Permanent Resident Visa update from INZ11 Dec 2023

INZ has announced that Permanent Resident Visa (PRV) applications will be able to be made online from the end of January 2024.

This is great news, and especially for the 100,000+ 2021 Resident Visa holders who will be eligible to apply for their PRVs during 2024. Currently PRV applications are paper based and must be couriered to INZ together with certified copies of passports. PRV applications can be relatively straight forward and the INZ website advises a current processing time of around 25 working days. Online processing will certainly make the PRV application process simpler and quicker for everyone.

Initial Resident Visas are generally granted with travel conditions to enable travel as a NZ resident for 2 years, and these travel conditions must be extended, or a PRV obtained, in order to continue to travel as a resident after the end of these 2 years. A PRV can only be applied for after the Resident Visa has been held for 2 years. A PRV is a lifelong resident visa with no expiry date, and no conditions, and does not need to be applied for again.

Please appreciate that any criminal charges or convictions will cause a problem with any PRV application and, depending on the nature of the offence, could lead to the possible cancellation of your New Zealand residence. In this situation it is very important that expert advice is obtained.

Our previous post What is the difference between Resident Visa and Permanent Resident Visa? outlined the following requirements to be eligible for a PRV:
• Have held resident visa for 2 years and have spent significant period of time spent in New Zealand (i.e.: 184 days in New Zealand in two consecutive 12-month periods immediately prior to applying for the PRV)
• Tax residence status in New Zealand
• Investment in New Zealand
• Establishment of a business in New Zealand
• Base established in New Zealand

Please also appreciate these are the headline requirements and there is significant policy detail which informs these requirements and some visa categories, such as investor and parent retirement residence, have other PRV criteria. Also, it is the 2 year period immediately prior to the date the PRV application is lodged for which the criteria must be met.

Many Resident Visa holders either forget, or fail to plan ahead, for their PRV and every year many returning residents are issued visitor visas on their re-entry to New Zealand as their resident visa travel conditions have expired. These travellers then normally have 3 months to apply for their PRV and during this time they are unable to work. If someone does not apply for their residence extension or PRV in the correct time it is possible they will lose their New Zealand residence completely. It is definitely beneficial for visa holders to plan ahead for their PRV applications!

For guidance on your eligibility for a Permanent Resident Visa, or for any immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact the friendly team at Pathways to New Zealand™.