How I moved to New Zealand and how you can, too

So you’ve decided that you want to move to New Zealand. Congratulations! You have a future filled with adventures awaiting you. 🙂 But first, you’ll have to think about the logistics of making the move. If you’re someone who has never lived or worked abroad before, the process can seem daunting. However, New Zealand is the easiest country I’ve ever moved to. In this article, I’ll outline the steps you’ll need to take to make the move to New Zealand.

Step 1- Choose which visa you want to apply for: The first thing you’ll need to consider when planning your move is which visa to apply for. There are many visas to choose from, most of which grant you the right to work and live in New Zealand for a temporary amount of time, with the option of applying for a more permanent visa once you’re already in the country. Common visas include the skilled migrant visa, essential skills work visa, and working holiday visa. You can find out which visas are suitable for you by following the prompts on this website: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/options/work/explore-work-visa-options.

I’ll be writing mostly about the working holiday visa as it’s the one that I started off with, as well as the majority of expats I met in New Zealand. If you are between 18 and 30 years old and hold a passport from an approved country, then you should be able to apply. The application is quick and easy to complete and I heard back that my visa had been approved within just a few days.

Step 2- Plan your trip: Once your visa has been approved, the logical next step is to purchase a one-way plane ticket. But what’s the rush in heading straight to New Zealand? If you have the time and money I highly recommend scheduling in a stopover. Anyone from the States fancy a trip to Hawaii or Fiji? Any one from Europe want to vacation in Dubai? That destination you’ve always dreamed of might just be on your way to New Zealand. Don’t forget to bring a copy of the email of your visa conformation as well as proof of sufficient funds (around $4,000NZD) with you to the airport to ensure smooth travels.

Step 3- Arrive in New Zealand: If you can afford it, I would recommend travelling around New Zealand before settling on a place to live. I moved to New Zealand a few years ago with $4,000 in my bank account and I could still afford to spend a few weeks travelling around the country without blowing it all and keeping a little bit of a safety cushion for myself. Although I had a town in mind when I moved to New Zealand (I was meeting a friend there), it would’ve been nice to have had the leeway to select another location as I came across so many beautiful places that weren’t initially on my radar.

If you decide to travel before settling consider hitchhiking and staying at hostels or buying a cheap car or van and camp to save money. New Zealand is a mecca for such means of travel and you are sure to meet plenty of like-minded people doing the same. If you decide to buy a car, check out trademe.co.nz or just check hostel notice boards for other travellers who are looking to sell their car quickly and on the cheap. When buying a car check that it has a current WOF (warrant of fitness) and registration. To put the car in your name you’ll just have to go to a post office to transfer the deed over.

Step 4- Find a place to live:  It’s a good idea to look for short term accommodation before job hunting. Booking a few weeks at a hostel is an option but booking a short amount of time at a share house will be cheaper. Check relevant Facebook groups to find good deals on accommodation.

Step 5- Find a job & get paid: The process of applying for a job in New Zealand is similar to as in any other developed country. Either go to a library and print off CV’s (resumes) and cover letters to hand in personally or find listings via local publications, Facebook groups, and job listing websites. Before receiving your first pay check you’ll need to sign up for an IRD number to pay taxes and also set up an appointment at a local bank to set up an account.

One more note: If you don’t want to carry your passport out to the bars then you may want to  consider going to the post office to apply for an 18+ card or go to an AA office to switch your drivers license over for a NZ license for around 50NZD. International drivers licenses are only good for up to one year and then you’ll have to switch anyway.

Extending your stay: If you decide you want to stay more than the allotted time on your visa, make sure you submit an application well in advance as overstaying your time in the country could result in being blacklisted for some years. Possible secondary visas include the work sponsorship visa (your current job would have to sponsor you) or the partnership visa )which is available if you are dating a kiwi or someone else with work sponsorship). After holding one of these visas it is possible to apply for residency and beyond that, citizenship…. but that’s far in the future. For now, just enjoy the journey. I wish you the best of luck in beautiful New Zealand! You’ll be happy that you made the move. 🙂

Feel free to leave a comment with any questions you may still have and I will do my best to answer each of them. Also, follow me on social media for more travel inspiration. <3 Jackie