New Zealand Digital Nomad Visa: Alternatives and Requirements

Among the most popular global locations, New Zealand stands as a prime destination for digital nomads seeking both inspiration and connectivity.

However, the absence of a dedicated “New Zealand Digital Nomad Visa” prompts a closer look at the alternative pathways enabling remote workers to embrace this island nation as their temporary office.

New Zealand’s appeal to digital nomads isn’t just about its breathtaking landscapes—though they certainly play a significant role – but also for its high quality of life, low crime rates, and a strong focus on work-life balance.

This article delves into the variety of visas and entry options that, despite the lack of a nomad-specific permit, offer viable solutions for those looking to explore New Zealand’s majestic landscapes while staying productive in their digital and remote work.

body of water near forest and mountain- new zealand digital nomad visa

What is the New Zealand Digital Nomad Visa?

A New Zealand Digital Nomad Visa, as a specific category, does not exist for now. Instead, digital nomads interested in exploring New Zealand must navigate other visa alternatives and pathways designed for different purposes but can still cater to the remote work lifestyle.

  • NzeTA
  • Visitor Visa
  • Work Holiday Visa
  • Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa
  • Student Visa
  • Business Visitor Visa
  • Entrepreneur Work Visa
  • Specific Purpose Work Visa
  • Visa-Free Entry

These alternatives require careful consideration of the individual’s circumstances, including the purpose of stay, duration, and the nature of their work. While none specifically cater to the digital nomad lifestyle, they offer pathways for those willing to navigate the available options to enjoy New Zealand’s unique offerings.

Benefits of New Zealand Digital Nomad Visa Alternatives

hobbit house surrounded by green grass and flowers

While New Zealand does not currently offer a specific Digital Nomad Visa, conceptualizing such a visa brings to light several key benefits that would be highly attractive to remote workers and digital nomads worldwide. If introduced, a New Zealand Digital Nomad Visa could offer the following advantages:

  • Legal Clarity and Security: A dedicated visa would provide a clear legal framework for digital nomads, ensuring they can live and work in New Zealand without breaching visa conditions. This clarity can lead to greater peace of mind and stability for nomads who often navigate gray areas in immigration laws.
  • Access to Local Services: With a visa that acknowledges their unique status, digital nomads might gain better access to local services, including banking, housing, and healthcare, which can sometimes be challenging for those on tourist or temporary visas.
  • Community and Networking: Such a visa could foster a community of like-minded professionals, encouraging collaboration, networking, and the exchange of ideas. It could also lead to the establishment of more coworking spaces and digital nomad hubs.
  • Contribution to Local Economy: Digital nomads typically contribute to the economies of their host countries without taking local jobs. This visa would facilitate their legal spending in New Zealand on accommodation, food, entertainment, and other services, benefiting local businesses.
  • Enhanced Cultural Exchange: By allowing digital nomads from around the world to live in New Zealand, it would promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding, enriching the local culture and providing residents with a global perspective.
  • Innovation and Skills Transfer: Digital nomads often bring with them a wealth of knowledge and skills. Their presence could stimulate innovation and skills transfer, benefiting New Zealand’s tech ecosystem and broader economy.
  • Attracting Global Talent: A Digital Nomad Visa could position New Zealand as a forward-thinking, tech-friendly country, attracting global talent and reinforcing its reputation as an innovative and inclusive nation.

While the concept of a New Zealand Digital Nomad Visa is hypothetical at this stage, its potential introduction could significantly enhance New Zealand’s appeal to the growing population of remote workers, offering them a unique blend of work and lifestyle opportunities in one of the world’s most picturesque settings.

New Zealand Digital Nomad Visa Alternatives: Requirements and Application Process

Visa-Free Entry

Visa-free entry to New Zealand allows citizens of certain countries to visit New Zealand for short periods without obtaining a visa in advance, but they must obtain a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) confirmation before traveling.

This can be an alternative pathway for digital nomads from these countries looking to explore New Zealand for a short duration.

Here are the main requirements:

  • Eligible Passport: Must hold a passport from a visa-waiver country that is valid for at least three months beyond the planned departure date from New Zealand.
  • NZeTA Required: Before traveling, you must obtain a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA), which is valid for up to two years and multiple visits.
  • Onward Travel: You must have a ticket to leave New Zealand to a country you have the right to enter at the end of your stay.
  • Proof of Funds: You need to show you have enough money to support yourself during your stay, typically NZD 1,000 per month of stay, or NZD 400 if your accommodation is already paid for. The more funds available, the better!
  • Good Health: Should meet the health requirements for short-term visitors, which might include providing medical information or undergoing a health assessment if requested.
  • Good Character: May need to answer character declaration questions in the NZeTA application process and meet New Zealand’s character requirements.
  • Stay Duration: Visa-free entry typically allows a stay of up to three months (or six months for UK citizens), within a 12-month period.
  • International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL): When applying for an NZeTA, you also pay the IVL, contributing towards the infrastructure and natural environment you will enjoy during your stay.
  • Purpose of Visit: Entry is permitted for tourism, business consultation, or participation in sports or cultural events without entering the New Zealand labor market.
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance: It’s highly recommended (though not a formal requirement) to have comprehensive travel insurance for the duration of your stay.

This visa-free entry, facilitated by the NZeTA, offers digital nomads from eligible countries a convenient way to explore New Zealand’s landscapes and culture while possibly working remotely for short periods, adhering to the conditions of their entry. Always check the most current entry requirements and conditions on the official Immigration New Zealand website before making travel plans.

Visa-Waiver Countries to New Zealand

New Zealand allows citizens from certain countries to enter without a visa for short visits, typically up to three months (or six months for British citizens), under its visa waiver program.

