How Long Does it Take to get a Visa?

Applying for a visa is a daunting process, there can be a lot riding on your visa approval! During such an important process, knowing the expected timeframes can ease some of your stress.

An important note: At busy times, the application process can take longer. For example, since the flood of applications on August 1st (the border reopening), there has been a delay. There are only so many applications that can be reviewed in a day!

The General Application Process

It’s relatively straightforward to apply for a visa, and most visa types can be applied for online via the INZ website. The general process is as follows:

  1. Prepare your materials: This includes supporting evidence. You can check out another of our blog posts around what you’ll need.
  2. Submit your application: Either online or via post, this should include all of your evidence.
  3. Wait for a decision: We’ve listed the average wait times below, but bear in mind that these are averages
  4. Come to New Zealand: If you’re not already here, you can now come to study, work, or visit.

When you work with an LIA, they will handle these first two steps for you. They can let you know exactly what you need to provide, and what the best visa option for you is. They work on behalf of you, representing your visa application and communicating with INZ to get the best possible outcome for you.

If you’ve Completed a Digital Application

You can check the status of your application at any time on the INZ website. Just log into your INZ account and all of the information will be there for you.

Once your application has been submitted, INZ will only contact you if they require further information. Don’t be worried if you don’t hear back immediately, it means your application is in the works!

Visa Timeframes

INZ kindly shares their average wait times across different visa categories. It’s important to know that the wait times are based on 3-month averages, so it’s not hard and fast. It is still a good indicator of when you can expect to hear anything.

The following are the average processing timeframes for different visa categories.

Visitor visas

50% completed in 5 days

75% completed in 14 days

90% completed in 51 days

Student visas

50% completed in 29 days

75% completed in 48 days

90% completed in 67 days


90% completed in 20 days

Other work visas

50% completed in 19 days

75% completed in 25 days

90% completed in 32 days

Family temporary visas

50% completed in 18 days

75% completed in 61 days

90% completed in 12 months

Working holiday visa

50% completed in 16 days

75% completed in 25 days

90% completed in 52 days

Partner of a New Zealander

50% completed in 6 months

75% completed in 8 months

90% completed in 13 months

Permanent resident visa

50% completed in 77 days

75% completed in 3 months

90% completed in 5 months

Skilled migrant

50% completed in 36 months

75% completed in 41 months

90% completed in 46 months

Transfer of visa to new passport

50% completed in 5 days

75% completed in 10 days

90% completed in 14 days

Variation of travel conditions on a resident visa

50% completed in 12 days

75% completed in 20 days

90% completed in 34 days

Dealing with Delays

If INZ is missing information, or requires more from you, they will halt your visa application until they have what they need. Keep an eye on how your visa is tracking in case this happens, so you can resolve it as soon as possible.

Reasons an application may be delayed:

  1. Evidence is missing from the application
  2. Evidence is not in the correct format outlined by INZ
  3. Your passport is not valid

Situations like these are what make an LIA an asset throughout your application. They will understand any barriers you may face and will recommend the best course of action to resolve them. They’re there to cut through the jargon so you know exactly what’s going on.

Applying for a Visa can be Stressful

But it doesn’t need to be. The VisaMaxNZ team is dedicated to supporting migrants in their journey to New Zealand. We provide free consultations and ongoing support throughout the process because we understand how important it is to you.

You can reach out to us over the phone or by email. We’re happy to chat to find out more about your situation and how we can help you make the move to New Zealand.

Contact VisaMax NZ today