How long are the visa processing times?

Visa processing times may take longer from December 2018!

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

Unfortunately, this news is not ideal for migrants and New Zealand employers!


Are you applying for a New Zealand visa?

Immigration NZ advises all applicants to make sure the information in your application is complete and correct. Any mistake can delay the processing of your visa. The government agency receives high numbers of applications between November and March. Therefore it takes more time to get your visa 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.

If you are not sure about which visa to apply for and how to avoid mistakes that can cause delays, you are welcome to ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers for a free assessment on your migration options.


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 Immigration NZ 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 approximately 69 days!  

Unfortunately, this news is 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: 


Work Visas50% of applications completed within:75% of applications completed within: 90% of applications completed within:
Essentials Skills 27 days 55 days 3 months
Partner of a New Zealander 38 days 3 months 5 months
Partner of student 36 days 70 days 6 months
Partner of worker 29 days 53 days 3 months
Post-study work visa - employer-assisted 23 days 33 days 47 days
Post-study work visa - open 23 days 33 days 47 days
Variation of conditions on a work visa 16 days 33 days 48 days
Visitor Visa50% of applications completed within:75% of applications completed within: 90% of applications completed within:
Visitor (Holiday) 10 days 16 days 26 days


Residence Class Visas

Residence Class Visas50% of applications completed within:75% of applications completed within: 90% of applications completed within:
Partner of a New Zealander 8 months 9 months 11 months
Permanent Resident Visa 14 days 21 days 32 days
Skilled Migrant 5 months 10 months 13 months
Transfer of visa to new passport 10 days 16 days 25 days
Variation of travel conditions on a resident visa 14 days 21 days 30 days


What can you do to cut down the processing time of your visa application?

To understand how to speed up your application,  it is essential 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 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 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 keys 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