Moving To New Zealand? Here’s What You Should Know

Moving to New Zealand

When you think of New Zealand, you probably imagine pictures of snow-capped mountains, forests, unique wildlife, glaciers, and the world-famous rugby team.

And with hiking, skydiving, skiing, caving, amongst many other thrilling escapades, this is the adventure capital of the world and everything here is geared towards getting you outside to do something outlandish. But don’t forget your sunscreen (even during the winter!).

Whether you are planning a backpacking trip or you want to move permanently, New Zealand won’t let you down.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a useful list of the most important things that any expat to New Zealand should know before making the big move.


Do I need a visa to move to New Zealand?

Yes, you need a visa to move to New Zealand, unless you are a permanent resident or a citizen from Australia. If you want to move there, you will need a visa, which is different from the standard New Zealand tourist visa.

How do I prepare to move to New Zealand?

Check the Visa requirements

Depending on your status, job, and ethnicity, there are more than 80 different types of visas that you can apply for when you move to New Zealand.

If the visa you are granted is for less than 2 years, you are not entitled to New Zealand publicly-funded health care.

Of course, you can go to the doctor, but you will have to pay the full price. In this situation, it’s advisable that you have medical insurance.

However, the good thing about New Zealand is that if you are in an accident or you have to go to the emergency room or an ambulance, all of that is free. No matter what visa type you are on.

If your visa is two years or more, you get access to the awesome New Zealand medical care.

Is it easy to get a visa in New Zealand?

You should be very careful when you apply for a visa. The process is difficult and stringent. There are many visa requirements that you should meet. From proof of financial support in the country to proof of overall good health.

There is also a high probability that your visa is denied if you use the incorrect form. This will make it more difficult if you need to obtain another visa in the future.

There are visa quotas in place, and for applicants from most countries, the limits are low. Also, the window for applications is open only once a year. You must look carefully for the right time to apply for a New Zealand visa, as the vacancies fill up very quickly.

So, how do you get a visa for New Zealand? The answer is simple – you must have a job offer.

If you don’t have a job, you will need to apply for a holiday visa.

Looking for a reliable visa assistance partner?
This is where we can help.

Visa First is the world’s leading provider of visa processing and immigration services and you can apply online for your visa. For additional information about New Zealand visas, you can call us or email at

Our experienced agents will handle all the tricky paperwork, save your time from long queues in front of the embassy and boost your chances for a successful visa application.

What documents do I need for a New Zealand visa?

If you decide to apply with Visa First, you will need an application form and a passport copy.

How much money do you need to move to New Zealand? Is New Zealand an expensive place to live?

It can be quite expensive to live in New Zealand. So before you make the move, it’s a good idea to ensure that you have plenty of money in your savings account.

This is very important, especially if you don’t have a job before you move to the country and you need some time to find one.

Your biggest costs will be food, housing and transportation. If you could save around NZ$12000- 13500 for the first 2-3 months, you will be in good hands. That number could vary depending on where you live.

The average cost of living for one person per month in New Zealand is around NZ$(3604).

The immigration website has a cost of living calculator that you can use to determine what the cost of living might be for you.

Customs is a very serious thing here

Make sure you declare everything you bring into the country, including your hiking boots! If you don’t declare stuff you can spend around NZ$500 in fines.

Get a phone number

If your CV includes your phone number from home, employers might not take you very seriously, so you must have a New Zealand phone number. Make sure the phone is unlocked and that you have a local sim card.

What’s the best place to live in New Zealand?

There’s no one best place in New Zealand  – it all depends on what you’re looking for.

Whether you’ll give priority to your job and move to a place with excellent job prospects or you prefer to run away from the crowded metropolitan area and get back to nature – it’s all your choice!

New Zealand


Auckland is the largest city with a population of over 1.2 million people. It’s a multicultural and industrial centre.

Although Auckland is considered an expensive destination, it’s an ideal place to start your new life.


This is the second-largest city in the country with an excellent climate, educational and social facilities and you can get a perfect combination of working and relaxing here.


