How long are the visa processing times?

New Zealand Visa Processing Times

How long will it take to get my visa?

  • Processing times describe the time needed by INZ to process your visa application once you have lodged it. 

  • Generally work, visitor and student visas are processed between 1-2 months, however essential skills work visas are typically faster. We have seen work visas issued within a couple of days, much to the delight of our clients and their new employers.

  • If then applying for residence through the skilled migrant category, you can generally expect it to be processed within 14 months.

  • Keep in mind, that individual processing times depend on the complexity of an application, on the need for further information and the number of other applications received. For INZ specific visa processing times for holiday visitors, work, and resident visas, view the table below:


Visitor Visa

Visitor Visa50% of applications completed within:75% of applications completed within: 90% of applications completed within:
Visitor (Holiday) 18 days 33 days 57 days


Work Visas

Work Visas50% of applications completed within:75% of applications completed within: 90% of applications completed within:
Essentials Skills 18 days 37 days 71 days
Partner of a New Zealander 71 days 4 months 7 months
Partner of student 46 days 76 days 4 months
Partner of worker 26 days 58 days 3 months
Post-study work visa 18 days 36 days 48 days
Variation of conditions on a work visa 6 days 17 days 47 days

Residence Visas

Residence Class Visas50% of applications completed within:75% of applications completed within: 90% of applications completed within:
Partner of a New Zealander 9 months 10 months 12 months
Permanent Resident Visa 7 days 11 days 63 days
Skilled Migrant 6 months 10 months 17 months
Transfer of visa to new passport 1 day 3 days 6 days
Variation of travel conditions on a resident visa 7 days 14 days 66 days


What is impacting visa processing times?

Watch the following video to understand some of the main factors that affect visa processing times and how to speed up your application:

Recent longer expected processing times: 

  • Unfortunately, recent extended processing times 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.

  • Our Licensed Immigration Advisers and their support team are always up to date with local law and developments and deliver the best immigration strategies from the start of your case to keep avoid additional delays.

 How is Coronavirus affecting Visa Processing Times:

  • Immigration New Zealand’s office in Beijing has been closed since 24th of January 2020. This office had the task to decide around 10,000 visa applications per week and would process about 50% of all temporary applications for New Zealand annually. The closure will reduce 130 immigration officers from the visa processing teams. Currently, visa applications from China are being transferred to other offices to be processed.

  • New Zealand government has implemented strong border restrictions to keep the number of outbreaks very low, this situation is expected to cause further delays in visa processing times for the following weeks, but we remain upfront and genuine in delivering what we promise. Starting with us sooner means we can use our 25 years of professional strategy to build your high-quality application swiftly and keep additional delays at bay, giving you the freedom to live where you really want.

 How to speed up the processing time of your visa application:

  • Choosing the right visa type right from the start and submitting a professionally assessed complete visa application will be the 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.

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

  • Immigration New Zealand (INZ) receives high numbers of applications between November and March. Therefore, it takes more time to get visas ready during that period. Submit your request as early as possible to allow enough time for your application to be processed before the date you intend to travel.

To understand how to speed up your application, understand the three-step process of the application:

  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 may 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 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 children. 

    • If 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 may be given a chance to explain yourself and submit further documents. In many cases, documents have to be obtained from the migrant’s home countries, which can be difficult and very time-consuming. 

    • Over the years, we had seen significant delays when essential documents, for example, police certificates and qualification or work-related documents were not at hand when requested by Immigration New Zealand. 

    • Any request for further information or evidence may delay your process for several weeks, which can increase be stressful without professional assistance.

Find out how we can get you genuine results by asking our Licensed Immigration Advisers for a personal Free Assessment of your best migration options:

 Free Immigration Assessment 


Read more about our Job Search Program:

Read more about the duration of your migration process:

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 what it takes to migrate to New Zealand ask our Licensed Immigration Adviser Dr.Carsten Hallwass for a Free Assessment.

Free Assessment
"Thanks Apekshi and Carsten for your valuable advice and processing our work visas with maximum results. Appreciate your prompt communication and quality service too."