New Zealand isn’t just an escape hatch for Silicon Valley billionaires like Peter Thiel; it’s also become the object of many Americans’ affection in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential election win.
If you’re one of the many people looking to make the move to a land of rolling, green hills and sheep as far as the eye can see, here’s how you actually make the move and become a Kiwi.
If your goal is to live in New Zealand permanently, your journey begins with a choice.
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The first thing New Zealand’s immigration office needs to know is if you want to emigrate for work, study, investing, or joining family.
The path you go down will determine which kind of visa you’ll end up applying for.
For people looking to work, your best bet is to have a job already in hand.
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If you do have a job, the country has a number of options in terms of the kind of visa you can apply for. The most popular for future residents are the Skilled Migrant and Long Term Skill Shortage visas.
Skilled Migrant visas are for people who “want to live in New Zealand permanently and … have skills that can contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth.”
The Long Term Skill Shortage visa is for people whose skills fit one of the jobs listed on the immigration’s site.
The smartest choice for permanent residence is the Long Term Skill Shortage visa.
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With this particular visa, you can work for 30 months in New Zealand in a position for which the country has a shortage of available talent.
After 24 months of working in a job related to the list of skills, you can apply to become a permanent resident. You can also apply for another temporary work visa.
The list of needed skills is fairly comprehensive.
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You can view the list here.
It includes jobs in construction, engineering, finance, and health and social services. If an applicant’s skills don’t meet any of those listed, there are also paths to acquiring a visa through the arts, sports, and entertainment.
The next step is applying.
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Once you’ve gathered all of the necessary documents, including a birth certificate, a (relatively) clean bill of health, references, and employment history, you have the option to submit the application either online or by mail.
New Zealand’s immigration office says online applications generally take about 25 days, while paper applications take 23 days.
Have hope, because your chances of getting approved are good.
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According to a decade’s worth of visa statistics, far more applications get accepted than denied.
Last year, 147,535 applications were approved while 9,753 were denied.
If your work visa gets accepted, New Zealand has a few pieces of advice for moving.
The immigration office also recommends settling your new bank account before getting too deep into the move.
Once you arrive, enjoy New Zealand!
There are endless hills to hike, rugby matches to attend, and new culture to embrace.
For those who love it so much, they want to become citizens …
… most people (if they aren’t the child of a New Zealander) will need to gain citizenship by grant.
In order to be considered for citizenship, you have to be a resident for at least five years, know English well enough “to handle everyday situations,” have few, if any, marks on your criminal record, and have an understanding of “the responsibilities and privileges of New Zealand citizenship.”
Most applicants are not called in for a personal interview, but there are certain fees involved.
Your new status grants you the rights of any native New Zealander.
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“They include the right to travel freely overseas and return on a New Zealand passport, full access to economic rights, and full access to educational scholarships and awards that are reserved for New Zealanders,” the immigration office states.
The only thing left is to enjoy life as a naturalized Kiwi.