Please note: New Zealand Now content reflects pre-COVID-19 conditions and outlook. For COVID-19 related updates to visa and border requirements, click here.

Before you leave

You’ll have less stress and hassle if you do some homework about New Zealand before you arrive.

A real idea of what to expect will mean fewer surprises and make feeling at home in New Zealand that much easier. You’ll know more about how to do the things that need doing – and be able to start enjoying what brought you here sooner.

Here’s a basic checklist to cover off. 

Bring your documents with you

Once in New Zealand you will find it useful to have your documents easily accessible. This will make registering for services in New Zealand much easier. The most commonly needed documents are:

  • Your birth certificate
  • Your marriage certificate
  • Your academic qualifications
  • References from previous employers
  • Your CV (Curriculum Vitae/Resume)
  • Credit references
  • An international driver’s licence or permit

Colour photocopies and documents in your own language are usually acceptable, unless you're applying for residence or making temporary applications under the entrepreneur work visa category, then documents should be originals or certified English translations. 

Which documents should I bring with me?

Find a job

If you don’t have a job already, you should research job opportunities and find out how you can meet with potential employers.

Finding work

Research where you'll live

Think about where you’ll live – both long term and in those first few days and weeks as you settle in

It is a good idea to organise accommodation for when you first arrive. Some people stay with family or friends for those first few days. Others organise somewhere to stay in advance, so that they can go straight there when they arrive.

Temporary accommodation


Get your finances sorted

It is a good idea to set up a New Zealand bank account before you arrive so that you can make credit card and cash withdrawals when you arrive.

While you’re thinking about money, you should take some time to see with what things cost here.

Money & tax

Improve your English

If you’re not a native English speaker, there are a number of courses you can take to improve your English.

Learning English

Check what you can bring with you

You may find New Zealand’s rules about what you can and can’t bring into the country a bit stricter than other places you have been. We are very proud of our natural environment and aim to protect it.

New residents and returning Kiwis are given customs concessions on their duty at the border.

Use NZ Ready

Successful migrants we talk to all say their best advice is do your homework. For a more comprehensive list of things to do before you leave, check out our NZ Ready planning tool. It'll tailor you an all-inclusive set of information, useful links and related tasks.

NZ Ready

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

Take the first step to a new life by registering your interest with Immigration New Zealand. We’ll send you personalised emails about job opportunities in your profession, life in New Zealand and choosing the right visa.

It’s free and there’s no obligation.

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

Sign up to receive relevant job opportunities from New Zealand employers and practical advice on how to make your move to New Zealand a reality.