One of the most confusing issues in New Zealand visa jungle is telling the difference between a New Zealand permanent resident visa and a resident visa. Immigration New Zealand have done a pretty good job of making this as complex as possible. So I’m going to explain it to you and hopefully simplify the whole thing in such a way everyone can understand it.
There are a few things you are not allowed to do with a Resident visa. For instance, you cannot vote until you have been here for at least twelve months and you may not be given a social welfare benefit for two years.As a Resident visa holder you pay the same taxes, you can buy the same houses and use the healthcare and education systems in the same way a citizen can. Unlike many other countries where they have much more restrictions on Resident visa holders.
Explaining your Resident Visa
If your Resident Visa is issued when you are onshore then your visa won’t have a ‘First Entry Before Date’ as you are already here.The second condition stated on the visa label (which is usually the one that confuses most people) is the “Expiry Date Travel”. This does not mean your visa will expire after a certain date. It means your travel conditions will expire (usually after two years from the date of your first arrival or if you were onshore, two years after your visa was granted). Travel conditions give you the right to enter and exit New Zealand as a Resident. If you would leave New Zealand and wanted to return after your travel conditions expired your Residence would be deemed to have lapsed and you might be refused entry into New Zealand because you do not hold a valid visa anymore.The above applies to most application types however, there are some additional conditions for Investor or Parent Category applicants.
What is the difference with a New Zealand Permanent Resident Visa?
A New Zealand Permanent Resident Visa gives you the same rights and privileges as your Resident Visa however, the travel conditions never expire so you can come and go as you like (see example below). This is where the word ‘permanent’ of the Permanent Resident Visa refers to. As you can see it has nothing to do with staying permanently in New Zealand. You are allowed to stay permanently in NZ on both visas. It has to do with permanently being able to exit and re-enter the country as a Resident.