New Zealand has been attracting Americans traveling abroad for decades. Though the most recent draws have been tours of Hobbiton and skydiving over Mt. Doom, other travelers have seen the appeal well before Lord of the Rings: adventure activities like: the original bungee jump; wine fermented from grapes grown in volcanic soil; a relaxing and less developed countryside, where sheep outnumber people.
How can US citizens legally travel to New Zealand?
Working Holiday Visas
Americans under the age of 31 qualify for a one-time one-year Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand. As always, applicants must have a passport valid for at least the duration of the visa (preferably over that time), and proof of ongoing travel (though this can be waived if you provide a bank or credit card statement showing you have sufficient funds to purchase a ticket).
Unlike many work visas that require a visit to a consulate in advance of your arrival, WHVs can be obtained online and presented to immigration on arrival in New Zealand with the proper application form. However, there are medical requirements for applying for a WHV, including a TB test.
US citizens qualify for a three-month stay in New Zealand without a visa. In most cases, you will be asked to provide proof of ongoing travel and insurance, but there are situations in which immigration will waive that requirement. Proof of accommodation is rarely required due to the length of the stay. Other than that, the only thing that may surprise you on arrival is authorities at the airport checking that none of your shoes are tracking foreign soil into New Zealand.
Like many countries in Europe, but even more restrictive due to the small population and the fact it’s an island nation, New Zealand doesn’t always make it easy for US citizens to work there when a local is available. Some of these visa categories include:
- Skilled Migrant Visa
This visa is offered to residents of New Zealand who wish to work in the country.
- Essential Skills Visa
This type of visa is only available if no New Zealanders are not available to do the same type of work. As a result, it can range from the mundane to the highly skilled.
- Specific Purpose Visa
Rather than working in New Zealand long term or any category which falls under the Essential Skills visa, workers with a specific purpose include university professors, lecturers, and businessmen.
- Long Term Skill Shortage Visa
This is basically an extended version of the visa categories above, allowing the holder to stay in New Zealand for up to two years, after which time you’re eligible to apply for permanent residency.
- Post Study Work Visa
If you have studied at an accredited university and wish to extend your stay by working, this visa category may apply to you.
- Talent Visas
Different types of these visas are available to both residents of New Zealand and foreign residents who possess skills in sports, culture, and the arts.
Resources in New Zealand and at home
There is a US embassy in Wellington as well as a consulate in Auckland available for citizens to renew and replace their passports. Rather than disrupt your trip, why not come to a Travel Visa Pro office prior to departure to ensure your passport is up to date and your visa in order? Even if your flight leaves at the end of the week, TVP can expedite your application and eliminate the stress of traveling to New Zealand
If you need travel insurance, one of our staff can recommend a trusted company. Don’t leave all those applications and forms until the last minute – stop by Travel Visa Pro today.
Are you planning a trip to New Zealand? What do you want to see first?