New Zealand Permanent Resident & Citizenship

If you are looking to live and work in New Zealand, we can help you identify the right visa option and understand the requirements you need to satisfy in order to apply for New Zealander permanent residence. Engaging our services at the start of the application process will save you time and money.

Permanent Resident

Permanent residence is usually the next step after residence. You can live and work in New Zealand indefinitely, and come and go as you like. 

To be eligible for a permanent resident visa, you must:

  • hold a resident visa, or have held one in the last three months
  • hold, or have held, that resident visa for at least two years continuously, and it has been at least two years since your first day as a resident in New Zealand
  • have met any conditions that your resident visa was subject to under section 49(1) of the Immigration Act
  • meet character requirements for residence
  • have met one of the five commitments to New Zealand criteria set out below.

(i) You have spent enough time in New Zealand

You have spent 184 days or more in New Zealand as a resident in each of the two 12 month portions of the 24 months immediately preceding your application for permanent residence.

(ii) You have New Zealand tax residence status

You are a tax resident in New Zealand if you:

  • Have been in New Zealand as a resident for 41 days or more in each of the two 12-month portions of the 2 years before you apply for permanent residence, and 
  • Are assessed as having tax residence status for the 2 years before you apply for permanent residence.

If you have tax residence in another country, even if it’s one that New Zealand has a double tax agreement with, you can’t use your tax residence status there to show your commitment to New Zealand.

(iii) You have invested in New Zealand

You have had NZ$1,000,000 invested in New Zealand in an acceptable investment for two years or more.

(iv) You have a business in New Zealand

You’ve either bought or started a business in New Zealand a year or more ago. The business must be trading successfully and of benefit to New Zealand in some way. If you bought into an existing business in New Zealand you must have at least a 25% share in the business.

(v) You have established a base in New Zealand

You have established your base in New Zealand by having:

  • Lived in New Zealand as a resident for at least 41 days in the year before you applied for permanent residence
  • And everyone else included in your residence application has been living in New Zealand for at least 184 days in the 2 years before you applied for permanent residence

You must also have either:

  • Purchased a home 12 months before or after becoming a resident, still own that home and live there now, or
  • Worked full-time in New Zealand for 9 months or more in the 2 years before you applied for permanent residence.

Variation of Resident Visa Travel Conditions

You can stay in New Zealand indefinitely on a resident visa, but you need travel conditions to leave and return as a resident. If you plan to travel after your travel conditions expire, and you’re not eligible for a Permanent Resident Visa yet, you can apply for a variation of travel conditions.

Second or subsequent resident visa

If your resident visa has expired you may be granted a second or subsequent resident visa with travel conditions valid for two years only in special circumstances, for example you are the partner of a New Zealand citizen or you are seconded overseas as part of your New Zealand employment. 

You cannot be approved a permanent resident visa, variation of travel conditions, or second or subsequent resident visa if you do not meet the requirements set out in Immigration Instructions. Contact us to receive legal advice on whether you are eligible for a variation or a second or subsequent resident visa. 


Once you’re settled into New Zealand you may decide you’d like to become a Citizen. As well as demonstrating your commitment to your new country, Citizenship gives you a range of benefits.

They include the right to travel freely overseas and return on a New Zealand passport, full access to economic rights, and full access to educational scholarships and awards that are reserved for New Zealanders.

In general terms, the requirements are:

  • Intention: you must plan to stay living in New Zealand if you’re granted citizenship.
  • Residence: you’ll usually be required to have been living in New Zealand with residence status for five years before you apply. (The option to apply after three years’ residence is no longer available).
  • English: you must know English well enough to handle everyday situations like shopping or banking without assistance.
  • Good character: if you’ve been convicted of traffic offences, benefit fraud or have any convictions, it may affect your application.
  • You need to understand the responsibilities and privileges of New Zealand citizenship.

To submit your application for New Zealand citizenship, please refer to New Zealand Government website: