a resident.
You do not need to have valid travel conditions on your resident visa if you are in New Zealand and wish to remain in New Zealand.
However, even if you are not planning to travel, it is advisable to make sure your travel conditions are valid, in case you have to go overseas urgently.
If you have a permanent resident visa, you do not need travel conditions as you have the indefinite right to travel to and enter New Zealand (although you must make sure your visa is in a valid passport).
What should I do if my resident visa has expired?
If you intend to return to New Zealand as a resident, you will need to make an application for either a permanent resident visa or a second or subsequent resident visa to regain your resident status.
You may still qualify for a permanent resident visa if your resident visa expired less than three months ago (see the ‘Requirements to be granted a permanent resident visa’ section of this guide).
Otherwise, you may be able to qualify for a second or subsequent resident visa (see the Requirements to be granted a second or subsequent resident visa’ section).