What are Acceptable Standards of Health Criteria for NZ Visa Approvals?

What are Acceptable Standards of Health Criteria for NZ Visa Approvals?


When applying for a visa to New Zealand, health criteria is one of the crucial requirements to meet the acceptable standard of health. This guideline ensures that all incoming individuals do not pose a significant risk to public health and will not impose excessive demands on New Zealand’s health services. This document outlines the comprehensive standards, processes, and considerations involved in determining an applicant’s health status for visa approval.

Understanding the Health Criteria for Visa Applications

Criteria for Health Assessment

To ensure the well-being of the public and manage the demands on New Zealand’s healthcare system, New Zealand visa applicants must meet specific health criteria. These criteria help determine the eligibility for both residence and temporary visas.

Key Health Criteria

We evaluate if an applicant:

  • Poses a risk to public health.
  • Will impose significant costs or demands on health services.
  • Requires funding from the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS).
  • Has health conditions that may hinder their ability to work or study.

Exclusions in Health Assessment

When assessing health criteria, the following are not considered:

  • Personal or organizational ability to pay for health services.
  • Access to private health care.
  • Health insurance.
  • Support from family, friends, or charities.

Special Considerations

Applicants needing entry for medical treatment or consultation may be exempt from these health criteria.

Evidence of Good Health

To ascertain that you meet the acceptable standard of health, you must provide substantial evidence. This typically involves undergoing specific medical examinations and submitting relevant medical documents.

Key Requirements:

  • Medical Examination: A general health check conducted by a certified physician.
  • Chest X-Ray: Required for applicants from countries with high TB incidence.
  • Specialist Reports: If you have a known medical condition, you may need to provide additional reports from specialists.

Who Needs an X-Ray or Medical Examination


  • Applicants from countries with high tuberculosis (TB) incidence.
  • Individuals planning to stay in New Zealand for more than 12 months.
  • Those applying for specific visa categories such as residence, student, and certain work visas.

Getting an X-Ray or Medical Examination

Steps to Follow:

  • Find a Certified Medical Practitioner: Locate a doctor or radiologist approved by Immigration New Zealand.
  • Schedule an Appointment: Ensure you have all necessary identity documents.
  • Undergo Examination: Follow the guidelines provided by the medical practitioner.

Identity Documents for Medical Examinations

Required Documents:

  • Valid Passport
  • Visa Application Number
  • eMedical and INZ Health Case Reference Numbers (if applicable)

Medical Examination Process

Evaluation Process

Applicants may need a medical examination to determine if they meet the acceptable health standard. Depending on the results, the process can proceed in several ways:

  • Approval if criteria are met.
  • Referral to a medical assessor, who is a registered New Zealand practitioner, for further opinion.

Possible Outcomes of Medical Assessment

The medical assessor may:

  • Request additional medical information.
  • Confirm the applicant meets the health criteria.
  • Recommend a medical waiver assessment if criteria are not met.
  • Suggest visa denial if a medical waiver is not feasible.

Countries with Specific Health Risks

Low Incidence of Tuberculosis:

Countries like the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and most of Europe have a low incidence of TB.

High Risk of HIV:

Applicants from countries with high HIV prevalence may require additional screening.

Health Conditions Affecting Residence Visa Eligibility

Certain health conditions can result in the denial of a residence visa. These include:

  • Hepatitis B and C with criteria for antiviral treatment.
  • Malignancies of organs, skin (e.g., melanoma), and haematopoietic tissue, unless the probability of recurrence is below 10%.
  • Need for organ transplants or ongoing immunosuppression (excluding corneal grafts).
  • Severe, chronic, or progressive renal, hepatic, or musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Severe neurological disorders such as dementia, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.
  • Severe cardiac diseases like ischaemic heart disease and cardiomyopathy.
  • Severe chronic respiratory diseases, including cystic fibrosis.
  • Significant hereditary disorders like primary immunodeficiencies and Gaucher’s disease.
  • Severe autoimmune diseases requiring immune-suppressant medications.
  • Severe hearing or vision impairments needing significant support.
  • Severe developmental disorders or cognitive impairments requiring significant support.
  • Major psychiatric illnesses or addictions needing hospitalization or significant support.
  • History or treatment of MDR-TB or XDR-TB without clearance from a New Zealand specialist.

High-Cost Medical Conditions:

Applicants may also be denied if projected health service costs exceed NZ$81,000 (or NZ$41,000 for applications before September 4, 2022).

Health Criteria for Temporary Visa Applications

Temporary visa applications may be denied if the applicant’s health condition is likely to require:

  • Hospitalization requirements
  • Need for residential care
  • High-cost pharmaceuticals
  • High-cost disability services

Public Health Care in New Zealand

While in New Zealand, you may access public health care under certain conditions. It is essential to understand the eligibility and coverage details to ensure adequate healthcare during your stay.


Meeting New Zealand’s acceptable standard of health criteria is crucial for visa approval. It ensures that applicants do not pose a significant burden on the country’s health services and can integrate successfully into society. By maintaining these rigorous standards, New Zealand aims to protect its public health and manage healthcare resources efficiently.

Immigration chambers provide assistance in the visa application process by offering expert advice on visa options, guiding applicants through the requirements, and helping prepare necessary documentation. Our Licensed Immigration Advisers in Auckland can also recommend the best visa category based on individual circumstances and ensure applications are correctly completed and submitted.

Acceptable standard of health criteria for visa approvals