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SOUTHERN MAN IMMIGRATION BLOG

Permanent Resident Visa New Zealand

August 6, 2023
Iain MacLeod

New Zealand is a beautiful country with a diverse culture and stunning landscapes. It is no wonder that many people dream of making it their permanent home. If you are one of those people, then you will need to obtain a Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand. This visa allows you to travel in and out of New Zealand indefinitely and gives you the right to live, work, and study in the country.

The process can seem daunting, with many requirements and regulations to navigate. However, with the right preparation, documentation, and guidance from an immigration lawyer, you can confidently take the initial steps towards making New Zealand your permanent home.

Understanding Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand

If you have been living in New Zealand on a residence visa for more than two years, you may be eligible to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa. This visa allows you to live, work, and study in New Zealand indefinitely and travel in and out of the country without any restrictions.

Permanent Resident vs. Resident

Obtaining a Resident Visa is the first step in being allowed to remain in New Zealand indefinitely. Two years after the grant of a Residnt Visa you can apply for a Permanent Residence Visa.

Both can be ‘permanent’ but one has conditions and one does not. A Resident Visa,  whilst valid for as long as you are physically in NZ, is in effect a two year visa because the primary applicant in the original resident visa application must fulfil one of a number of measures of commitment to the country. Once achieved they (and any family members included in the original resident visa), can apply for the Permanent Resident visa.

A Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand is a long-term immigration option that provides greater stability and security compared to a resident visa. It allows you to live and work in New Zealand indefinitely and come and go as you please.

Benefits and Privileges of Having a Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand

As a Resident or Permanent Resident Visa holder of New Zealand, you are entitled to several benefits and privileges, including:

  • Access to free or subsidized healthcare under the public health system
  • The ability to sponsor family members for New Zealand residency
  • The right to vote
  • Eligibility for New Zealand citizenship after a certain period
  • The ability to travel in and out of New Zealand without any restrictions

This Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand allows a sense of permanence, enabling the individual to immerse themselves in the local culture, participate in community activities, and contribute to the national economy.

A Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand is a great option if you are looking to settle in the country long term. It provides you with greater stability and security compared to a resident visa and comes with several benefits and privileges.

approved Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand

Eligibility Criteria for a Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand

The New Zealand government has set forth a specific set of criteria to ensure that only committed individuals are granted permanent residency status. The eligibility requirements include:

  1. Identity Verification: Applicants must provide two acceptable photos and their passport or certificate of identity as proof of their identity.
  2. Good Character: Applicants must have a clean criminal record and good standing in their communities.
  3. Resident Visa Tenure: Applicants must have held a resident visa for at least 24 months at the time of applying for a permanent resident visa in New Zealand. This period starts from the date your resident visa was issued if you were in New Zealand at the time, or from the date you arrived in New Zealand if the visa was issued while you were outside the country.
  4. Resident Visa Conditions: Applicants must provide evidence that they have met all conditions of their current resident visa.
  5. Commitment to New Zealand: Applicants must demonstrate their commitment to contributing to New Zealand. This could be through spending enough time in New Zealand, having New Zealand tax residence status, making significant investments in New Zealand, running a business in New Zealand, or establishing a base in New Zealand.

Demonstrate Your Commitment to Residing Permanently in New Zealand

  1. Time

    One way to exhibit your dedication to making New Zealand your permanent home is by spending substantial time in the country. Immigration authorities require proof that you’ve lived in New Zealand for at least 184 days in each of the two years immediately preceding your application for a permanent resident visa in New Zealand. Your travel records will serve as the necessary proof for this requirement.
  2. Establishing New Zealand Tax Resident Status Another avenue to fulfil your commitment is by attaining tax residence status in New Zealand. For this, you generally should have been physically in the country for a minimum of 183 days in the first 365 days and at least 41 days in the second 365 day period.  You should also have an assessment affirming your tax residence status for the same duration. A statement from Inland Revenue or an endorsed Confirmation of Tax Resident Status would serve as evidence.3. Investing in New Zealand

    An investment of NZ$1,000,000 or more in an acceptable venture in New Zealand for a period of two years or more also qualifies as a mark of your commitment. You would need to present evidence of the value and ownership of the funds and/or assets. This could include bank statements, property deeds and reports, share certificates, or business ownership and valuation documents.

