We check visa processing times announced by Immigration NZ every week and update the details on this page.
The visa processing time can vary depending on many factors, such as, INZ's workload, incorrect information supplied, missing information, and if there is a sponsor involved.
Visa Application Processing Timeline
The timeline below is a representation of how an immigration application is managed by Immigration New Zealand from start to end.
Application is lodged to Immigration New Zealand either by post or via immigration website. Recommended method is to lodge online.
A documentation officer will undertake a preliminary check to see if all lodgement required documents have been submitted. If lodged in paper form and something's missing, INZ can 'RFL' (Return Failed Lodgement) the application.
The application will sit in a queue pending allocation to an immigration officer. It could be several weeks or months depending on the application.
When an immigration officer has been allocated, an initial assessment will be undertaken. The officer may ask for more information, clarification or a response to concerns raised.
If it is approved, good news, but if it is declined, there may need to be follow up processes.
If you get an immigration lawyer, you will be much safer and less stressed, as you will get professional guidance in the steps involved, clearing all your questions and doubts.
2021 Resident Visa Processing Time
As of 13 January 2024, INZ has processed more than 97 per cent of applications, which means there remain more than 3,000 applications still to be decided. Their initial projection was 18 months from March 2022.
Total applications received
Total number of applicants (incl dependents)
Applicants approved (incl dependents)
Visitor Visa and NZeTA Processing Times
The processing times depend on the time of the visitor visa you are applying for. It will take a bit longer during the peak season which is usually from October to February.
New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA)
Visitor Visa (General)
Partner of a New Zealander Visitor Visa
Business Visitor Visa
Student Visa Processing Times
Things can slowdown a bit towards December to April each year. This is because the course commencement date for universities are usually in February or March.
Fee Paying Student Visa
Dependent Child Student Visa
MFAT-funded NZ Scholarship Student Visa
Exchange Student Visa
Work Visa and Employer Accreditation Processing Times
Employers can make a formal request for escalation if there are genuine needs. For example, we were able to get escalation approved as the migrant worker was being exploited and wanted to move to the new employer urgently.
Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa (Previous visa criteria)
Straight to Residence Visa
Work to Residence Visa
Permanent Resident Visa
How to Get Your Visa Processed Faster
Make sure that you have covered all bases in terms of the kind of supporting documents provided as well as the quality of the documents.
You have to understand that Immigration New Zealand's guides and checklists are merely the starting point. Checking off the list does not necessarily mean your application will be approved or be processed quicker.
Getting an immigration lawyer to help with the application will ensure that the right kind of evidence is produced to INZ in an easy to understand fashion. This will ensure smoother and faster processing without hiccups.
If you are applying for an employment-based application, you may be able to apply for an escalation if there is a genuine need. We have helped many clients to be granted escalation but the threshold is high.
Got questions about immigration but feel lost and unsure?
We provide a tailored approach to our services to ensure your immigration process is completed as smoothly and worry-free as possible.
From start to finish, with us, you can apply with confidence.