How long does it take to get PR?

New Zealand Permanent Residence

How long does it take to become a Permanent Resident through the Skilled Migrant Category?

  • The application processing times for permanent residence under the Skilled Migrant Category are lengthy, and several hurdles have to be overcome until you get to your goal, your Resident Visa. 

  • The entire process consists of 2 main stages, the Expression of Interest and the Resident Visa application. In many cases, external Qualification Assessments must be obtained, and some migrants have to apply for their professional registration. 

  • It will take many months from the day you start preparing for your move until your Resident Visas are finally issued and stamped into your passport, we will time your process according to your specific situations. 

Watch the following video to understand what are the steps you may need to follow if you are looking to migrate to New Zealand and become a Permanent Resident.


How do you become a Permanent Resident through the Skilled Migrant Category?

  • There are two main steps to getting permanent residency in New Zealand through the skilled migrant category, these are the work visa process and the resident visa process, after this comes the permanent residency process.

  • You may be eligible to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa two years after you have obtained your New Zealand Resident Visa, provided that you have met the travel conditions enforced by Immigration New Zealand. 

Step 1: Your Work Visa Application with NZIC

  • Most migrants will have to apply for a work visa on their pathway to residence.

  • Immigration New Zealand anticipates their processing time to be between 1 and 2 months. Still, applications may take longer to process if they need to check your information or request more information from you.

  • As we will have collated all necessary documentation at an early stage, no valuable time will be lost with taking care of important formalities when you are eager for your work visa to be granted as soon as possible so you can start working.

  • Our Licensed Immigration Advisers will liaise with your future employer and advise them regarding their obligations, including Labour Market Testing.

  • Your work visa application will be prepared to a high standard to ensure a smooth process once it has been lodged with Immigration New Zealand and avoid unnecessary delays. 

  • While your application is pending our  Licensed Immigration Advisers will take care of any queries Immigration New Zealand might have and follow through to completion.  

Step 2: Your Resident Visa Process with NZIC

  • Our Licensed Immigration Adviser will let you know when you are eligible and ready for your resident visa application.

  • By that time all your documents will be in place. As soon as your Licensed Immigration Adviser is certain that your EOI will have a realistic chance of being selected during the following selection,  your Expression of Interest will be submitted within two weeks.

  • A verification process will take place where Immigration New Zealand undertakes a preliminary check of the credibility of your points claim. Once approved, you will receive an Invitation to Apply for a Residence Visa, ITA. 

  • We will submit your Resident Visa application without delays, the current processing time by Immigration New Zealand for Resident Visa Applications under the Skilled Migrant Category is six months.

  • Delays can occur if your documentation is incomplete or if any health or character issues need to be assessed during the process, so it is important that you inform us as soon as possible of any issues that may arise, such as previous convictions or health problems so that we can prepare for a Medical or Character Waiver Application.

Finally: Permanent Residency 

What is impacting Permanent Residence Application Times?

Preparation can save you a lot of time:

  • Getting ready for your move might take longer than you had anticipated.

  • A lot of preparation can be done while you are still in your home country, and it is usually easier to obtain documents while still there. 

  • You may be required to have your qualifications assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority or apply for your professional registration, which can take 4-5 monthsand this can be a considerable hold up for your migration process if you do not plan.

  • We generally advise our clients to start preparing their arrival as soon as they are sure that they want to migrate to New Zealand, regardless of whether that will be in a month or a year. 

How we can help you speed this up:

  • Any work you can do early on in the process will help you build a solid basis for your arrival.  We will identify potential hurdles right at the beginning and provide you with a solution using our best strategic practices.

  • Once we start our cooperation, we will provide you with a list of documents needed for your visa applications, tailored to your background by one of our Licensed Immigration Advisers. Some evidence is relatively easy to compile. Other documents are more challenging to obtain.

  • If English is not your first language, your documents might have to be translated into English by a Certified Translator before they can be submitted to Immigration New Zealand. Determining which documents need to be translated, communicating with the translator and waiting for the translations to be completed will take several weeks. We can get that organised for you.

  • Our thorough preparation will give you the peace of mind that essential formalities have already been taken care of.


Are you eligible for a Resident Visa under the Skilled Migrant Category? Find out by using our Quick Self-Check Guide or talk to our Job Search Coaches about finding a job that suits your professional background. Also, ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers whether you qualify.

Free Professional Assessment


Read more about why you need a Job to get your Visa and how we can help you:


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
"Thank you and the whole team for the great job. Frankly, I still cannot get how you did your "magic". Thank you for all your efforts, professional advice and, of course, for your patience with us. :) Regards”