Chicago is universally known as ‘the windy city’.

In Wellington, New Zealand has its own version!

It’s also an administrative and cultural centre with some of the best galleries, museums and restaurants in New Zealand.

Its hilly terrain automatically grabs all newcomers’ attention as it offers a spectacular city view both during the day and at night time.


This is a lovely city located alongside the longest river in New Zealand– the Waikato river.

Its major benefit is the short distance to beaches, mountains, lakes and caves. It offers a great outdoor life. It’s also a student centre with more than 25,000 people involved in studies.

What is the cheapest place to live in New Zealand?

The North Island city of Whanganui is often referred to as the cheapest place to live in New Zealand.

Finding accommodation in New Zealand is a great place to start your search. It is like Craigslist and on it you can find anything from the accommodation, jobs, things for sale and more. All kinds of stuff!

It’s a good idea to find a hostel, Airbnb or Couchsurf until you find out the appropriate accommodation and take your time with it.

The market can be unpredictable. If you want to find affordable housing, you need to be comfortable with sharing a flat with someone else.

You might need at least two references from where you lived before, also a bank statement, your passport, visa, your letter of employment.

Set up a bank account and get an IRD number

Don’t forget to set up a bank account and get an IRD number. This number will help you keep track of the tax you pay. Without it, you will have to pay more taxes.

To open a bank account you must check what documents you need. It’s free to get it and the process is simple. Just choose a bank, go there and say you want to open one and they will guide you from there.

One more thing to remember, to open a bank account you must have a proof of address. You need a signed document from your landlord or a hostel, etc. and take it to the bank.

The good news is that Visa First can help you with both and save you a lot of time.

Get a New Zealand driving license and learn the road rules

Getting a new driving license is not obligatory but it is definitely useful.
If you are from the UK, then driving on the left side of the road won’t be an issue, but if you come from somewhere else, you will need to get used to it. Don’t forget to learn the different road rules and signs.

New Zealand climate – Be prepared for all weather, all the time

You can have 4 seasons in one day here!

New Zealand boasts a temperate climate. It gets colder as you move south and warmer to the north.

The highest temperatures are between January and February while July is the coldest month.

Summer is from December to February, autumn is from March to May, winter is from June to August and spring is from September to November.

The average temperatures in summer vary between 20 – 30ºC and in the winter between 10 – 15ºC.

Although the climate is moderate without a large temperature range, it may change suddenly.

New Zealand is sunnier than Western Europe and the three largest cities in New Zealand are among the sunniest places in the country.

It can snow between June and October; mountain areas get the most snow.

Finding a job

Do you want to be in a big city? Or do you want to live in a small town closer to nature?
Are you career-oriented or do you prefer the laid-back atmosphere? You will need to answer these questions before you start your search.

You can look for jobs at and

There is also a skills-shortage list since New Zealand is a small country. There are skills that not many people have. So, if you have those skills, then it will be really easy to come here, get a job and a visa.

Register for your NHI Number for Health Services

Depending on what visa you arrive with you might have access to free health services or reduced-price health services. You need to register for your NHI number. You can do this at your local doctor as long as you take your passport and visa along with you.

Learn some Te Reo Māori also known as Te Reo

This is the native language of Māori people who are the indigenous population of New Zealand.

It’s not necessary to learn it, but you will see it around and you will hear a lot of people speaking it. You need to know how to pronounce it. That being said, knowing a few basic words might be helpful.

Is it easy to gain residency in New Zealand?

No, it’s not easy to gain residency. It’s better to plan it as an adventure and see what happens.

There’s also an option where if your employer really likes you, they can prove that they can’t afford to hire a New Zealander. If this happens, they might be able to sponsor you, so you can stay. Again, check out the skills-shortage list. If you can get an initial visa, just come and figure it out.

Fun Fact:

When you go to a restaurant or a bar, you won’t get the bill. You will have to walk to the cashier to pay for it. Yeah, this surprises a lot of people.
…That being said, welcome to New Zealand!

Apply online for your New Zealand visa with Visa First today!


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