How long are the visa processing times?

Immigration New Zealand has updated the expected processing times in May 2018!

Unfortunately these news are not good for migrants and New Zealand employers!


What are the visa processing times?

Processing times describe the time needed by Immigration New Zealand, the Government agency in charge, to process your visa application once we have lodged it. 

The times given by INZ are meant to help you to estimate the time needed by them to process and complete your application. They are indicative only and different for each visa type. 

Individual processing times will depend on the complexity of an application, on the need for further information, and on the number of other applications received.


In May 2018 Immigration New Zealand has updated the expected processing times. 

While the processing time for work visa applications previously was at around 23 days, it has now been increased to 69 days!  

INZ has stated that 90% of Essential Skills Work Visa applications are currently completed within this time.

Unfortunately these news are putting additional pressure on migrants and their families who have successfully secured a job offer and want to start working as soon as possible!

New Zealand businesses are not impressed either, as they need the new staff member to work for them without any delays. 

Our Licensed Immigration Advisers and their support team are doing their best to keep any additional delays at bay.



Anticipated visa processing times from May 2018 onwards, published by INZ: 

Work Visas

Visa Type75% of applications completed within:90% of applications completed within: 95% of applications completed within:
Essentials Skills 48 days 69 days 87 days
Partner of a New Zealander 64 days 3 months 5 months
Partner of student 27 days 48 days 74 days
Partner of worker 47 days 71 days 3 months
Post-study work visa - employer assisted 47 days 63 days 75 days
Post-study work visa - open 18 days 32 days 42 days
Variation of conditions on a work visa 38 days 50 days 62 days

Visitor Visa

Visa75% of applications completed within:90% of applications completed within: 95% of applications completed within:
Visitor (General) 11 days 21 days 31 days


Residence Class Visas

Visa Type75% of applications completed within:90% of applications completed within: 95% of applications completed within:
Partner of a New Zealander 7 months 9 months 11 months
Permanent Resident Visa 13 days 17 days 21 days
Skilled Migrant 7 months 10 months 15 months
Transfer of visa to new passport 12 days 14 days 16 days
Variation of travel conditions on a resident visa 9 days 15 days 22 days




In Comparison - Previously INZ had anticipated the following processing times:


Temporary visa applications

Visitor visas 20 days
Student visas 20 days
Work visas 23 days


Resident visa applications

Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa 6 months
Partnership Resident Visa 4 months
Dependent Child Resident Visa 3 months
Parent Resident Visa 7 months
Investor Plus (1)
Investor 2

90 days
8 months

Residence from Work visas :

  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa
  • Talent (Arts, Culture and Sports) Resident Visa
  • Long Term Skills Shortage List Resident Visa
3 months
Other 6 months




Can you influence the processing time of your visa application?

To understand what you can do to speed up your application,  it is important to look at the process:


1. Submission of visa application

After you have submitted your application it will be scanned by a receiving officer, who will check whether all documents have been submitted in the prescribed manner.

Delays will occur if your documents are not complete and your application is returned to you as a consequence.


2. Lodgement and allocation of visa application

Once your application has been formally accepted, it is lodged and allocated to an immigration case officer who will be in charge of deciding whether you will be granted the visa. 


3. Eligibility Check and Verification of visa application

The case officer will assess your eligibility and determine whether you have proven that you are in fact eligible for the specific visa type you have applied for. 

If applicable the case officer will also confirm the details you have given about your partner and/or children. 

If the your case officer questions your eligibility under the policy you have chosen or is not convinced that you have provided sufficient evidence for meeting all the criteria of that policy,  you will be given a chance to explain yourself and submit further documents.

Over the years we have seen major delays when important documents, for example police certificates and qualification or work related documents were not at hand when requested by Immigration New Zealand. 

In many cases documents have to be obtained from the migrant's home countries which can be difficult and very time consuming. 

Any request for further information or evidence will delay your process for several weeks. 

It is needless to say that requests for clarification and verification will not only cause delays but also increase your stress levels. 


What can you do to speed up your visa process?  

Choosing the right visa type right from the start and submitting a complete visa application will be your best way to speed up your visa application process. 

We have  seen work visas issued within a couple of days, much to the delight of our clients and their new employers of course!


Competent visa advice and careful preparation are the key to a smooth visa application process, regardless of which type of visa you are applying for.  



Read more about the duration of your migration process:

How long until I have PR? 

How long will it take to migrate? 



Are you eligible for a Resident Visa under the Skilled Migrant Category? Find out by using our Quick Self-Check Guide

Read more about becoming a New Zealand resident through the Skilled Migrant Category:

Ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers

If you want to find out more about obtaining the right visa for New Zealand, contact Julia Cooke, Licensed Immigration Adviser at NZIC.

Ask Julia for a Free Assessment