Guide on General Visitor Visa

For visiting friends and family, and sight-seeing and travelling as a tourist.

If you want to learn about General Visitor Visa, you've come to the right place.

This guide has everything you need to understand the basics of General Visitor Visa. You'll also find links to useful resources from our blog and video throughout, so you can plan your next steps.

What is it?

With a visitor visa NZ, you can stay in New Zealand for a maximum period of nine months in an 18 month cycle (counting back from expiry date of proposed visa). In certain cases, you may be able to stay 12 months in an 24 months cycle. Often Immigration New Zealand will raise questions whether you are coming to New Zealand for a lawful purpose, in which case you will need to communicate clearly as to why you are coming and try to persuade them that you are unlikely to overstay.

You will need to satisfy each of the following requirements:

  • meet general requirements; and
  • meet funds requirements; and
  • meet outward travel requirements (if relevant); and
  • coming to New Zealand for a lawful purpose.

Let's take a look at each in turn.

How does it work?

Certain countries have been classified as 'visa-waiver' countries which means people from those countries do not need to obtain a visitor visa when coming to New Zealand. Their visitor visas will be issued for three months upon entry, as long as the purpose of visit is for a lawful purpose.

What are the requirements?


General requirements of visitor visa include paying correct application fee, using prescribed Immigration New Zealand form, meeting health/character requirements, and being a 'bona fide' (genuine) applicant.


You will need to have available funds of at least $1,000 per each month you are intending to stay in New Zealand. If your accommodation has been pre-paid, then $400 per month. Alternatively, you could provide sponsorship from eligible sponsors.

Outward travel

You will need to show that you have the means to leave New Zealand when the visa expires. This could be satisfied by way of travel ticket, sufficient funds to purchase a travel ticket, sponsorship, etc.

Lawful purpose

You must be coming to New Zealand for a lawful purpose, which include - holidaying, sightseeing, family and social visits, amateur sport, business consultation, medical treatment, or guest of government visits. You must not be intending to undertake employment, or a course of study (with exception of short-term studies).

author headshot Michael Yoon
Last modified on 11 January 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.

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