Are you considering a trip to a destination with stunning landscapes? Then, New Zealand, with its snow-capped mountains, pristine beaches, and lush greenery, is the perfect choice for you!
Here, you get to immerse yourself in the rich Maori culture, adding a unique dimension to your visit. Vibrant cities like Auckland and Wellington, thrilling outdoor adventures, and the serenity of nature await your exploration.
With planning this trip comes applying for a visitor visa or a NZeTA. Read on to learn about the entire process of the New Zealand Tourist Visa Application. Our Visa guide includes step-by-step instructions, success tips, and insights into common pitfalls, providing you with the knowledge for a successful visa application!
New Zealand Tourist Visa Application: A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Determine if You Need to Apply
Firstly, let’s establish whether you need a visitor visa or an NZeTA to visit New Zealand. If you are travelling with a passport from a country eligible for a visa waiver or if you are an Australian permanent resident (non-citizen), you need to obtain an NZeTA. You can apply on the NZeTA website to obtain one.
But if you fall under any of the following conditions, you need to apply for a visitor visa:
- Your travel involves a passport from a country or territory not eligible for a visa waiver.
- You plan to stay for more than 3 months (or 6 months for UK residents).
- You do not meet the criteria of good character, such as having a criminal conviction.
- Your health is not in good condition, or you are coming to NZ for medical consultation or treatment.
You can check whether your country is on the list of visa waiver countries on the official website of New Zealand Immigration.
Note: It is not required to have both an NZeTA and a visitor visa.
Step 2: Choose Your Application Method
Now, let’s discuss how you can apply for a New Zealand Visitor Visa. If you prefer a convenient and efficient way to apply for your New Zealand tourist visa, applying online is your best option. This method streamlines the application process and allows you to submit your documents electronically.
If you are going to apply online, you can follow this link to start your New Zealand Visitor Visa application. For an online application, you have to create a RealMe account first or log into an existing one. If you feel the need to find assistance in filling out this application, you can reach out to us at our Visa Application Helpline.
Visitor Visa Application (1017) for Non-Online Applications
If you cannot apply online or prefer a paper application, you can use the Visitor Visa Application form (1017) for non-online applications. This traditional method requires you to fill out the necessary forms and provide physical copies of your supporting documents.
Make sure to complete the form thoroughly and accurately, providing truthful details in uppercase letters. Additionally, enclose two identical photos of yourself, captured within the last six months, and inscribe your full name on the back of each photo.
Required Documents for New Zealand Visitor Visa
- Valid Passport and your Photo: It is emphasized that you must have a valid passport for the duration of your planned stay. You will also be required to submit your latest photo which must be 3.5 cm wide and 4.5 cm high.
- Proof of good health: To ensure the safety and well-being of New Zealand, visa applicants may need to provide medical certificates as part of the application process. These documents serve as evidence that you pose no threat during your visit.
- Proof of Healthcare Financial Responsibility: As an applicant, you are responsible for covering your healthcare costs during your stay in New Zealand. This financial commitment is an integral part of the visa application.
- Proof of Genuine Tourist Intent: To obtain a New Zealand tourist visa, you must present proof of your genuine intent to be a tourist and leave the country at the end of your authorized stay. This can be evidenced through return tickets, itineraries, or adequate financial means.
- Proof of Financial Sufficiency: Successful visa applications require demonstrating sufficient financial resources to support yourself during your time in New Zealand. This includes providing bank statements, proof of employment or income, or a commitment from a financial sponsor.
- Proof of Your Relationship: If you are going to be travelling with your partner, you are required to submit documents such as Marriage or civil union certificates or Joint bank accounts and in the case of children, you can provide their birth certificate.
- Proof of Good Character Requirement: Your New Zealand tourist visa application necessitates a demonstration of good character. This involves disclosing any criminal history or convictions. Accurate and thorough reporting is vital to prevent the risk of rejection.
Attend Interviews or Medical Examinations (if required)
Depending on your visa type, you may be asked to attend an interview or undergo medical examinations. Follow any instructions provided during the application process.
