Family Law Christchurch

Permanent Residence & Citizenship

IMMIGRATION LAW

Family Law Christchurch
Family Law Christchurch

Permanent Residence & Citizenship

IMMIGRATION LAW

Family Law Christchurch
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Permanent Residence and Citizenship

New Zealand is a wonderful place to call home, offering a range of opportunities for those seeking permanent residence and citizenship. Our country is home to diverse landscapes, vibrant culture, and welcoming communities and it is no wonder so many people are attracted to our beautiful country. 

If you want to live in New Zealand, you will need to hold a resident visa. To obtain a resident visa there are a number of pathways available, most of which will start with a temporary visa which will allow you to work, study or own a business in New Zealand.

There are some visas that will give you residence straight away, such as those under the Skilled Migrant Category.

While going through the process of obtaining a resident visa, it is important that you follow all the conditions set out in your visa so as not to risk your chances of getting that resident visa. This is where we can help you secure that pathway to residency. We can also help you to determine which visa best suits your situation and how long your path to residency will take.

Resident visa

If you are 55 or younger, you can apply for a resident visa, or a work visa that leads to residence after working in New Zealand for at least 2 years.

To qualify for a resident visa you must first meet the requirements set out by Immigration New Zealand, which include being in good health, of good character, and being sponsored by a New Zealand citizen or resident.

Permanent Resident

If you have had a residence visa for more than 2 years you may be eligible to apply for a permanent residence visa. Having a permanent residence visa will allow you to travel in and out New Zealand as much as you want with no restrictions.

There are a few requirements that you must meet in order to get permanent residence in New Zealand, including length of time spent in New Zealand on a resident visa, showing commitment to New Zealand, meeting character requirements and fulfilling all other conditions.

In order to apply for permanent residence, you must show your commitment to living in New Zealand by providing evidence that you meet at least one of the five criteria set out by INZ.

Acceptable evidence of your commitment to living in New Zealand include:

  1. You have spent enough time in New Zealand
    1. You must have spent at least 184 days in New Zealand on a resident visa in each of the 2 years immediately before you apply for permanent residence. This refers to the 2 year period before you apply for permanent residence, not the 2 years after you were issued with a resident visa. This means that you are permitted to leave the country during this 2 year period, as long as you spend at least 184 days in New Zealand in that 2 year period.
    2. Immigration New Zealand keeps records of your travel so you will not need to provide evidence for time spent.
  2. You have New Zealand tax residence status
    1. You will need to provide evidence of your tax residence status with either a) a statement from Inland Revenue, or b) a completed Confirmation of Tax Resident Status endorsed by Inland Revenue.
    2. You are classed as a tax resident in New Zealand if:
      1. You have been in New Zealand as a resident for at least 41 days in the two 12 month periods of the 2 years before you apply for permanent residence, and
      2. You are assessed as having tax residence status for the 2 years before you apply for permanent residence
  3. You have invested in New Zealand
    1. You must provide evidence that you have invested at least $1,000,000 NZD in New Zealand in acceptable forms of investment for at least two years
    2. In your evidence of investments, you must show evidence of the value and ownership of the funds or assets.
    3. Acceptable evidence for investments can include:
      1. Bank documentation
      2. Property deeds and reports
      3. Share certificates
      4. Business ownership documents and valuation reports
  4. You have a business in New Zealand
    1. If you have bought or started a business in New Zealand at least one year ago OR you bought into an existing New Zealand business and have at least a 25% share in the business. The business must be successfully trading and be of benefit to New Zealand in some way.
    2. You will be required to provide evidence, showing:
      1. A set of your latest business accounts certified by a New Zealand chartered accountant
      2. A letter or email from a New Zealand chartered accountant confirming that your business is a ‘going concern’ (meaning your business is still in operation and is making a profit).
  5. You have established a base in New Zealand
    1. Establishing your base in New Zealand means that you have lived in New Zealand as a resident for at least 41 days in the year before you apply for permanent residence. Anyone else included in your residence application must also have been living in New Zealand for at least 184 days in the 2 years before you applied for permanent residence.
    2. You must also have:
      1. Live in and own a home that you purchased 12 months before or after becoming a resident in New Zealand
      2. Worked in a full-time job in New Zealand for at least 9 months in the 2 years before you apply for permanent residence
    3. You can show evidence of owning a home by providing your house deed, mortgage documents, rates, house insurance documents, or any household bills such as power or internet.
    4. You can show evidence of your full time employment by providing an employment agreement, pay slips, or confirmation from your employer that you are employed there. It is important to know that if your job is commission based or you work for a retainer, this does count as employment showing you have an established base in New Zealand.
    5. If you are self-employed, you can show evidence of your employment by providing documents that show you have established, bought, or have shares in a business, or provide documentation showing that you are actively involved in running the business

New Zealand Citizenship

The final step after permanent residence is to apply for New Zealand citizenship. This process is handled by the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs.

To become a New Zealand citizen, there are a number of requirements that you must first meet – presence in New Zealand, language, and character requirements.

    1. Presence in New Zealand
      1. You must have been in New Zealand for a certain amount of time and show that you plan on continuing to live here. You must provide evidence that you have been living in New Zealand as either a resident or permanent resident for the last 5 years. If you are here as a permanent resident then there will not be any conditions attached to your visa, however if you are here on a resident visa then you will need to have met the conditions of your visa.
      2. You will also need to have spent enough time in New Zealand over the past 5 years prior to applying for citizenship. This requirements states that you must have been in New Zealand for at least 240 days in each 12 month period and a total of at least 1350 days across the 5 years. If you have left New Zealand for longer than 4 months over a 12 month period or you were overseas for longer than 15 months in the 5 years then you may not meet the criteria for citizenship.
      3. You will also need to show that you intend to keep living in New Zealand after you are given citizenship. You may still be granted citizenship if you can show that you are going to live in another country because you are a) working for the New Zealand government overseas, b) working for an international organisation that the New Zealand government is a member of, or c) being employed by a person or organisation who is originally based in New Zealand.
    2. Language requirements
      1. To meet the criteria for citizenship, you must have the ability to hold a basic conversation in English. If English is not your first language, you will be asked to provide evidence that you can speak basic English, and in some cases you may be asked to come in for an interview.
    3. Character requirements
      1. As the same with most visas, you will need to show that you are of good character. This refers to whether you have any criminal record or other offences that you may have committed in New Zealand or overseas.

If you can confirm that you meet the requirements set out by the DIA then you will be able to apply for citizenship.

It is important that you put forth all information when submitting your application. If you do not disclose all information and the Citizenship Office uncovers something that may negatively impact your application then your citizenship request may not be accepted. Get in touch with our team today and we can help guide you through this process.


At Pier Law we encourage you to begin the process of pursuing permanent residency as soon as possible.

There are many different paths to becoming a permanent resident or citizen so get in touch with us today and we can help you determine the best pathway for you and your family.