How long are the visa processing times?

Visa processing times may take longer from November 2018 to March 2019!

Immigration New Zealand has updated the expected processing times on 5 December 2018. 

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


Advice for visa applicants from Immigration New Zealand, the Government agency for visa matters:

"We process applications as soon as we can. To avoid delays, check that the information in your application is complete and correct. To ensure your application is processed as quickly as possible you need to supply all relevant information with your application, including translations.

If you do not supply the correct information this could hold up the processing of your visa.

We receive high numbers of applications between November and March. This means it may take us longer to process your visa application during this time.

Submit your application as early as possible to allow enough time for your application to be processed before the date you intend to travel."


What does "visa processing times" mean?

Processing times describe the time needed by Immigration New Zealand, INZ,  to process your visa application once you 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.


The expected processing times are now exceeding previous processing times. 

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

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 published by INZ: 

Numbers in brackets show previous processing times.

Work Visas75% of applications completed within:90% of applications completed within: 95% of applications completed within:
Essentials Skills 59(48)days 79(69) days 3 months (87 days)
Partner of a New Zealander 37(64) days 62 days (3 months) 3 (5) months
Partner of student 27 days 48 days 74 days
Partner of worker 46 (47) days 70 (71) days 84 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 18 (38) days 50 days 62 days
Visitor Visa75% of applications completed within:90% of applications completed within: 95% of applications completed within:
Visitor (Holiday) 20 days 27 days 36 days


Residence Class Visas

Residence Class Visas75% 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


What can you do to cut down 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 what it takes to migrate to New Zealand ask our Licensed Immigration Adviser Dr.Carsten Hallwass for a Free Assessment.

Free Assessment