Step 3: Schedule Your Appointment (Offline Application Only)
To initiate your visa application process, book an appointment with VFS.GLOBAL at a designated visa application centre. Fill in the necessary details, including your full name, contact information, passport details, and any additional information required by the appointment booking system.
If your country lacks a New Zealand visa application centre, you must submit your application to the nearest one in another country. Upon successful booking, expect a confirmation email and an appointment letter.
Attend Your Appointment
Make sure that you reach the designated visa application centre on time for your appointment. Here, you have to first submit your completed application and all the requisite documents.
Upon submission, your document will be returned through a courier service, available at an additional charge for postal applications in certain Visa Application Centers.
Step 4: Paying New Zealand Visitor Visa Application Costs
The cost of your New Zealand tourist visa may vary depending on your chosen application method. The application fees start from NZD 211 and can be higher depending on your particular case. This is because sometimes you have to pay a levy and sometimes, you may not have to pay the fee. You can check this on New Zealand Immigration’s website as well.
Payment Options and Common Methods
You have several payment options available for your visa application fee:
- For online applications: Enter your bank card details during the online application. When your payment is successfully processed, you will get a confirmation email which you must keep as proof.
- For paper applications: As discussed above, enter your bank card details in the payment section titled ‘Paying your application fee and levies’ of the paper application. Make sure that the card details are correct and that you have sufficient funds on the application submission day to avoid rejection.
Note on Non-Refundable Fees in Case of Application Rejection
Keep in mind that visa application fees are typically non-refundable, even if your application is rejected. Therefore, ensuring that your application is complete and meets all requirements is essential. If you have any doubts, consider seeking professional assistance or guidance to increase the chances of a successful application.
Step 5: Processing Time & Receiving Your Visa
Now, that you have successfully applied for a New Zealand Visitor visa and paid the fee, you have to wait through the processing time. Many factors affect the processing time of a visa application but in the case of New Zealand Visitor Visa, it is usually 40 days to 56 days.
Factors Affecting Processing Time
The processing time for your New Zealand visa application can be influenced by several factors, including:
- Application Complexity: Different visa types have different processing times. Some visas may be processed more quickly than others due to their complexity and demand.
- Location: Your location can impact processing time. Visa processing times can vary based on the country or region where you apply. High-demand locations may experience longer processing times.
- Completeness of Application: A well-prepared and complete application is more likely to be processed efficiently. If your application is missing required documents or information, it may experience delays.
- Immigration Workload: The volume of visa applications being processed at a given time can affect processing times. Seasonal variations and government priorities may also play a role.
- Interview or Health Checks: If your visa type requires interviews, medical examinations, or character assessments, these additional steps can extend the processing time.
- Specific Circumstances: Certain individual circumstances, such as previous immigration history or requests for additional information, can impact the processing time.
Tracking Your Application
You can also track the status of your New Zealand visa application on your RealMe account. This tool allows you to monitor the progress of your application and provides updates on its status.
Be sure to keep the reference number or identification details provided during your application submission handy to use the tracking system effectively. If your application is delayed or if you have specific concerns, you can also contact the appropriate immigration office or centre for assistance and inquiries regarding your application’s status.
Receiving a Label in Your Passport or a Confirmation Letter
Upon approval of your New Zealand tourist visa application, you will receive either a label on your passport or a confirmation letter. The specific format depends on your visa type and application method.
Make sure to keep this document safe and readily accessible during your travels, as you may be required to present it to New Zealand immigration officials.
Visa Expiration Date and the Importance of Adhering to It
Your New Zealand tourist visa will have an expiration date. It is crucial to be aware of this date and adhere to it. Be sure to plan your departure from New Zealand to coincide with the visa’s expiration date, and do not exceed the allowed duration of your stay.
If you wish to extend your New Zealand visitor visa, ensure a valid reason, apply online through New Zealand Immigration, pay the fee, and meet specific eligibility criteria. Overstaying your visa can have serious consequences, including deportation, fines, and future travel restrictions.
By following these steps and adhering to the specific guidelines provided for your visa category, you can apply for entry permission to New Zealand and enjoy your visit or stay while complying with New Zealand’s immigration regulations.
