Difference Between NZ Resident Visa and Permanent Resident Visa

Simply put it this way.  On a Resident Visa, the holder has an expiry date travel.  Anyone can go in and out of New Zealand within the two-year period.  After that, getting out and coming back to the country would invalidate your visa.  But Resident Visa will be indefinite if you do not leave.  So if you need fly out of NZ for whatever reason and wants to return without any hassles, apply for Variation of Travel Conditions.


On the other hand, Permanent Resident Visa is a Resident Visa without any travel conditions.

When to Change from Resident to Permanent Resident Visa?

  1. After 2 years of holding a Resident Visa.
  2. Spent 184 days or more in each year on a Resident Visa
Use the INZ 1175 form to process the application.  As of today, the cost is NZD180.  Payment is through credit card or bank cheques/drafts.

A New Passport on a Visa Change

On my case, I had a new passport 6 months before the 2-year period of the Resident Visa.  I did not apply for any Visa Label transfer as there was no plan of going overseas.  Instead, the Permanent Residency was lodge just a month after the visa travel condition expiry.

So you might be thinking, do I need to lodge both the change of visa and label transfer?  Visa label transfer cost is NZD108.  Permanent Resident Visa is NZD180.   That’s a total of NZD288!  Bam, that’s expensive.

I rang the Immigration New Zealand at 09 914 4100.  The officer advised to file the INZ 1175 to change the visa to Permanent Resident but not file the visa label transfer.  Just bring the old and new passport.  Two sets of passport-size photographs taken no more than 6 months.

And the good thing about living in Auckland Central is, you just have walk down to Queen Street at the Immigration Office and lodge the application.

Less than an hour is all it takes to process the application.  Queued to the Initial Assessor.  Given the desk number.  Paid the bill of NZD180.  And there goes the Permanent Resident Visa.  No more travel conditions.  In and out of New Zealand indefinitely.

What’s next?

Wait for another 3 years.  Be a good resident.  Apply for citizenship.