    4. Operating a Business in New Zealand

    Running a business in New Zealand can be another testament to your dedication. If you have either purchased or established a business in New Zealand that has been operating successfully for at least one year, it counts toward demonstrating your commitment. Should you have bought into an existing business, a minimum 25% share is necessary. The evidence would include the latest business accounts certified by a New Zealand chartered accountant and a confirmation from them that the business is in good standing.

    5. Setting Up a Base in New Zealand

    Finally, establishing a base in New Zealand is a significant indication of your intent to reside there permanently. This means living in New Zealand as a resident for at least 41 days in the year before applying for permanent residence. If your family members were included in your residence application, they should have lived in New Zealand for at least 184 days in the two years prior to your application. Additionally, you should either own a home you purchased 12 months before or after becoming a resident and still live there, or have worked full-time in New Zealand for nine months or more in the two years before applying for permanent residence.

Application Process for Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand

If you are considering applying for a Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand, it is important to familiarize yourself with the application process. The process involves several steps, and it is essential to prepare all the necessary documents and meet the medical and character requirements.

Preparing the Necessary Documents

The documents required may vary depending on your circumstances. However, in general, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • Evidence of your current visa status
  • Proof of your identity
  • Proof of your relationship status (if applicable)
  • Evidence of your English language proficiency
  • Evidence of your qualifications and work experience
  • Police certificates from all the countries you have lived in for more than 12 months in the last ten (10) years.

Filling Out the Application Form

After gathering the necessary documents, you can now proceed to the application stage. This process involves filling out the Application from a Resident or Former Resident Holder (Form INZ1175).

Take time to fill out the application form accurately and in its entirety. Remember to attach all the required documents. Pay particular attention to sections asking for details about your stay in New Zealand, your compliance with the conditions of your current resident visa, and your commitment to New Zealand.

Paying the Application Fee

The cost associated with applying for a Permanent Resident Visa can differ depending on your specific situation. As it currently stands, the application fee for a Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand is set at NZD $240.

Submitting the Application

After filling out the application form, the next step is to submit it along with all the necessary documents. This submission can be made online through the New Zealand immigration website or at a physical location.

Please note, the submission method might depend on your current location, so it’s advisable to check the specific requirements on the New Zealand immigration website or with a local immigration office.

Awaiting a Decision

Following the submission of your application, the waiting period begins. This process can take some time, with 90% of applications completed within a few weeks. The immigration authorities might reach out if additional information is required.

Following these steps will help ensure that the process of applying for a Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand is smooth and successful. Remember to check for any updates or changes in the application process based on the country you’re applying from. It’s also beneficial to consult with an immigration lawyer or expert to ensure you’re following the correct procedures and submitting the correct documents.

view of a New Zealand national park, a scenic delight for those with a Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand

Living with a Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand

Upon obtaining your Permanent Resident Visa in New Zealand, you will have both the rights and responsibilities inherent to permanent residency. This includes access to educational and healthcare services, eligibility for employment and social welfare benefits, along with the freedom to travel extensively using your Permanent Resident Visa.

Rights and Responsibilities of Permanent Residents

As a Permanent Resident of New Zealand, you have the right to:

  • Live, work, and study in New Zealand indefinitely
  • Travel to and from New Zealand at any time
  • Include your partner and dependent children aged 24 and under in your visa application, if you included them in your original residence application

As a Permanent Resident, you also have the responsibility to:

  • Obey New Zealand laws and regulations
  • Pay taxes on your income and assets in New Zealand
  • Enrol in the electoral roll and vote in elections
  • Ensure that your contact details are up to date with the Immigration New Zealand

Access to Education and Healthcare

As a Resident Visa holder or a Permanent Resident Visa holder, you can access the country’s public education and healthcare systems. You can enroll your children in state-funded schools and are eligible for free or subsidized healthcare services through the public health system.

Employment and Social Welfare Benefits

As a Resident or a Permanent Resident Visa holder of New Zealand, you have the right to work in any job  and have the same employment rights as New Zealand citizens. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you are also eligible for social welfare benefits, such as unemployment and sickness benefits.

