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How to Get a Visitor Visa for New Zealand?

An island nation surrounded by the southwest Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is home to untamed wilderness, majestic mountains, misty valleys, quaint villages and bustling towns. The country is one of the most loved tourist destinations for travel aficionados from across the world. 

Foreign travelers from countries that are not entitled for the New Zealand ETA should get a New Zealand visitor visa to explore the nation. 

Here’s what foreigner nationals planning to visit New Zealand need to know about the visitor visa. 

Information About Visitor Visa

The New Zealand visitor visa is a legal authorization issued by the government of that country to citizens of foreign nations that are not eligible by a NZeTA. The visitor visa for New Zealand lets foreigners visit the country as a tourist. 

International travelers can explore the country and take up short-time courses that last a maximum of three months in various universities and colleges.

Foreigners coming on this visa can also attend job interviews in the country and meet their family members, relatives and friends. 

It is to be noted that applicants can include their partners and children under 19 years in their application and they are required to have enough money to support themselves during their stay.

What are the Documents Required for a New Zealand Visitor Visa?

Applicants should submit a number of identity and travel documents at the New Zealand missions during the application process for their New Zealand visitor visa. The following is the documentation needed for the visa

A legal passport that is valid for at least six months: If the applicant is applying offline, he/she can provide the original passport or a certified copy of the document. If they are going online, they can upload a scanned copy of the document.

The NZ mission will inform them if they need to send the original copy. Note that the verification process is faster if they submit the original copy.

Passport-size photographs: One photograph, if they are applying online and two if they opt for offline application. 

Medical certificate: Based on their country of origin, applicants are required to get a medical certificate, a copy of their chest X-ray or both as proof of their good health. They are required to bear all the medical expenses while in New Zealand. 

Character certificate: Based on the age, country of origin and duration of the stay, applicants may be asked to submit a police verification certificate as proof of their good character. All applicants who are above 17 years of age and plan to stay in New Zealand for a longer period will need this document. 

Travel itinerary. This includes flight and accommodation tickets. Applicants must show that they have enough money to buy an onward ticket from the country or have to provide an already booked ticket. 

Completed visa application form along with a covering letter detailing the purpose and duration of the visit. This is for those who are planning to go offline. 

Proof of funds: Applicants need to submit bank statements or an internationally valid credit card detail as proof of their economic solvency. 

How Do I Get a Visitor Visa for New Zealand?

The first step is to find out whether a foreigner needs a visa. Foreign travelers hailing from visa waiver countries and Australian citizens do not need to apply for a visa.

While Australian citizens do not need a visa, travelers from visa waiver countries can apply for a NZ eTA.  

Foreigners from other countries who are planning a holiday in New Zealand can apply for a visitor visa both online and offline.

If an applicant cannot apply online, he/she can download the Visitor Visa Application (NZ1017) form and fill out the details. 

However, the government of New Zealand encourages applicants to go online as it is faster and easier. After completing the application, they can upload all the supporting documents and pay the fee online. 

Note that applications without required documents or incorrect documentation will not be processed by the authorities. 

Before starting the application process, applicants should set up a New Zealand government’s RealMe account. This is an authentication and identity verification service. Applicants can login to their RealMe accounts to access the official websites of the NZ government and public sector establishments. 

How Long does It Take to Get a Visitor Visa for NZ?

Various factors affect the time taken to process a New Zealand visitor visa. It depends on the country and consulate in which the application is made and the volume of applications. 

To speed up the verification process, the applicants must follow the specific criteria for a particular visa type.  Applying online too helps expedite the process. 

It is to be noted that New Zealand missions across the world receive a high number of applications between November and March. 

The average processing time for a New Zealand visitor visa is 20 days if the application is made online. It may take a few more days in the case of a paper application.

However, due to the high volume of applications, the processing time may increase further. International travelers are advised not to book their flights or accommodation before getting their visas. 

How Long Can I Stay in New Zealand on a Visitor Visa?

A genuine foreign traveler arriving on a NZ visitor visa can stay up to nine months in a validity period of 18 months.

The validity period is calculated backwards from the last day of the stay of a foreigner. If his/her last day in New Zealand is December 1, then the validity period starts on June 1 of the previous year. 

Can Visitors Work in New Zealand on This Visa?

Foreign citizens arriving in New Zealand on a NZ visitor visa cannot work in the country. To engage in paid employment in the country foreigners need to get an employment visa.

However, those coming on this visa can take up short-term courses of three months in educational institutions in the country. 

A New Zealand visitor visa does not guarantee a foreigner’s entry to the country. They have to go through immigration and customs checks at the port of entry.

If the officers find out that their circumstances have been changed since the grant of visa or if visitors are not able to submit proof of funds for an onward ticket or stay in New Zealand, they may be denied entry. 

The officers may ask a few questions and scan visitors’ eyes and fingers. If they refuse to give permission for this, they may be denied entry. 

For more information with regard to New Zealand visitor visa, international travelers can contact their nearest NZ embassy or consulate.

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