However, travelers must obtain a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) confirmation before arrival. Here’s a list of countries whose citizens are eligible for visa-free entry to New Zealand under this program:

  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia (citizens only)
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong (residents with HKSAR or British National–Overseas passports only)
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea (South)
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia (citizens only)
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania (citizens only)
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau (Macau Special Administrative Region passports only)
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Poland
  • Portugal (must have the right to live permanently in Portugal)
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan (must be a permanent resident)
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom (British citizens and other British passport holders who have the right to reside permanently in the UK can stay up to six months)
  • United States of America (including USA nationals)
  • Uruguay
  • Vatican City

Remember, even if you’re from a visa-waiver country, you must apply for an NZeTA before your travel and meet other entry requirements such as having a return ticket, being of good health and character, and most importantly, having enough money to support your stay.

Application Process For NZeTA

The NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) application process is streamlined and can be completed entirely online, making it convenient for digital nomads around the globe. Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide to applying for an NZeTA:

Step 1: Determine Eligibility
  • Ensure you are from a visa-waiver country or a cruise passenger.
Step 2: Prepare Necessary Information
  • Have your valid passport and a credit or debit card ready for the application fees.
Step 3: Complete the NZeTA Request
  • You can apply through the official Immigration New Zealand website or use the NZeTA mobile app.
  • Fill in personal details, and passport information, and answer character and health declaration questions.
Step 4: Pay the Fees
  • During the application process, you’ll be required to pay the NZeTA fee and the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL). The NZeTA fee is NZD 9 through the mobile app or NZD 12 through the website, and the IVL is NZD 35.
  • Payment is made online as part of the application process.
Step 5: Wait for Approval
  • The processing time is usually up to 72 hours, but it can be quicker. Ensure you apply well in advance of your travel date.
Step 6: Receive Your NZeTA
  • You will receive confirmation of your NZeTA via email. It is linked electronically to your passport, so you don’t need to print anything but keeping a copy on your phone or device is a good idea.

Standard Visitor Visa

Choosing a Visitor Visa as a pathway for digital nomads to enter New Zealand involves meeting specific requirements to ensure a successful application. This visa is suitable for those intending to stay longer than the duration allowed under the NZeTA or for those from countries not on the visa-waiver list.

Here’s a list of the main requirements for obtaining a Visitor Visa, tailored for digital nomads:

  • Purpose of Visit: Must be genuine tourism activities; digital nomads can work remotely for an overseas employer but should not seek or undertake employment in New Zealand.
  • Valid Passport: Your passport needs to be valid for at least three months beyond your planned departure date from New Zealand.
  • Application Form: Complete the Visitor Visa application form, available online, detailing personal, health, and character information.
  • Visa Fee and Levy: The application fee and the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) are paid online at the time of submitting the visa application.
  • Proof of Sufficient Funds: You need to show you have enough money to live on while in New Zealand — typically NZD 1,000 per month of stay, or NZD 400 if your accommodation is already paid for.
  • Onward Travel: Evidence of onward travel from New Zealand, such as a return ticket or proof of sufficient funds to purchase one, is required.
  • Health Insurance: Although not always mandatory, having health insurance is highly recommended to cover any medical expenses during your stay.
  • Health and Character Requirements: Applicants may need to meet certain health and character requirements, including medical examinations and police certificates, depending on the stay duration and personal circumstances.
  • Evidence of Accommodation: While not always required, providing details of your accommodation plans can strengthen your application.
  • Age Requirements: There are no specific age requirements for the Visitor Visa, making it suitable for digital nomads of any age.
  • Stay Duration: Allows for a stay of up to nine months in an 18-month period. You may apply for an extension to stay longer, subject to meeting additional criteria.

For digital nomads, the Visitor Visa offers a flexible option to explore New Zealand while continuing their remote work, provided their primary activity aligns with tourism. The application process can be completed online through the official Immigration New Zealand website, making it accessible from anywhere in the world.

This pathway offers a longer stay than the NZeTA, suitable for those who wish to immerse themselves more deeply in the New Zealand lifestyle while working remotely.

Application Process

The entire application process can be done online, making it convenient for digital nomads anywhere in the world. Remember, the Visitor Visa does not permit you to take up employment in New Zealand. Your remote work should not compete with the local labor market.

Step 1: Check Eligibility
  • Review Requirements: Ensure you meet the criteria for a Visitor Visa, including the purpose of visit, health, and character requirements.
Step 2: Gather Required Documents
  • Documentation: Collect necessary documents, including a valid passport, proof of onward travel, proof of sufficient funds (usually around NZD 1,000 per month or NZD 400 per month if accommodation is already paid), and medical and travel insurance.
Step 3: Complete the Online Application
  • Online Application: Visit the official Immigration New Zealand website and create an account to fill out the Visitor Visa application form.
  • Information Input: Provide personal details, travel history, health information, and details about your stay in New Zealand.
  • Supporting Documents: Upload the gathered documents to your application.
Step 4: Pay the Application Fee
  • Fee Payment: The application fee and the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) are paid online during the application process. Fees vary based on your home country and where you’re applying from.
Step 5: Health Assessments (if required)
  • Medical Exam: Depending on your circumstances or length of stay, you might be prompted to undergo a health assessment.
Step 6: Wait for the Decision
  • Processing Time: Processing times can vary; check current processing times on the Immigration New Zealand website to get an idea.
Step 7: Receive Your Visa
  • Visa Outcome: You’ll be notified of the decision via email. If granted, you’ll receive a visa label or an eVisa.
Step 8: Plan Your Entry into New Zealand
  • Travel Arrangements: Once you have your visa, you can make your travel arrangements to New Zealand.
purple flowers near body of water and mountians- new zealand digital nomad visa

Working Holiday Visa

The Working Holiday Visa offers digital nomads from certain countries the opportunity to live and work in New Zealand, providing a unique blend of work flexibility and adventure.

