Public services visa eligibility

The visa you hold while in New Zealand may dictate the Government-funded public services you're able to access. The easiest visa to get isn't necessarily the best!
The following table outlines five popular types of visa and the range of public services you may be eligible to access on each.
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Visitor visa

(suspended)

Student visa

(suspended)

Working holiday visa

(suspended)

Work visa

(suspended)

Resident visa

(suspended)

How long you can stay
Up to 9 months

On a visitor visa you can generally stay for up to 9 months.

For the duration of your course

On a student visa you can stay for the duration of your course. Once your studies are complete you may be eligible to apply for a work visa.

On a student visa healthcare is charged on a pay as you go basis, although most accident costs are covered by ACC. You are required to hold comprehensive health insurance.

Varies

On a working holiday visa you can normally stay 12 months, depending on which country you are from. For the UK and Canada it is 23 months. While some Working Holiday schemes are for a shorter duration such as six months

Varies

The length of your work visa depends on the duration of your job offer and type of visa.

Indefinitely

You can stay in New Zealand indefinitely on a resident visa.

How long can you work for
You can't

You're unable to work in New Zealand on a visitor visa.

Varies

On a student visa the amount of time you can work depends on your course. Typically students are allowed up to 20 hours per week during the term and full-time during the during the Christmas-New Year vacation period and during scheduled vacations. In special cases like Master's by Research or doctoral degrees, some students may be allowed to work more than this.

Varies

On a working holiday visa you can normally work up to three months for one employer in a non-permanent arrangement, depending on which country you are from.

Varies

The length of time you can be employed on a work visa depends on the duration of your job offer and type of work visa.

Indefinitely

You can work indefinitely on a resident visa and change employers whenever you like.

Need a job offer to apply
N/A

You're unable to work in New Zealand on a visitor visa.

No

You don't need a job offer to apply for a student visa. See above for work restrictions.

No

You don't need a job offer to apply for a working holiday visa. See above for work restrictions.

Yes, in most cases

Most work visa types you'll need a job offer to apply for visa, unless you are applying under a special policy (for example an open work visa to join your partner in New Zealand).

Varies

Requiring a job offer depends on the type of resident visa you apply for. For Skilled Migrant category, a skilled employment job offer is generally required and will contribute towards the total points earned.

Healthcare
No

On a visitor visa healthcare is charged on a pay as you go basis, although most accident costs are covered by ACC.

No

On a student visa healthcare is charged on a pay as you go basis, although most accident costs are covered by ACC. You are required to hold comprehensive health insurance.

No

On a working holiday visa healthcare is charged on a pay as you go basis, although most accident costs are covered by ACC.

No/Yes

On a work visa that's less than two years in length, healthcare is charged on a pay as you go basis, although most accident costs are covered by ACC. On a work visa that's two years or more in length, you're eligible for publicly funded health, maternity and disability services.

Yes

On a resident visa you're eligible for publicly funded health, maternity and disability services.

Education - primary & secondary
No

On a visitor visa your children can study for up to three months before needing a student visa. They generally pay international student fees. If undertaking short term study on a visitor visa for more than 2 weeks, they must attend a school that is signatory to the Education Code of Practice.

No

On a student visa you must pay international fees, as must any dependent children accompanying you.

N/A

Children are not eligible to accompany you on a working holiday visa.

Yes

On a work visa you are required to pay international student fees at tertiary institutions, but not at primary and secondary schools.

Yes

On a resident visa you are eligible for domestic student fees at tertiary institutions.

Education - tertiary
No

On a visitor visa you are required to pay international student fees at tertiary institutions. You can still study for up to three calendar months in duration.

No

On a student visa you are required to pay international student fees at tertiary institutions.

No

Children are not eligible to accompany you on a working holiday visa.

No

On a work visa you are required to pay international student fees at tertiary institutions, but not at primary and secondary schools.

Yes

On a resident visa you are eligible for domestic student fees at tertiary institutions.

Student Allowance and Student Loan
No

You are not eligible for a Student Loan or Student Allowance on a visitor visa.

No

You are not eligible for a Student Loan or Student Allowance on a student visa.

No

You are not eligible for a Student Loan or Student Allowance on a working holiday visa.

No

You are not eligible for a Student Loan or Student Allowance on a work visa.

Yes

You are eligible to apply for a Student Loan or Student Allowance after being a resident for three years.

Jobseeker support
No

You are not eligible for Jobseeker support on a visitor visa.

No

You are not eligible for Jobseeker support on a student visa.

No

You are not eligible for Jobseeker support on a working holiday visa.

No

You are not eligible for Jobseeker support on a work visa.

Yes

You are eligible to apply for Jobseeker support after being a resident for two years.

Working for Families
No

You are not eligible for Working for Families on a visitor visa.

No

You are not eligible for Working for Families on a student visa.

No

You are not eligible for Working for Families on a working holiday visa.

No

You are not eligible for Working for Families on a work visa.

Yes

If you are a tax resident you are eligible for Working for Families after one year living in NZ.

Vote in Parliamentary and Local Elections
No

You're not eligible to vote in a Parliamentary or Local Election on a visitor visa.

No

You're not eligible to vote in a Parliamentary or Local Election on a student visa.

No

You're not eligible to vote in a Parliamentary or Local Election on a working holiday visa.

No

You're not eligible to vote in a Parliamentary or Local Election on a work visa.

Yes

On a resident visa you’re eligible to vote in a Parliamentary or Local Election after living in NZ continuously for one year.

New Zealand Superannuation
No

You're not eligible for New Zealand Superannuation on a visitor visa.

No

You're not eligible for New Zealand Superannuation on a student visa.

No

You're not eligible for New Zealand Superannuation on a working holiday visa.

No

You're not eligible for New Zealand Superannuation on a work visa.

Yes

On a resident visa you’re eligible for New Zealand Superannuation after ten years living in NZ, five of which when you were aged 50 or over.

This criteria differs for some countries based on social security agreements.

 

Apply for a visa

Although often more difficult to attain, a resident visa provides access to more public services in New Zealand, and you'll have the certainty of being able to stay indefinitely if you and your family like it here.

Visa types and how to apply

Please Note:

The information on this page should be used as a guide only and does not include refugee or country-specific exceptions, particularly for people from Australia and Pacific nations. Please refer to the appropriate Government department for full eligibility criteria.

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