Temporary Class Entry Visitor/Work/Student
– and Returning Resident’s Visa (now called Permanent Residence Visa)

Visa/Permit: What is the difference between a visa and a permit?

The term ‘permit’ ceased in late 2010.
Until then on arrival in New Zealand a permit was issued in form of a passport sticker and/or stamp. It allowed the arriving person to stay on New Zealand territory.
Conditions (length of stay/special restrictions etc.) were stated on the sticker/stamp.
The term permit has ceased and been replaced with a (universal) visa.

A visa entitles the holder to travel to New Zealand. According to the type of visa issued, it can be void on arrival or valid for multiple entry (multiple-journey visa). The expiry date and other conditions are stated on the sticker/stamp.

Working Holiday Visa:

Applicants from certain countries and in the age group 18-30 years may apply for a 12-month working-holiday visa. This visa entitles the applicant to work legally for a NZ employer in New Zealand. Please visit the official NZIS website www.immigration.govt.nz for details on participating countries and how to apply directly online.

Visitor Visa:

In general, a visitor to New Zealand will be issued on arrival with a visitor visa valid for 3 months (special conditions apply for some countries). The visitor is then allowed to stay for a maximum period of 9 months within a 18-month period, then he must leave the country. Under special circumstances a further extension of 3 months can be granted (i.e. if an application for permanent residency has been lodged in the meantime)

Limited Purpose Visa / Permit:

The Limited Purpose Policy has the objective to facilitate the entry for visitors and students who choose to enter NZ for an ‘express purpose’ and:

  • who would not otherwise be accepted for temporary entry because of the risk that they might remain in NZ after their temporary permit expires
  • who choose the Limited Purpose Visa as their preferred method of entry

An ‘express purpose’ includes studies as a full-time student, attending special events such as weddings, funerals seminars or conferences, medical treatment and other special purposes other than employment.
Holders of a LPV are subject to restrictions and cannot apply for any other visa (under no circumstances), this includes applications for work-visa and residence-visas.

Work Visa:

This is another type of visa where the holder is legally allowed to stay and work in New Zealand for a longer term. There are 26 special conditions and regulations which apply.

The applicant has to present a New Zealand job offer. The job has to be directly related to the qualification and/or work-experience acquired hitherto.

Unless the occupation is listed here and all requirements are met by the applicant, the employer must provide conclusive evidnece on his/her efforts to recruita New Zealand resident or citizen suitable for this position. Evidence must be provided in terms of a so-called labor market test which includes advertising in local and national newspapers, listing with Work and Income NZ (WINZ)  etc.
The conditions are rather strict and the application procedure can prove difficult. Once a work visa is issued, it is valid for a maximum period of 5 years and can be extended afterwards. Proof of English is not obligatory. Depending on the length of visa issued, a police certificate and a medical check-up might be requested. If the applicant is being joined by a spouse/partner, a separate visa will be granted for the spouse/partner under certain conditions (so-called open work visa under the family stream).

Student Visa:

Main criteria is the proof of the intention to study  (enrollment form) at a New Zealand institute as well as evidence that the (international) course fees have been paid in advance. Depending on the length of the visa issued, a police certificate and a medical check-up might be necessary. If the applicant is being joined by a spouse/partner, a separate visa will be granted for the spouse/partner under certain conditions.

Permanent Residence Visa (until 12/2010 called Returning Resident’s Visa)

The requirements for a Permanent Resident Visa vary and are crucial for the approval of a lifetime/indefinite residence visa. If the requirements are not being met, the applicant will not be issued with a new returning resident’s visa/permit and must go through the whole immigration procedure again. This may prove difficult as the applicant might not reach the passmark at a later stage in his life. Main criteria for a lifetime visa is the applicant’s time spent in New Zealand and his tax resident status. In meeting all requirements an applicant can obtain a lifetime visa after a period of 2 years.

Interim Visa:

Interim Visa were introduced in June 2011 and pretty much bridge the period of time between the expiry of a current visa and the date the decision is made on a new (pending) visa application.
Prior to June 2011 applicants was deemed illegal as soon as the current visa expired while a furtehr application was still processing.
One cannot apply for  an Interim visa, they are usually automatically granted by INZ.

There are numerous other class entry visas, such as Guardian visa, graduate job search visa etc….