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The Guide to Visa Types and Work Permit Requirements

There are many visa types that will allow you to start a new life in New Zealand. Most highly skilled expats choose to relocate for work because New Zealand is actively looking for new talent from abroad. However, New Zealand only approves a handful of visas per country and the timeframe for visa applications is very tight.

The visa that applies to you will depend on how long you wish to stay in the country and what type of job offer you have. This guide covers all the steps to obtain residence permits, both temporary and permanent, work visas, skilled worker’s visa, and visas for self-employment. While you may read that there are over 80 types of visas to work in New Zealand alone, most of those are country-specific.

This means the amount and type of visas approved as well as the requirements vary depending on the country of origin. In this section you will find only the most relevant aspects of applying for a New Zealand visa, so you can start the process immediately. You should know that some visas will cost more than others, the Entrepreneur work visa being especially costly. Most applications also require you to pay an immigration fee.

The majority of New Zealand visas follow the same process of applying online, and some requirements are the same for all visa types. Just keep in mind that some visas can have a very short application timeframe, and once open, vacancies tend to be filled within the first few days. Some visas in New Zealand are also subject to an immigration point system called “Point Scale”


Different work visa types may have different eligibility requirements, application forms, costs, or processes. In general, to apply for a work visa in New Zealand you need:

  • Proof of identity (passport or certificate of identity and two acceptable visa photographs);
  • Proof of good health (completed health questionnaire and chest x ray and a medical examination after arrival);
  • Proof of good character(completed character questionnaire, Police Certificates from your country of origin and any country where you’ve lived at least five years since turning 17);
  • Proof of being bona fide.

Every document you provide needs to be the original document or a certified copy. When applying for a visa, you will typically find a guide on the official website that corresponds to each visa type. You are advised to read through this document beforehand to make sure you are on top of every requirement. Then, you want to have each document with you and ready for submission before beginning your application process.

If your visa is subject to a points scale, you can typically find a simulation on the immigration website that allows you to test if you meet the required points to apply. Keep in mind that only an immigration officer can award you points during the assessment of your visa.


Typically, there are two types of costs associated with work visas:

  • a visa fee
  • and an immigration levy
However, some countries have higher fees than others, and some may have a fee-waiver agreement with New Zealand, so always check your specific requirements. The visa can be paid online through a Credit Card (Visa or MasterCard).

The visa fee will be different if you are coming from one of the Pacific Countries. No matter which visa type you apply for, the immigration levy equates to 55 NZD (37 USD).

Work Visa Type Visa Fee NZD Visa Fee USD Partnership/Work to Residence Work Visa 580 390 Entrepreneur Work Visa 3,310 2,230 Working Holiday Visa 190 130 Working Holidaymaker Extension Visa 190 130 Other Work Visas 440 300


It is important to know that all work visas in New Zealand are temporary, even the specific visas that can lead to a permanent residence which are covered further in this guide. When talking about a temporary work visa in New Zealand that means these types of visas are not geared towards getting permanent residence.