Here are the main and key requirements for those considering this visa as a pathway to enter New Zealand:

  • Age Requirement: Applicants must typically be aged between 18 and 30 or 35, depending on the applicant’s nationality.
  • Country of Citizenship: Must be a citizen of a country that has a Working Holiday Agreement with New Zealand.
  • Visa Application: The application can usually be completed online through the official Immigration New Zealand website.
  • Visa Quota: Some countries have a yearly quota, so it’s important to apply early or when the quota resets.
  • Stay Duration: Allows for a stay of 12 months, or up to 23 months for citizens from the UK or Canada, with variations depending on the agreement with each country.
  • Financial Requirements: Applicants must have sufficient funds to purchase a return ticket and support themselves during their stay, typically around NZD 4,200.
  • Health and Character: Must meet health and character requirements, including a medical examination for those planning to stay longer than 12 months.
  • Insurance: Must hold comprehensive medical and travel insurance for the length of their stay.
  • Primary Purpose: The primary intent should be to holiday in New Zealand, with employment and study being secondary intentions during the visit.
  • Employment Restrictions: While able to work during their stay, there are restrictions on permanent employment and, in some cases, on the duration one can work for the same employer.
  • Study or Training: Participants can study or train for up to six months in total during their visit.

This visa serves as an ideal alternative for digital nomads under the specified age limit, offering the flexibility to explore New Zealand’s beauty while engaging in short-term employment or continuing their remote work endeavors. It provides a balanced opportunity for cultural exchange, travel, and professional development within a set period.

Application Process

Applying for a Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand is a straightforward process that can largely be completed online, making it a convenient option for digital nomads.

Step 1: Check Eligibility
  • Review the specific requirements for your nationality on the Immigration New Zealand website, including age limits and available quotas. Ensure that you meet the basic criteria before you invest time and money in the application process.
Step 2: Create an Online Account
  • Register for an account on the Immigration New Zealand website. You’ll use this account to apply for the visa, track the status of your application, and receive communications from Immigration New Zealand.
Step 3: Prepare Necessary Documents
  • Gather required documents, which typically include a passport photo, a copy of your passport, and proof of sufficient funds (bank statements). Digital nomads should ensure their documents reflect their ability to fund their stay and their intention to leave New Zealand at the end of their visa.
Step 4: Complete the Online Application
  • Fill out the application form through your online account, answering all questions honestly and accurately. Questions Include details on your health, character, and background, which are crucial for meeting visa requirements.
Step 5: Pay the Visa Application Fee
  • Submit payment for the application fee online during the application process. This occurs at the end of the application submission process. The fee must be paid for your application to be processed. The amount varies by nationality and can be checked on the Immigration New Zealand website.
Step 6: Health Checks and Additional Information
  • If requested, undergo a medical examination and/or police certificate submission. Some applicants, depending on their intended length of stay or other factors, may need to prove they meet the health and character requirements.
Step 7: Application Processing
  • Wait for your application to be processed. Processing times can vary based on your country and the time of year. Use this time to plan your journey, considering how you’ll work remotely, where you might want to live, and networking opportunities.
Step 8: Visa Approval and Documentation
  • Once approved, you’ll receive a visa electronically linked to your passport. There’s no need for a physical label in your passport; your Working Holiday Visa status is checked electronically at the border.
Step 9: Arrive in New Zealand
  • Enter New Zealand within the timeframe specified by your visa. Ensure you have return travel arrangements or sufficient funds to purchase a return ticket, as well as proof of insurance for your stay.
Step 10: Enjoy Your Working Holiday
  • Begin your digital nomad experience in New Zealand, adhering to the conditions of your visa regarding work and study. This visa allows you to travel and work in New Zealand, offering a unique opportunity to explore the country and its culture while continuing your remote work.
beache near valley and hill

Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa

The Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa is aimed at individuals who have the skills to contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth and is not specifically designed for digital nomads. However, digital nomads with particular skills and qualifications may find this pathway suitable for long-term residency in New Zealand.

Here are the main and key requirements:

  • Age Requirement: Applicants must be under 55 years old to qualify for this visa.
  • Skill and Qualification Assessment: Must have an occupation that is in demand in New Zealand and possess the necessary qualifications and experience for that occupation, as listed in the Long Term Skill Shortage List or other relevant lists.
  • English Language Proficiency: Applicants are required to meet certain standards of English language proficiency, usually demonstrated through an approved English language test.
  • Health and Character Checks: Must pass health and character checks to ensure they meet the entry requirements for New Zealand residency.
  • Expression of Interest (EOI): Before applying, you need to submit an EOI, detailing your work experience, qualifications, and ability to settle in New Zealand. Your EOI is scored based on factors such as skilled employment, work experience, and qualifications.
  • Points System: The EOI operates on a points system, with applicants needing to score enough points for skilled employment and other factors to be invited to apply for residency. The minimum points threshold can vary.
  • Job Offer: While not always mandatory, having a job offer from a New Zealand employer in your skilled field can significantly increase your points and chances of receiving an invitation to apply.
  • Proof of Funds: Applicants may need to show they have sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependents when settling in New Zealand.
  • Stay Duration: If granted, this visa allows you to live, work, and study in New Zealand indefinitely, offering a pathway to permanent residency.
  • Application Fee and Levies: There are application fees and levies to be paid when submitting your EOI and visa application.

For digital nomads with specialized skills that are in demand in New Zealand, the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa provides an opportunity for long-term residence, allowing them to contribute their global experience and expertise within the New Zealand workforce.

This pathway requires a commitment to living and working in New Zealand long-term, making it more suited to those looking to permanently relocate rather than maintain a nomadic lifestyle.

Application Process

The Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa process for New Zealand is structured to select applicants who can contribute significantly to New Zealand’s economy through their skills and qualifications. While not specifically aimed at digital nomads, those with in-demand skills may find this pathway suitable for transitioning to a more permanent base in New Zealand.

Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Check Eligibility
  • Review the criteria for the Skilled Migrant Category, including age, health, character, and English language proficiency requirements. Ensure your occupation is listed on the Long Term Skill Shortage List or qualifies as skilled employment in New Zealand.
Step 2: Complete an English Language Test (if required)
  • If English is not your first language, or you’re asked to provide evidence of your proficiency, you’ll need to take an approved English language test.
Step 3: Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)
  • Fill out an EOI online, detailing your skills, experience, and qualifications. The EOI is submitted through the Immigration New Zealand website, where you’ll need to create an account.
Step 4: Pay the EOI Fee
  • The EOI submission requires a fee, payable online at the time of submission. The fee amount varies and can be found on the Immigration New Zealand website.
Step 5: Wait for EOI Selection
  • EOIs are scored and ranked. If your EOI scores above the current selection threshold, it may be selected for review. The selection threshold can change based on immigration needs.
Step 6: Receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA)
  • If your EOI is selected and you meet the criteria, you’ll receive an ITA for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa.
Step 7: Gather Required Documents
  • Once you have your ITA, you’ll need to compile the necessary documents, including proof of skilled employment (if applicable), qualifications, health and character checks, and any other supporting documents requested.
Step 8: Complete Medical and Police Checks
  • As part of the application, you and any family members included in your application will need to undergo medical and police checks.
Step 9: Submit Your Application
  • Fill in the visa application form you received with your ITA, attach all required documents, and submit it online or by mail, depending on the instructions provided. This is also when you’ll pay the visa application fee and the immigration levy.
Step 10: Application Assessment
  • Your application will be assessed by Immigration New Zealand. This may include an interview or requests for additional information.
Step 11: Visa Decision
  • If your application is approved, you’ll receive your visa, which allows you to live, work, and study in New Zealand indefinitely. You’ll also be on the path to applying for New Zealand citizenship, should you choose.
Step 12: Move to New Zealand
  • Once you receive your visa, you can make arrangements to move to New Zealand and start your new life there.

For digital nomads with the right skill set looking to settle in New Zealand, the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa offers a pathway to permanent residency, enabling them to contribute their unique skills and experiences to the New Zealand economy.

wooden brown pathway going to the mountain

Student Visa

Choosing a Student Visa as a pathway to enter New Zealand offers digital nomads the opportunity to study and potentially work part-time, providing a unique blend of educational and work experiences.

Here are the main and key requirements for obtaining a Student Visa:

  • Enrollment in an Approved Course: Must have an offer of place from an educational institution approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to accept international students.
  • Proof of Sufficient Funds: Applicants must demonstrate they have enough money to live on while studying in New Zealand, typically NZD 15,000 per year for living expenses, in addition to tuition fees.
  • Tuition Fee Payment: Need to show evidence of payment of course fees, or that you have exempt status, as part of your visa application.
  • Health and Travel Insurance: Must maintain acceptable health and travel insurance for the duration of your stay in New Zealand.
  • Good Health and Character: Applicants are required to undergo health screenings and provide police certificates to meet health and character requirements.
  • Genuine Student Criteria: Must convincingly demonstrate the intention to study in New Zealand, which includes returning to your home country after your studies are completed, unless planning to apply for further visas.
  • Age Requirements: There are no specific age requirements for a Student Visa, but those under 18 will need to show they have suitable accommodation in New Zealand.
  • Work Rights: Depending on the level of study and duration of the course, students may be allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during the semester and full-time during scheduled holidays.
  • Stay Duration: The visa is typically granted for the duration of the study program, which can range from a few months to several years, depending on the course length.
  • Application Fee: An application fee is required when submitting your Student Visa application. Typically, for most applicants applying online, the fee ranges from around NZD $330 to NZD $370, excluding the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL). The IVL, which is required for most visas, including the Student Visa, is an additional NZD $35.

This visa can serve as an alternative pathway for digital nomads looking to enhance their skills or knowledge in a specific area while experiencing life in New Zealand. It allows for a combination of study and part-time work, making it feasible to maintain a nomadic lifestyle through remote work or local employment opportunities associated with your field of study.

Application Process

Using a Student Visa to enter New Zealand as a digital nomad involves several steps, from selecting a course to applying for the visa itself.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to navigate the process:

Step 1: Choose a Qualifying Course
  • Find an educational institution in New Zealand that is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and offers a course relevant to your interests or professional development as a digital nomad. The course should be full-time and meet the requirements for international students.
Step 2: Obtain an Offer of Place
  • Apply to the institution and receive an offer of a place. This offer must confirm that you have been accepted to study and detail the course fees for tuition and whether you’re studying full-time.
Step 3: Prepare Supporting Documents
  • Gather necessary documents, including evidence of sufficient funds to cover your living expenses (typically NZD 15,000 per year) plus tuition, your offer of a place, a valid passport, health insurance coverage, and any other documents required by the specific visa application, such as medical exams or police certificates.
Step 4: Apply Online
  • Then, complete the Student Visa application online via the official Immigration New Zealand website. The online application process is streamlined and faster than paper applications, and it allows you to upload digital copies of your supporting documents.
Step 5: Pay the Visa Application Fee
  • During the application process, you will be prompted to pay the application fee, which varies depending on your country and the specific details of your application. The fee, along with the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL), can usually be paid online with a credit or debit card.
Step 6: Health Checks and Interviews
  • After submitting your application, you may be required to undergo a health assessment or attend an interview, either of which will be communicated by Immigration New Zealand if necessary.
Step 7: Visa Processing
  • Wait for your visa to be processed. Processing times can vary, so it’s advisable to apply well in advance of your intended travel date. During this time, you can prepare for your move, by looking into accommodation options, coworking spaces, and networking opportunities in New Zealand.
Step 8: Visa Approval and Receipt
  • Once your visa is approved, you will receive a visa label or an eVisa. Make sure to check the details of your visa, including any conditions regarding work rights during your study.
Step 9: Arrive in New Zealand
  • Upon arrival, you’ll need to meet entry requirements and may be asked to show proof of your funds and insurance at the border, in addition to your Student Visa.
Step 10: Maintain Visa Conditions
  • Finally, ensure you adhere to the conditions of your Student Visa throughout your stay, including any restrictions on employment hours and study requirements.

This process allows digital nomads to study and potentially work part-time in New Zealand, offering a structured pathway to experience life as a student while exploring new professional avenues or enhancing existing skills.

sheeps eating green grass in the hill

Business Visitor Visa

Choosing a Business Visitor Visa to enter New Zealand provides digital nomads and business professionals a legitimate way to engage in business activities or explore business opportunities within the country.

