2021 resident visa

Much to the relief of more than 150,000 migrants, Immigration New Zealand have announced a 2021 Resident Visa. This is a once-off residency visa meant to clear the backlog at INZ and provide a large portion of the migrant community with certainty around their future in New Zealand.

What are the 2021 Resident Visa requirements?

Most importantly there are two mandatory requirements that every applicant MUST meet:

  1. The principal applicant must have been in New Zealand (or Australia) on the 29th September 2021
  2. The principal applicant must hold one of the eligible NZ visas

In addition to the two mandatory qualifying criteria, applicants must also meet at least one of the three S’s – Settled, Skilled or Scarce.


To be eligible under the settled criteria, you must have first arrived in New Zealand on or before 29 September 2018 and spent at least 75% of the three years (821 days) after that date here.  

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will use travel records to determine whether you meet the settled criteria.


To be eligible under the skilled criteria, you must normally be paid at least $27 per hour for an average of at least 30 hours per week on 29 September 2021. If your pay or hours have been temporarily affected by COVID-19-related disruption to business activity, you must be able to show that you were previously paid that rate.

It is important to note that when calculating remuneration employment-related allowances and performance bonuses are excluded.

Self-employed contractors with a consistent history of contract work and a current contract for services may be eligible.


To be eligible under the scarce criteria, you must normally have been employed for an average of at least 30 hours per week in a role on a list of scarce occupations on 29 September 2021 and the date you apply. If your hours have been temporarily affected by COVID-19-related disruption to business activity, you must be able to show that you were previously working for an average of at least 30 hours per week.

Who can be included in my application?

Partners and dependent children in New Zealand and overseas can be included in your application as secondary applicants.


To approve a 2021 Resident Visa for a partner, INZ must be satisfied that the couple has lived together in a genuine and stable relationship for 12 months or more during their relationship.

INZ will consider the relationship history of couples separated by COVID-19 border restrictions or other factors when assessing applications for partners.

A partner included in the application will not be eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa if they have not met or lived with the principal applicant.

Dependent Children

If you have dependent children aged 25 and over that were included in your SMC application on or before 29 September 2021, they cannot be included as a dependent child in your 2021 Resident Visa application. However, they can submit their own application as an attached document when you submit your online 2021 Resident Visa application.  No additional fee will be charged for your child’s application.

They can be granted their own 2021 Resident visa if:

  • they meet standard health and character requirements, and
  • as their parent, you have been  granted a 2021 Resident Visa.

Dependent children overseas who are granted a 2021 Resident Visa are exempt from our border restrictions and may travel to New Zealand.

Are there any other requirements?

Yes, as with all residency applications, you will also need to meet mandatory health and character requirements.


A limited medical certificate will be required if:

  • a medical certificate issued within the last 36 months has not been lodged with a previous visa application, or
  • there have been subsequent changes to an applicant’s health, or
  • an applicant’s standard of health was previously deemed to have not met requirements


You are not required to get overseas police certificates unless there are specific concerns.

INZ will request a New Zealand Police check on your behalf.

What is the cost of the 2021 Resident Visa?

The total cost of the 2021 Resident Visa is $2,160 including GST. This includes a $1,330 application fee and $830 immigration levy. Is is worth noting that those who have already applied for an EOI, SMC or RFW are able to offset the cost of the visa against the fees already paid.

Our fees for the 2021 Resident Visa are entirely dependent on the complexity of the case and number of applicants. Our expected fee for a single applicant without any health or character issues will be $1,750. As always, please feel free to get in touch with us to discuss your specific case and see how we can help you with discounted fees.

When do applications open?

Applications for the 2021 Resident visa will be managed in two phases.

Phase 1

On the 1st December 2021 applications open for:

  • Anybody who has a pending Skilled Migrant Category visa application.
  • Anybody who has submitted an Expression of Interest which includes a dependent child aged 17 years or older.

Phase 2

Application to all other eligible applicants opens on the 1st March 2022.

Immigration can be a stressful and expensive commitment to your future, can you afford to make a mistake that jeopardizes that future? As highly qualified specialists in the immigration industry we have the skills to help make your dream a reality!