How long will it take until you have your visa?

The wait times for visitor, work, student, resident and other visa types depend on the visa policy and the complexity of your case.

You can view the estimated official average Immigration New Zealand processing times listed by visa category below.

Choosing the right visa type and lodging a complete visa application will make a huge difference for the speedy processing of your visa.

The three steps of the visa application process and where you might encounter potential delays:
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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.
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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.

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3. Eligibility check and verification of Visa Application

  • Your 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 your case officer questions your eligibility under the policy, you may be given a chance to explain yourself and submit further documents.

The official visa processing times:

Find out how long it takes Immigration New Zealand to process visa applications.

(The wait times below are based on actual processing times in March 2024)

Visas for visitors

  • Visitor Visa: 2 weeks
  • Partner of a New Zealander Visitor Visa: 3 months
  • Business Visitor Visa: 1 week

Visas for work

  • Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV): at least 6 weeks
  • Employer Accreditation for AEWV: at least 6 weeks
  • Job Checks: at least 6 weeks

Student Visas

  • 8 to 10 weeks

Resident Visas

  • Parent Resident Visa: 10 months
  • Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa (new visa criteria): 4 months
  • Straight to Residence Visa: 3 months
  • Work to Residence Visa: 4 months
  • Permanent Resident Visa: 3 weeks

Why some visa applications take longer to process than others

Some visa applications may take longer to process than others. If your application is taking longer than what is shown on this page you can find out what factors may affect visa wait times.

Is your application complex or straightforward?

Examples for complex applications:

One reason your application might be taking longer than expected is if your application is complex. These are some of the factors that can make your application complex:

  • You are applying to come to New Zealand for the first time.
  • You or someone included in your application have medical issues or a history of medical issues.
  • Your application is part of a group application.
  • INZ is waiting on information from others, for example, organisations that provide international qualification information or police certificates.
  • Your application has information that requires further review. For example, your travel history, or links and circumstances in your home country.
  • Your previous travel to New Zealand raised concerns with INZ. For example, you stayed in New Zealand after your visa expired.
  • You or someone included in your application have declared character issues, and INZ is assessing if you are of good character.

Examples for straightforward applications:

A straightforward application:

  • includes all required evidence
  • has no mistakes or typos within the application
  • shows that you have genuine intentions to visit, study or work in New Zealand.

What you can do to speed up the processing time of your visa application:

An important factor for the length of time it will take until you receive your visa is of course the complexity of your individual application.

Health or character issues will delay the decision-making process, if they are not fully addressed

If your application is missing vital documentary evidence, Immigration New Zealand will request further information. This will delay the decision-making process considerably.

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

Start working on your visa application as early as possible to be ready for your application to be submitted as soon as you fulfil all eligibility requirements.

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

Only include evidence that INZ asks for in your application. If you include additional evidence that they have not asked for this can slow down the processing time for your visa.

If you have provided evidence with your application that is in the wrong format, outdated or that is not in English, this could also slow down the processing time for your visa.

A lot of work can be done to prepare a flawless visa application that will not require any unnecessary queries from Immigration New Zealand when time is of the essence.

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 to avoiding delays, regardless of which visa type you are applying for.

Read about how ourVisa Service will manage your visa application and help you speed up your visa application process.

Join our Immigration and Job Hunt Webinar to learn how we can help you avoid unnecessary delays in your visa application process.

Speed up the process, get it right the first time.

Complete our Free Assessment to ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers which pathway to New Zealand is right for you.

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