This visa is an alternative pathway for digital nomads who wish to explore business opportunities, attend business-related events, or conduct short-term business visits in New Zealand, allowing them to stay compliant with immigration laws while engaging in their remote work.

  • Purpose of Visit: Must be traveling to New Zealand for genuine business reasons, such as consultations, negotiations, conferences, or short-term training sessions.
  • Duration of Stay: The visa typically allows stays of up to three months within a six-month period, but this can extend up to nine months in an 18-month period for UK citizens.
  • Proof of Sufficient Funds: Applicants must demonstrate they have enough money to support themselves during their stay, generally NZD 1,000 per month, or NZD 400 per month if accommodation is already paid for.
  • Onward Travel: Must have a return ticket or sufficient funds to purchase one.
  • Health and Character Requirements: Applicants should meet the standard health and character requirements, including medical insurance for the duration of their stay.
  • No Employment in NZ: Visitors cannot take up employment in New Zealand on a Business Visitor Visa, but they can work remotely for their overseas employer.
  • Visa Application Fee: Payment of the visa application fee is required upon submission of your application.
  • Evidence of Business Activities: Documentation supporting the business purpose of the visit, such as conference registrations, invitation letters, or meeting schedules, may be required.
  • No Age Requirement: There are no specific age requirements for this visa, making it accessible to digital nomads of any age.

Application Process

Step 1: Determine Eligibility
  • Understand that the Business Visitor Visa is for short-term business activities and does not permit long-term stays or taking up employment in New Zealand. As a digital nomad, your activities must align with the visa’s allowed business purposes.
Step 2: Gather Required Documentation
  • Prepare necessary documents, including a valid passport, proof of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay (enough to support yourself and purchase a return ticket), an itinerary of your business activities in New Zealand, evidence of onward travel arrangements, and any invitations or correspondence from New Zealand business partners.
Step 3: Complete the Application Form
  • The application for a Business Visitor Visa can typically be completed online via the Immigration New Zealand website, offering convenience and efficiency. Select the Visitor Visa application, and specify your visit is for business reasons.
Step 4: Pay the Application Fee
  • During the online application process, you will be prompted to pay the applicable visa fee. This fee varies depending on your country of residence and how you apply (online or paper application). Payment is usually made via credit or debit card.
Step 5: Submit Additional Information if Required
  • After submitting your application, Immigration New Zealand may request further information or documentation, such as medical examinations or police certificates, depending on your circumstances and the length of your stay.
Step 6: Wait for Visa Processing
  • Processing times can vary based on the volume of applications and your particular case. During this period, plan your travel and stay in New Zealand, keeping in mind the business nature of your visit.
Step 7: Receive Your Visa
  • Once your application is approved, you’ll receive a visa approval notification. If you applied online, you would receive an eVisa.
Step 8: Travel to New Zealand
  • With your Business Visitor Visa, you’re allowed to enter New Zealand for the specified duration of your visa to conduct your business activities. Ensure you carry copies of your supporting documents, including your visa approval and evidence of your business activities, as you may need to present them upon arrival.
Step 9: Adhere to Visa Conditions
  • While in New Zealand, ensure that you adhere strictly to the conditions of your Business Visitor Visa, engaging only in the business activities that the visa permits.

This visa is an excellent way for digital nomads to explore business opportunities in New Zealand, attend conferences or meetings, and network with local professionals, all while enjoying the beautiful landscapes and vibrant cities that New Zealand offers.

dirt road in the field with huge rock in the background

Entrepreneur Work Visa

The Entrepreneur Work Visa for New Zealand is designed for those who plan to start or purchase a business in the country, offering a pathway to residency for individuals who can contribute to the New Zealand economy through innovation or investment.

Here are the main and key requirements for digital nomads considering this visa as a way to enter New Zealand:

  • Business Plan: Must submit a detailed business plan outlining the viability and benefit of your proposed business to New Zealand’s economy.
  • Capital Investment: Need a minimum capital investment of NZD 100,000, excluding working capital, to establish or purchase the business, although exceptions apply to certain innovative or export-oriented businesses.
  • Ownership: Must have at least a 25% shareholding in the business if it’s already established or being purchased.
  • Points System: The application is assessed on a points system, considering factors like business experience, investment amount, and the potential for job creation.
  • Health and Character Requirements: Applicants must meet health and character requirements, including medical exams and police clearance.
  • English Language Proficiency: There is a minimum English language requirement, usually demonstrated through an IELTS test, with an overall band score of 4.0 or more.
  • Proof of Funds: Beyond the investment capital, you must show evidence of sufficient maintenance funds to support yourself (and any dependents) during your stay.
  • Age Requirement: There is no specific age limit, but applicants must be able to demonstrate the capability to actively manage the business they intend to start or purchase.
  • Stay Duration: The visa is initially granted for a 12-month start-up stage, extendable up to 24 months in total, after which you may apply for residency under the Entrepreneur Residence Category, provided you meet additional criteria.
  • Application Fees and Levies: There are specific application fees and levies payable upon submitting your visa application.

This visa category provides a significant opportunity for digital nomads with entrepreneurial ambitions to establish a business in New Zealand. It requires a substantial commitment both financially and in terms of time, aiming to benefit the New Zealand economy directly.

Successful applicants can use this as a stepping stone towards long-term residency, allowing them to live and operate their business within the country.

