Visa Processing Times

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.

Immigration NZ Timeframes

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

Visitor Visas

Visitor Visa

50% 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 Visa

50% of applications completed within:

75% of applications completed within:

90% of applications completed within:

Essential Skills
18 days
37 days
71 days
Partner of a New Zealander
71 days
4 months
7 months
Partner of a Student
46 days
76 days
4 months
Partner of a 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 Visa

50% 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
The skill shortage lists give you a good indication if you want to find out whether: you can claim bonus points for your Expression of Interest, you can fast-track your work visa, or your profession is in high demand in the New Zealand job market

Coronavirus is extending 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.

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

    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.
    The skill shortage lists give you a good indication if you want to find out whether: you can claim bonus points for your Expression of Interest, you can fast-track your work visa, or your profession is in high demand in the New Zealand job market
    The skill shortage lists give you a good indication if you want to find out whether: you can claim bonus points for your Expression of Interest, you can fast-track your work visa, or your profession is in high demand in the New Zealand job market

    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.

    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 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.
    The skill shortage lists give you a good indication if you want to find out whether: you can claim bonus points for your Expression of Interest, you can fast-track your work visa, or your profession is in high demand in the New Zealand job market

    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.

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