Travelling with a New Zealand Permanent Resident Visa

You can travel to and from New Zealand at any time. However, if you plan to stay outside of New Zealand for more than two years, you may need to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa Variation, which allows you to keep your Permanent Resident status while you are overseas.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Iain MacLeod

Iain has been working as an Immigration Adviser since 1988 and has been running his own practice since 1990. In 1998 he merged his practice with Myer Lipschitz leading to the creation of Protea Pacific Limited which was rebranded in 2008 to IMMagine New Zealand Limited...

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Leave a Reply

  1. Hi there,
    I have got my Permanent Residence approval in April 2022 and I have been overseas ever since, but planning to coming back at some point. I have now completed one and a half years overseas, is it mandatory or really beneficial to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa Variation in order to keep my status? Are there going to be penalties if I do not come back within 2 years?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Regards,
    Marta

    1. Hi

      Thank you for your query.

      Given the volume of general queries we receive researching and responding to inquiries of this type does occupy a substantial amount of time.

      To recover some of the cost we have a facility on our website where you can ask us a question and within 24 working hours we will provide you with a written response.

      The cost is just AU$15 and you can find out how to ask us a question on the following page of our website:https://immagine-immigration.com/ask-us-question/

  2. good day Iain
    my name is Barry Stuart and i am a 55 year old qualified Fitter Turner with over 35 years experience. are you able to assist me with finding a job and moving to New Zealand?
    i am a Zimbabwean by birth and a Permanent Resident of South Africa since 2014

    my phone number is 0027(0) 81 759 2164

    1. Post
      Author

      Would love to Barry but by the time you’ve done your three years working in NZ to qualify for residence you will be over 56 years of age. That’s the cut off for eligibility. Sadly you’ve left your run a little late.
      Iain

  3. I want to immigration in new Zealand.my qualifications are M.com LL.b,B.ed,M.ed.and my work experience in relevant field 32 years Teacher in Higher education department in Azad Jammu and Kashmir Pakistan.

    1. Post
      Author

      Dear Muhammad

      As a first step for us to establish your eligibility (or otherwsie) I’d recommend you complete one of our (free) preliminary evaluations. It requires you to provide information in the form of a questionnaire and CVs. We will within two working days provide you with feedback on whether we believe it is then worth booking a consultation with us (for which there may be a charge).

      Here is the link:

      https://immigration.co.nz/assessments/free-evaluation/

      I look forward to hearing from you.

      Iain MacLeod

  4. Hello,

    The wording in this is misleading. Permanent Resident status in NZ is indefinite. This is indicated on the Immigration NZ website and on the PR visa itself. There is no limit to how long a Permanent Resident can be out of the country as long as the visa is updated with the acquisition of a new passport from the country of citizenship. The two year rule applies to Temporary Resident status. There are inquiries in your comment thread that have gone unanswered regarding this error of explanation above. It would be nice if you could correct this to avoid people worrying unnecessarily.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Mike

      You are incorrect, sorry. Yours is a common misconception. A Resident Visa is NOT a temporary visa. If the holder of a Resident Visa does not leave NZ it allows them to remain indefintely. What is however attached to that resident visa is travel restrictions for two years. That can make it feel temporary perhaps because the primary applicant in the original resident visa application must fulful one of a numbers of measures of committment to NZ during the two following its grant. But temporary it most definitely is not.
      Iain

  5. Hi,

    I have a Permanent Residency status (not a Residence Visa) and have been away from New Zealand for a year and a half. I will have to go back to NZ at some point, your post suggested that I need to go back or apply for a variation, however I cannot find any travel limitation details in Immigration.govt.nz website. Please advise

    1. Post
      Author

      I am not sure i understand your question.

      Your visa confirms travel restrictions for the two years of your Resident visa and i promise you they are real.

      Here is the relevant instructions (rule):

      RV2.5 How do resident visa holders or former holders qualify for a permanent resident visa?