Application Process

Embarking on the journey to New Zealand with an Entrepreneur Work Visa involves a series of detailed steps. This visa caters to individuals looking to start or buy a business in New Zealand, potentially leading to residency. For digital nomads with entrepreneurial ambitions, here’s how to navigate the application process:

Step 1: Eligibility Check and Preparation
  • Assess your eligibility against the criteria of the Entrepreneur Work Visa, including your business experience, the capital you intend to invest, and your English language proficiency.
Step 2: Develop a Detailed Business Plan
  • Craft a comprehensive business plan that outlines the nature of your proposed business, how it contributes to New Zealand’s economy, the amount of investment, and job creation prospects. This plan is crucial for your application’s success.
Step 3: Gather Required Documentation
  • Prepare necessary documents, including proof of your business experience, evidence of the capital available to invest, your detailed business plan, health and character certificates, English language test results, and any other documents that support your application.
Step 4: Complete the Application Form
  • Fill out the application form. As of the last update, the Entrepreneur Work Visa application could be filled out online via the Immigration New Zealand website, streamlining the submission process. Ensure all information is accurate and matches the documentation you’re providing.
Step 5: Pay Application Fees
  • Pay the required application fee and immigration levy at the time of application submission. These fees can be paid online and vary depending on your location and the specifics of your application. Check the latest fees on the Immigration New Zealand website.
Step 6: Submit Your Application
  • Submit your completed application form along with all required documents. If applying online, you will upload digital copies of your documents. Ensure everything is complete to avoid delays.
Step 7: Await Assessment
  • After submission, your application will be assessed by Immigration New Zealand. This process includes reviewing your business plan and all supporting documentation. You may be asked to provide additional information or attend an interview.
Step 8: Application Outcome
  • Receive your visa decision. If approved, you will get a visa that allows you to enter New Zealand and start implementing your business plan. The initial visa is typically granted for 12 months, allowing you to establish your business in New Zealand, followed by an extension for another 24 months if you meet certain conditions.
Step 9: Arrive in New Zealand
  • Upon arrival in New Zealand, activate your visa by entering the country. You can then start executing your business plan, working towards the milestones and objectives outlined in your application.
Step 10: Apply for an Extension or Transition to Residency
  • After successfully establishing your business, you may apply for an extension of your visa or transition to residency under the Entrepreneur Residence Category, subject to meeting additional criteria such as significant business growth or substantial economic contribution.

For digital nomads, this visa represents a pathway to long-term residency in New Zealand through entrepreneurial activity, requiring a significant investment of time, capital, and effort. Always check the most current application details and requirements on the Immigration New Zealand website before starting your application process.

Specific Purpose Work Visa

The Specific Purpose Work Visa is designed for individuals who have a particular reason or purpose that contributes to New Zealand’s interests, allowing them to work temporarily in the country. This visa can be an alternative pathway for digital nomads with unique skills or who are involved in specific projects or events that benefit New Zealand.

Here are the main requirements:

  • Specific Purpose or Event: You must have a confirmed offer of employment or an invitation for a specific purpose or event that justifies the need for your skills or presence in New Zealand. For example, working at 2024 Women’s World Cup.
  • Sponsorship or Support: Depending on the nature of your visit, you may need a New Zealand organization to sponsor your application or provide evidence of support for your stay.
  • Proof of Qualifications and Experience: Must provide evidence that you have the necessary qualifications, experience, and skills required for the specific purpose or event you will be participating in.
  • Health and Character Certificates: Applicants need to meet health and character requirements, which may include medical examinations and police clearance certificates.
  • Financial Requirements: You must show evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay or have financial support from a sponsoring organization.
  • Insurance: Must have comprehensive health insurance for the duration of your stay in New Zealand.
  • Duration of Stay: The visa duration is tied to the length of the specific purpose or event, usually granted for the period necessary to complete the purpose of your visit.
  • Age Requirement: There is no specific age requirement, but applicants must be able to fulfill the role or purpose for which the visa is sought.
  • No Ongoing Employment: The visa does not typically allow for permanent or ongoing employment in New Zealand outside the specific purpose or event.
  • Application Fee: Payment of an application fee is required when submitting your visa application.

For digital nomads, this visa can offer a unique opportunity to work on specific projects, participate in events, or contribute their skills to New Zealand’s economy on a temporary basis. It requires a clear and documented purpose for staying in the country, making it suitable for those with specialized skills or who are involved in short-term projects.

Application Process

Applying for a Specific Purpose Work Visa as a digital nomad involves a clearly defined process, tailored to those who aim to enter New Zealand for a particular project, event, or purpose that necessitates their specific skills or presence. Here’s how to approach the application process:

Step 1: Define Your Specific Purpose or Event

Identify the specific purpose or event for which you are coming to New Zealand, such as a technology project, a business conference, or a cultural exchange program that requires your unique skills or presence.

Step 2: Obtain Documentation or an Invitation

Secure documentation or an invitation from the New Zealand organization or entity involved in your specific purpose or event. This should outline the nature of the project or event, your role, and why your presence in New Zealand is necessary.

Step 3: Check Eligibility Criteria

Review the eligibility criteria for the Specific Purpose Work Visa on the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website to ensure you meet all requirements, including health and character standards.

Step 4: Gather Required Documents

Prepare all necessary documentation, including your passport, evidence of your qualifications and experience relevant to the specific purpose, the official documentation or invitation from the New Zealand organization, proof of sufficient funds or financial support, and health insurance coverage for your stay.

Step 5: Complete the Application Form

Applications can often be completed online via the INZ website, providing a convenient and efficient way to submit your visa application. Select the application form that matches your specific purpose or event.

Step 6: Pay the Application Fee

The application fee, along with any applicable levies, is payable at the time of application submission. Fees vary based on the specific details of your application and can be paid online during the application process.

Step 7: Submit Your Application

Once your application is filled out and all necessary documents are gathered, submit your application online. Ensure that all information is accurate and that you’ve included all required supporting documentation.

Step 8: Await Processing

After submission, your application will undergo processing by INZ. Processing times can vary depending on the complexity of your application and current workload. During this period, INZ may contact you for additional information or clarification.

Step 9: Visa Decision

You will be notified of the visa decision via email or through your online account. If approved, you will receive details on the visa, including its duration and conditions.

Step 10: Prepare for Arrival in New Zealand

Once your visa is granted, prepare for your trip to New Zealand. Make sure you understand the conditions of your visa, including any work restrictions and the requirement to leave once your specific purpose or event is concluded.

Step 11: Enter New Zealand

Upon arrival, you may be asked to present evidence of your visa and the purpose of your visit, so keep all relevant documentation handy.

river between green trees and hill

Cost of Living in New Zealand

New Zealand offers a high quality of life but is also known for its relatively high cost of living compared to some other countries. The cost of living can vary significantly depending on the city or region, with urban areas like Auckland and Wellington generally being more expensive than smaller towns and rural areas.

