Updated: New Zealand 2021 Resident Visa

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

This article was originally published on 30 Sept. 2021 and was updated on 3 March 2022 to reflect new information. 

3 March 2022 Update: The government of New Zealand will open Phase 2 of the applications for the 2021 Resident Visa on 1 March 2022. Applications will be submitted through the Immigration online system. Applications will be held in the system until the end of March 2022. At the end of March 2022, all applications submitted via the Immigration online system will be released for processing in the order of the principal applicant’s current visa expiration date.  

Applicants who submit their application via the Immigration online system will not be required to submit a medical certificate. However, the medical certificate will need to be submitted once processing begins at the end of March 2022.  

The government of New Zealand introduced the 2021 Resident Visa in September 2021 for foreign nationals whose immigration applications had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications for the 2021 Resident Visa can be submitted beginning 1 March 2022 through the Immigration online system. Under this system, applications will not begin processing until the end of March 2022.  

Key Points  

  • New one-off residence visa pathway for some temporary work visa holders currently in the country  
  • Some critical purpose visa holders arriving in the country over the next nine months may also be eligible  


On Sept. 30, 2021, New Zealand’s government announced a new one-off residence visa pathway for some temporary work visa holders currently in the country.

Some Critical Purpose visa holders arriving in New Zealand between Sept. 30, 2021 and July 31, 2022 on long-term visas may also be eligible for this new visa. Partners and dependents can be included as part of these residence applications. Applications for some eligible applicants will open in two phases from Dec. 1, 2021, and from March 1, 2022, for remaining eligible applicants.

To be eligible, applicants must:  

  • Have been in New Zealand on Sept. 29, 2021; and  
  • Be on an eligible visa or have applied for an eligible visa on or before Sept. 29, 2021, that is later granted  

One of the following three criteria must also be met: 

  • Have lived in New Zealand for three or more years, or 
  • Earn at or above the median wage ($27 per hour), or 
  • Work in a role on a scarce list

If foreign nationals meet the criteria for eligibility but are in Australia and have been unable to return to New Zealand by September 29, 2021, they may be considered eligible. Click here to find a list of visa types that are eligible and for additional information concerning eligibility. 

What are the Changes?  

Some work visa holders currently in New Zealand as well as some Critical Purpose Visitor Visa holders may be eligible to apply for residence under the new residence category – the 2021 Resident Visa. 

Looking Ahead

All applications must be submitted by July 31, 2022. The government expects the majority of applications to be processed within 12 months. Continue to check New Zealand’s government page for future updates and Envoy’s website for further information.  


Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.