Tips for a Successful Application
1. Double-Check All Documents
Before submitting your New Zealand visa application, meticulously review all documents to ensure they are complete, up-to-date, and accurate. Missing or incorrect documents can lead to delays or a rejected application.
2. Be Honest and Accurate
Provide truthful and accurate information in your application. Any false or misleading information can result in your application being denied, and it may have long-term consequences for future travel to New Zealand.
3. Apply in Advance
Apply for your New Zealand visa well in advance of your intended travel date. This allows for sufficient processing time and ensures that you have your visa in hand when you need it.
4. Seek Professional Advice (if Necessary)
If you have a complex case or are unsure about the application process, consider seeking professional advice from an immigration consultant or lawyer. They can provide guidance and assistance to increase the likelihood of a successful application.
5. Keep Copies of All Documents
Make copies of all documents submitted with your application and keep them in a safe place. Having duplicates can be invaluable in case any issues arise during the application process.
6. Stay Organized and Patient
Organize your application materials and maintain a record of key dates and communication with immigration authorities. Additionally, be patient throughout the process, as visa processing times can vary. Avoid unnecessary stress by planning and allowing for ample time to complete your application.
By following these tips, you can increase the chances of a successful New Zealand visa application and ensure a smoother experience in your travel preparations.
What to do in case of rejection?
If your New Zealand visa application is rejected, you have the option to request a reconsideration from Immigration New Zealand under certain conditions. To qualify for reconsideration:
- You must be in New Zealand when making the request.
- You should still hold a valid visa, such as an Interim Visa.
- The reconsideration request must be submitted within 14 calendar days of the initial visa application rejection & it will cost you NZD 250.
For those who submitted a paper visa application or used an alternative online system, a written request for reconsideration is mandatory. The request should include:
- A signed letter in English, explaining the specific aspects you want Immigration New Zealand to reconsider.
- Any supporting evidence or documentation to bolster your request.
- Submission of your passport or certificate of identity.
- Credit card details for the fee, including the card number, expiry date, name of the cardholder, and the cardholder’s signature.
If Immigration New Zealand acknowledges an error in their initial decision, you will be granted a visa. However, if the initial decision stands, no visa will be granted. The reconsideration process takes approximately six months, and a fee of NZD 250 is applicable.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
1. Incomplete Application
One of the most common mistakes is submitting an incomplete application. Ensure that all required forms and supporting documents are provided as per the visa category guidelines. Incomplete applications may lead to processing delays or rejections.
2. Providing False Information
Being dishonest on your application is a critical mistake. False information can result in your visa being denied, which may affect your future travel opportunities. Always provide accurate and truthful information.
3. Ignoring Visa Category Requirements
Each visa category has specific requirements and conditions. Failing to meet these requirements can lead to visa denials. Carefully review the guidelines for your chosen visa category and ensure you meet all criteria.
4. Late Submission
Late submission of your visa application can disrupt your travel plans. Apply well in advance of your intended travel date to account for processing time. Waiting until the last minute can lead to disappointment.
5. Not Providing Proof of Sufficient Funds
Failure to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support your stay is a significant oversight. Make sure to provide clear evidence of your financial means, such as bank statements or sponsorship letters, as required by your visa category.
6. Neglecting Health and Character Requirements
If your visa type necessitates health or character assessments, ensure you fulfil these requirements. Neglecting these obligations can result in visa denials. Attend required medical examinations and provide police clearance certificates when necessary.
Avoiding these common mistakes can greatly enhance the likelihood of a successful New Zealand visa application and ensure a smooth and trouble-free travel experience.
In conclusion, embarking on the journey to apply for a New Zealand visitor visa is not just a bureaucratic process but a gateway to a land of unparalleled beauty and cultural richness. New Zealand, with its breathtaking landscapes, friendly locals, and vibrant cities, offers an experience like no other.
As you navigate through the application process, it’s essential to remember the key components. Gathering the required documents, filling out the application form accurately, and providing honest information are crucial steps. Be sure to double-check all details, as accuracy can significantly expedite the processing time.
Are you feeling the wanderlust itching to plan your New Zealand getaway? Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself: What are you waiting for?
If you found this article fun to read and insightful, make sure to check out our other visa application guides. Share your story or drop your questions to us in the comment section below!