For digital nomads, understanding the cost of living is crucial for budgeting and planning. Keep in mind, exchange rates fluctuate, so it’s a good idea to check the current rate for the most accurate conversion.

Accommodation (Monthly Rent)

  • Shared Apartment (Room): NZD 800-1,200 (approx. USD 520-780)
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment (City Center): NZD 1,500-2,500 (approx. USD 975-1,625)
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment (Outside City Center): NZD 1,200-1,800 (approx. USD 780-1,170)

Utilities (Monthly for 1 Bedroom Apartment)

  • Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage: NZD 150-250 (approx. USD 97-162)

Internet (Unlimited Data, Monthly)

  • NZD 60-100 (approx. USD 39-65)

Groceries (Monthly Estimate per Person)

  • NZD 300-600 (approx. USD 195-390), depending on dietary preferences and consumption habits.

Eating Out

  • Casual Dining Restaurant Meal: NZD 20-35 (approx. USD 13-23) per person
  • Coffee: NZD 4.50-5.50 (approx. USD 2.93-3.58)

Transportation

  • Public Transport (Monthly Pass): NZD 120-250 (approx. USD 78-162), varies by city
  • Taxi (1km): NZD 2-3 (approx. USD 1.30-1.95), excluding base fare

Health Insurance

  • Private Coverage: Costs can vary widely based on coverage extent; NZD 50-150 (approx. USD 32-97) per month is a starting point for basic coverage.

Leisure Activities

  • Gym Membership (Monthly): NZD 50-100 (approx. USD 32-65)
  • Cinema Ticket: NZD 15-20 (approx. USD 9.75-13)

These estimates provide a general overview of what digital nomads can expect in terms of living expenses in New Zealand. The total monthly cost of living could range from around NZD 2,500 to 4,500 (approx. USD 1,625 to 2,925) or more, depending on your lifestyle, spending habits, and the city of residence.

It’s also important to factor in initial setup costs upon arrival, such as purchasing furniture if you’re renting an unfurnished apartment, or a car if you plan to travel extensively within the country.

Digital nomads should also consider the cost of coworking spaces if they prefer working in such environments over cafes or home. Monthly memberships can vary, but expect to pay between NZD 300 to 600 (approx. USD 195 to 390) depending on the city and amenities offered.

Given New Zealand’s scenic beauty, many digital nomads may find themselves spending more on weekend trips and outdoor activities, which can also add to the overall cost of living but significantly enrich the living experience in the country.

white and red lighthouse in the top near body of water

Resources to Stay Up to Date with Visa Changes

New Zealand Government Website

NZeTA Portal

New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)

Immigration New Zealand

Atlys.com

iVisa.com

World Visa Guide

Do I Need a New Zealand Digital Nomad Visa?

New Zealand does not offer a specific Digital Nomad Visa for individuals looking to work remotely while living in the country.

However, the growing trend of digital nomadism has many exploring how they can legally stay and work in New Zealand under existing visa categories. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of staying in New Zealand as a digital nomad and highlight which alternative pathways might be ideal.

Pros of Staying in New Zealand as a Digital Nomad

  • Scenic Beauty and Quality of Life: New Zealand’s stunning landscapes, from beaches to mountains, provide a backdrop that can boost creativity and well-being. The country’s high quality of life, including excellent healthcare and safety, makes it an attractive destination for digital nomads.
  • Robust Infrastructure: With reliable internet and a growing number of coworking spaces, New Zealand supports remote work, enabling digital nomads to stay connected with clients and colleagues worldwide.
  • Cultural Experience: New Zealand’s rich Maori culture, friendly locals, and English-speaking environment make it easy for digital nomads to integrate and experience the local lifestyle.

Cons of Staying in New Zealand as a Digital Nomad

  • Cost of Living: New Zealand’s cost of living can be high, particularly in major cities such as Auckland and Wellington. Accommodation, food, and transportation costs may strain a digital nomad’s budget.
  • Visa Limitations: Without a dedicated digital nomad visa, staying long-term in New Zealand involves navigating the existing visa system, which may not cater directly to the remote work lifestyle.
  • Distance and Isolation: Geographically, New Zealand is relatively isolated. Time zone differences can pose challenges for digital nomads needing to synchronize with clients or teams in other parts of the world.

Ideal Alternative Pathways for Digital Nomads

  • Working Holiday Visa: For those aged 18-30 (or 35 in some cases), this visa allows travel and work in New Zealand for up to 12 or 23 months, depending on your country of origin. It’s a great way to experience the country while maintaining the flexibility to work remotely.
  • Visitor Visa: Suitable for short stays (up to 9 months), the Visitor Visa can be an option for digital nomads looking to explore New Zealand while continuing to work for an overseas employer. However, the primary purpose should be tourism.
  • Student Visa: If you’re interested in studying part-time, the Student Visa permits you to work up to 20 hours a week, offering a pathway to balance education and remote work.
  • Entrepreneur Work Visa: For digital nomads with business ideas, this visa allows starting a business in New Zealand, leading to potential residency. It requires significant investment and a detailed business plan.

While New Zealand does not currently offer a visa specifically for digital nomads, several alternative pathways can facilitate a temporary stay in this beautiful country. Each option has its advantages and limitations, so it’s essential to consider your circumstances, including your work situation, budget, and long-term goals, when choosing the best pathway for you.

Best Places to Live or Explore In New Zealand for Digital Nomads

Image text of the best places to live or explore in New Zealand

Auckland

As New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is a bustling metropolis surrounded by harbors, islands, and vineyards, offering a perfect blend of urban life and natural beauty.

For digital nomads, GridAKL serves as a hub of innovation and creativity, providing coworking spaces and networking opportunities. The Common is another popular coworking spot, known for its inspiring work environment and community events.

For a change of scenery, Mission Bay Beach offers a picturesque spot to relax, with cafes nearby to work from while enjoying the view.