      Upon application principal applicants, except for those to whom RV2.10 applies, will be granted a permanent resident visa if:

      they either:

      hold a resident visa, and have held that resident visa continuously for at least 24 months at the time of application; or
      have held a resident visa in the three months before the application is made, and had held that resident visa continuously for at least 24 months before it expired (provided RV1.25 does not apply);
      and
      their first day in New Zealand as a resident (R5.66.1) was at least 24 months before the application is made; and

      they can demonstrate a commitment to New Zealand by meeting the requirements set out in any one of the five subsections below (RV2.5.1 to RV2.5.20); and
      they have met any conditions imposed under section 49(1) or section 50 of the Immigration Act; and

      they meet character requirements for residence (see A5).

      Unless you fulfil one of the non ‘time spent in NZ’ criteria eg tax residence, property ownership and living in it, so long as you return to NZ before your visa expires you will be granted another on arrival.

      However if you then need or want to leave you can do so but only by applying for 14 days of ‘travel permission’ at a time.

      Once you meet the ‘committment criteria for 12 months’ you can get travel conditions extended for 12 months.

      I appreciate this is complex stuff and if you’d like to email me privately (iain@justimmagine.com) I will do my best to help you work through your options.

  6. Hi Ian, upon reading all of the comments I think you misunderstood the difference between a Permanent Resident Visa and a Residence Visa. They both have different conditions, including travel conditions.

    A Resident Visa clearly state the 2 years travel conditions. However for a Permanent Resident Visa it is unclear on the travel conditions hence the question. But now its certain its best to ask Immigration New Zealand directly as you don’t seem to know.
    To avoid confusion please update your blog its misleading.

    1. Post
      Author

      Yulia, are you a licensed immigration adviser with 35 years experience who has dealt with the difference between the two many thousands of times for tens of thousands of clients like me?

      I can assure you it is not me who does not understand the difference between a Resident Visa and a Permanent Resident Visa.

      I do find many non-experts fumbling their way around the internet do use the terms interchangeably so it isn’t always possible to understand precisely what it is they are posting about.

      You’ll note I responded to your previous comment with ‘I do not think I understand your question’. That is not because I do not know what I am talking about – in fact it demonstrates quite the opposite. As a LIA, before I dispense advice I need to ensure I fully understand the background, current circumstances and the rules. A comment section in a blog is not the place to have the discussion like this as no two peoples’ circumstances will be the same.

      Hence my last sentence in my reply to you below.

      You are however quite correct. A Permanent Residence Visa (available for application no less than 24 months after the grant of a resident Visa to those who meet one of five measures of committment to NZ) has NO travel conditions – holders are free to come and go as they please and maintain as much or as little a connection (through time, tax, investment or any other criteria) to New Zealand as they please.

      There is for some people an ‘in between’ status however that gets really confusing that allows them to secure variations of travel conditions if they do not meet the PRV criteria but their two years on the RV is up.

      I hope this makes things clearer for you.

      Iain

  7. I have a question regarding travelling while I am on a Residency Visa incl. 2yrs travel restriction. This finishes 22-10-2024. My partner an I wanna go travelling for 6 months, starting end of next month, will this be an issue for getting a PRV? We will be back before on 01-10-2023

      1. Post
        Author

        Hello Iris

        Notwithstanding Myer’s advice if you tick the following t boxes on the 24 month anniversary of the grant of your resident visa you should qualify:

        1. You were the primary applicant in the original resident visa; and
        2. You have spent an aggregate 183 days in each of the two 12 month periods following the grant of the first resident visa. And INZ does calculate to the day so when you say you are going away for 6 months, if that is more than 183 it will push out the time you need to qualify for the PRV.

        I hope this helps

        Iain

  8. You don’t not loose NZ PR after being out of the country for 2 years. This is false and misleading. I would never trust your services.

    1. Post
      Author

      Another armchair expert? How do you figure that? Can you quote the immigration instruction to me that you are basing your opinion on?

      You 100% can lose your resident visa if you stay out of NZ for more than two years.

      There are exceptions if for example you are in a relationship with a NZer but for the majority of PR holders if they fail to fulfil one of a number of measures of committment to NZ during the two years following the grant of a resident visa they absolutely can, and usually will, lose it.

      Iain

application for a permanent resident visa in New Zealand

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