Visitor visas are very much what they sound like – permission to visit New Zealand for a limited amount of time. If you want to holiday in New Zealand, visit family and friends, or study here for up to three months, you can do all of those things on a visitor’s visa. But unless you have received a Working Holiday Visitor Visa, you won’t be permitted to work.
The requirements for a visitor visa are that:
The visitor visa fits your actual purpose for being in New Zealand
Your stay is truly intended to be a temporary one
You meet an acceptable level of health
You have a positive moral character
Your passport is valid for at least three months past your departure date (or one month past the departure date if the government that issues your passport has consular representation in New Zealand).
In general, visitor visas allow guests to stay in the country for up to nine months, but it is possible to apply for another visa whilst in New Zealand that can extend your time here by a further three months. There are also a few visitor visa options that permit longer stays.
If you are a grandparent of a New Zealand citizen or resident, you can apply for a Grandparent’s Visa, which allows a total of 18 months in New Zealand over a three-year period.
Or, if you have been approved for medical treatment or assessment in NZ, a Medical Treatment Visitor Visa allows for a stay of up to six months.
Quite a few countries are considered ‘visa waiver’ countries, which means that residents of these nations do not need to apply for a visa before travelling to New Zealand.
Examples of visa waiver countries are:
There are many more, so be sure to check INZ’s list of visa waiver countries before planning your trip. Note that visa-free travel from these waiver countries is only allowed up to three months (six if you are from the UK); if you plan to stay longer than that, you will need to get a visa.
Please also be aware that you may not be allowed to enter New Zealand at all if you have served time in prison, been deported from any country, or been involved in known criminal or terrorist groups.