Wellington

city buildings near body of water

The capital city, Wellington, known for its vibrant arts scene and cafe culture, is compact and creative, making it ideal for digital nomads who thrive in energetic environments.

BizDojo is a coworking space that fosters a community of entrepreneurs and creative professionals. Te Papa Tongarewa Museum offers free Wi-Fi and spaces to work, allowing nomads to immerse themselves in New Zealand’s culture and history.

For a scenic workday, the Wellington Waterfront provides ample cafes and spots to sit and work, with the added bonus of stunning harbor views.

Christchurch

white house surrounded by green grass near body of water

Rebuilding and innovation define Christchurch, making it an exciting place for digital nomads. Awesome HQ offers a friendly coworking environment with a variety of workspaces.

The Christchurch Botanic Gardens provide a peaceful outdoor setting for those looking to work surrounded by nature, with plenty of benches and cafes nearby.

C1 Espresso is a lively cafe that not only serves excellent coffee but also provides a comfortable setting for working and networking.

Queenstown

body of water surrounded by trees and mountains

Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand, offering an energetic vibe against a backdrop of dramatic landscapes. The Sherwood provides a cozy coworking space and community for those looking for a serene place to work.

Cargo Brewery & Gantleys Pub is a unique spot where digital nomads can work from a historic building with good food and craft beer.

For breathtaking views while catching up on emails, Queenstown Gardens offers free Wi-Fi and plenty of quiet spots amidst stunning natural beauty.

Dunedin

brown concrete building surrounded by trees and grass-new zealand digital nomad visa

Known for its Scottish and Maori heritage, Dunedin combines history with a strong academic vibe, thanks to the University of Otago. Petridish is the city’s premier coworking space, offering a supportive environment for startups and freelancers.

Dunedin Public Libraries provide quiet spaces ideal for focus and research, with free Wi-Fi and numerous resources.

For a relaxed work setting, The Octagon is surrounded by cafes and green spaces, perfect for working outdoors on sunny days.

New Zealand Digital Nomad Visa – Summary

In closing, New Zealand stands out as a compelling choice for digital nomads, despite the absence of a specific “New Zealand Digital Nomad Visa.” Each pathway presents its unique set of benefits and challenges, tailored to the different needs and circumstances of digital nomads.

The Working Holiday Visa emerges as a favorite for younger digital nomads, blending work with adventure and allowing for an immersive experience in New Zealand. However, it’s age restrictions and limited duration pose challenges for those outside the eligible age range or looking to stay longer.

The Visitor Visa, while offering a short-term solution, restricts employment within New Zealand, directing nomads to strictly adhere to remote work for overseas employers. This can be limiting for those seeking to engage with the local economy more directly.

The Student Visa opens avenues for skill enhancement alongside remote work but comes with the commitment of being a part-time student, which might not align with every nomad’s plans.

Meanwhile, the Entrepreneur Work Visa provides a pathway to permanent residency through business investment but requires substantial financial commitment and a detailed business plan, making it a challenging option for those without significant startup capital or a desire to establish a business in New Zealand.

Navigating these pathways reveals a common set of challenges for digital nomads in New Zealand, notably the high cost of living, especially in major cities, and the complexities of aligning remote work with visa requirements. Despite these hurdles, the quality of life, safety, natural beauty, and supportive communities within New Zealand offer a compelling argument for its selection as a digital nomad destination.

For those who can find a pathway that aligns with their circumstances, and who are prepared to navigate the logistical aspects of living and working there, the experience of being a digital nomad in New Zealand is undoubtedly worth it.

With careful planning and selecting the visa pathway that matches one’s professional and personal goals, the dream of exploring New Zealand can be a rewarding reality for digital nomads worldwide.

Check out our other posts on digital nomad visas and global destinations;


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New Zealand Digital Nomad Visa- FAQs

Is New Zealand Good for Digital Nomads?

New Zealand is highly regarded as an excellent destination for digital nomads, thanks to its stunning landscapes, high-quality lifestyle, clean air and robust internet infrastructure.

While the cost of living can be high, especially in major cities, the country offers a diverse range of environments from urban to rural, providing something for every type of digital nomad.

With ample coworking spaces and a supportive community of remote workers, New Zealand combines the allure of adventure with the necessities for productive remote work.

Can I Work Remotely on a Tourist Visa in New Zealand?

Officially, the New Zealand tourist visa (Visitor Visa) is intended for tourism activities and not for the purpose of taking up employment or working remotely for a foreign employer. While enforcement may vary, it’s crucial to adhere to the conditions of your visa to avoid legal issues.

For longer stays or if you plan to work while in New Zealand, looking into other visa categories such as the Working Holiday Visa or specific purpose visas is advisable.

Can I Work Remotely from NZ?

Yes, working remotely from New Zealand is possible under specific visa conditions. While there is no dedicated “Digital Nomad Visa,” several alternatives allow for remote work, including the Working Holiday Visa for younger travelers and the Entrepreneur Work Visa for those starting a business.

Each visa has its criteria and conditions, so it’s important to choose one that aligns with your remote work situation and ensures compliance with New Zealand’s immigration policies.

Can I get a New Zealand Visa Online?

Many New Zealand visas, including the Visitor Visa, Student Visa, and Work Visas, can be applied for online through the official Immigration New Zealand website.

The online application process is streamlined, allowing applicants to submit documentation and pay fees electronically. Before applying, it’s advisable to review the specific requirements and conditions for your desired visa category on the Immigration New Zealand website.

What are the Best Cities in New Zealand for Digital Nomads?

New Zealand boasts several cities that are particularly appealing to digital nomads, thanks to their lifestyle, coworking spaces, and connectivity.

Auckland, as the largest city, offers a vibrant urban environment with numerous coworking options and networking opportunities.

Wellington, the capital, is known for its creative scene and tech startups, making it ideal for digital professionals.

Queenstown provides a picturesque setting for those who love outdoor activities alongside their work.

Lastly, Christchurch is emerging as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, with a supportive community for digital nomads.

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