TEMPORARY VISAS

Visitor Visa Information

The following information provides a general overview of Visit Visa policy. Please note that this information does not replace or constitute immigration advice from a licensed immigration adviser.

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General Information

The visitor visa provides visitors with the right to enter New Zealand for a limited period of time without the right to study*, work, or reside in the country.

*excluding courses of up to 3 months in one calendar year.

An expiration date will always be attached to a visitor visa. Whether the visa is issued electronically or in a passport, it is the traveller's responsibility to comply with all requirements and leave by the expiration date.

A visitor visa is the most temporary of visas, and is often associated with few conditions if the traveler is from a "low risk" country, although individuals from "high risk" regions may need to apply in advance and meet rigorous requirements.

 

What Should You Do?

The following tips will help you if you're planning a trip to New Zealand:

  • You should book your travel as early as possible. Consult your travel agent or a New Zealand government website to determine whether someone of your nationality may travel to New Zealand "visa-free" (visa-free passport holders must apply online for an electronic travel authority at least 72 hours before their trip) or whether a visa is required. The lists change regularly. Make sure that you only rely on current official information.

  • Honesty is key.

  • Consult a Licensed Immigration Adviser if you have any historical issues, such as criminal convictions (even minor ones), health issues, deportation, or prior visa or border refusals.

  • Make it a habit to keep up to date with any conditions or expiration dates associated with any visa you hold or receive. It is expected that you are familiar with the conditions and expiration dates of the visa, whether it is in your passport or in an electronic format.

  • Get the help of a professional if you need to extend or modify your visa after arrival.

Traveller Risk To NZ

A traveller represents a certain degree of "risk" for the country in which he or she is staying. A "risk" is managed by requiring detailed documentation in advance, that can be verified before arrival, for people coming to New Zealand permanently or for work, or for visitors from "high risk" regions.

Visitors from countries with "low risk" are managed by front-line Immigration officers according to their discretion, supported by powerful databases that are linked globally among major western nations. 

A traveller's perceived "risk" can range from the risk of engaging in unauthorized work, becoming illegal, or being there for marriage rather than a holiday, to the possibility that they are a criminal or terrorist.

As a result of this system, New Zealand enjoys a good level of security and most travellers are not inconvenienced, but every single day, at airports and out of sight from the general public, dramas unfold as unprepared travellers find themselves caught in suspicion, sometimes justified, but sometimes the result of errors or misplaced assumptions.

Final Thoughts

It's best to avoid coming to New Zealand on a short-term visitor's visa if your real intention is to work, get married, or stay longer.

In many cases, it is tempting to think that it will be easier to deal with the issues when you get to New Zealand on a visitor's visa; however, there’s a risk that the New Zealand authorities might believe that you’re trying to "trick them", and the results can be devastating.

Honesty is the best policy when dealing with Immigration New Zealand.

The NZIHS can help you solve any problems that you might have.