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New Zealand Visa Requirements for South Africans

How to get a New Zealand visa with a South African passport

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All those travelling on a South African passport now require a visa in order to visit New Zealand. This was implemented in 2016, as a result of an increasing number of South Africans being denied entry at immigration stations at New Zealand's airports. The South African government quickly retaliated by making visas mandatory for Kiwis visiting South Africa.

Most South Africans looking to holiday in New Zealand will want to apply for the "visitor visa", which usually allows travellers to enjoy a vacation for up to 9 months in the country (the other types of visas are business, work, joining family, study and residence). Of course, even if you obtain a visa, you can still be denied entry by border officers - this is at their discretion - so make sure that you have all your paperwork with you when you travel, so you can at least argue your case.

Having said that, tourism-related activities employs 8% of Kiwis, and is their largest export-earner (forming 20% of the total) - surpassing dairy. Tourism There are several steps to obtaining a New Zealand visitor visa.

Step 1: Ensure that you have a valid South African passport

If you need to apply for a new passport, in our experience you can usually get it within 10 days from South African Home Affairs (but be prepared to queue for a long time - this can take you the better part of a day). Temporary passports are no longer issued. You can find your closest home affairs office by clicking here.

Passports must not be older than 10 years. South African passports must be valid for at least 3 months after the date of return to SA (why the need to have it valid after your return date? Well, governments tend to err on the side of caution, factoring in any unforeseen circumstances which may occur). The passport must have the applicant's signature on the relevant information page (newer SA passports already have the signature embedded on the hard cover; Older SA passports must sign the information page at the back). Passports require 2 valid, blank and consecutive pages (marked VISA). Visa pages are invalid if damaged or stained by stamps from other pages.

Step 2: Establish which Visitor Visa to Apply for

There are several types of visitor visas:

  • (general) visitor visa

  • group visitor visa

  • parent & grandparent visitor visa

  • visa waiver visitor visa

Step 3 : Establish What Documents You Need

Note that all documents must either be in English or have English translations.

  • Valid passport (upload a copy when applying online, when applying on paper ideally send the original passport); however even for online applications you must send your original passport via courier.

  • 2 visa photos if applying with paper, or 1 if you are applying online

  • If you're visiting New Zealand for more than 6 months, you need to have a chest x-ray, to show you don't have tuberculosis.

  • Work, personal and financial commitments in South Africa or New Zealand.

  • Details of any family you have in SA and New Zealand.

  • Any other documents which show you'll be wanting to return to South Africa.

  • A ticket to fly back to South Africa - do not purchase your plane tickets until you've obtained agreement in principle that you will have your application approved.

  • Documents which indicate that you are indeed holidaying or visiting family or watching sport, or whatever the purpose of your visit is.

  • Documents which indicate you'll be able to support yourself during your stay. This must be a minimum of NZD400 / month if you have prepaid for your accommodation; and NZD1000 / month otherwise. Other evidence may be travellers' cheques, credit card statements, bank statements and proof of anything prepaid; like hotels or accommodation (or details of free accommodation if you are staying with friends/family). If you have a sponsor, then their details should be provided, including their ability to support you.

  • Ideally have proof of medical cover during your trip.

In addition to the documents required; you also need to be of good character. For example; you won't be granted a visa if you've ever been

  • deported or removed from any country; or convicted of offences to do with passport laws, citizenship or immigration.

  • have ever been imprisoned as a result of being convicted for an offence, been sentenced to imprisonment for more than 5 years, been sentenced to prison for a year or more anytime during the last 10 years, or are being investigated or charged with an offence which has a prison term of a year or more.

Step 4 : Submit your application

Applying online is the way to go if you're doing an individual application and have a credit card to pay with - it's faster and cheaper. Of course for online applications you'll need to have electronic copies of all the documents; e.g. your passport. If you apply online then you could possibly get an eVisa - a visa approval letter which you can print out and take with you. Click here to start the online application process (if you find discrepancies between this page and that one, take that one as being the correct version).

Step 5 : Pay the Fees

Fees can be paid with various credit cards and debit cards: Mastercard, UnionPay or Visa.

New Zealand Embassy in South Africa

If there are any questions for which you cannot find the answers you may want to contact the New Zealand embassy or consulate in South Africa:

  • Pretoria (Embassy): 125 Middle Street, Nieuw Muckleneuk, 0181 (near to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea; between Melk Street and Florence Ribeiro Avenue). Phone 012 435 9000. Email enquiries@nzhc.co.za.

  • Cape Town (Consulate): Eastry Road, Claremont, 7708. Phone 021 683 5762.

Click here to see the official website for the New Zealand embassy in South Africa.

Emigrating to New Zealand

So, you want to go the whole hog, and emigrate to New Zealand? You are not alone, in fact the 2013 census showed that just over 1% of New Zealand's population have South African roots; including the likes of Andrew Mehrtens (All Black rugby player) and BJ Watling (cricket). Besides the obvious attraction of far lower crime, New Zealand shares the same colonial background and of course the same language (English) as South Africa.

Septmber 2017 Election

A new government led by Labour's Jacinda Ardern came into power, with one of their stances being to reduce net immigration into New Zealand by 20,000 to 30,000p.a.; and have more stringent rules to force employers to first look to hire New Zealanders before considering foreigners. So, if you want to emigrate to New Zealander you'd better move soon, before politicians make it harder to do so. On the other hand, she has no plans to build a wall and there will still be a significant amount of immigration into New Zealand allowed. 'We are trying to balance how to make sure we have the right skills set that comes via immigration, whilst also being able to provide those who call New Zealand home with a decent standard of living.' Jacinda Arden quoted on the 31st October 2017.

Another election promise was that Labour would only issue stuent visas for undergraduate degrees if they were assessed by NZQA and TEC (Tertiary Education Commission).

Visa to Emigrate

You will need either a reisident visa or a work visa. There are various types of work visas:

  • Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa

  • Essential Skills Work Visa

  • Specific Purpose Work Visa

  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa

  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Resident Visa

  • Post Study Work Visa - Employer Assisted

  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa

  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa

  • Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Resident Visa

  • Partner of a Student Work Visa

  • Business Visitor Visa

  • Post Study Work Visa - Open

  • Partner of a Worker Work Visa

  • Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa


Check the website of the government department which regulates your profession/industry, whether your qualifications need to be accredited. So, for example, check the law society's website if you are a lawyer. Click through to this page to check whether you are required to be registered for your occupation.

Registration is not required for accountants, engineers, plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers.

Registration is required for architects, barristers, cable jointers, cadastral surveyors, chiropractors, clinical psychologists, educational psychologists, clinical dental technicians, clinical dental therapists, dental hygienists, dental technicians, dental therapists, dentists, dietitians, dispensing opticians, electrical service technicians, electricians, enrolled nurses, insurance advisers, financial advisers, line mechanics, medical laboratory scientists, medical laboratory technicians, medical practitioners, medical radiation technologists, midwives, nurses, occupational therapists, optometrists, osteopaths, pharmacists, physiotherapists, plumber/gasfitters (sanitary work only), podiatrists, psychologists, real estate agents, solicitors, teachers, veterinarians, veterinary surgeons and psychotherapists.

Online Application

Most visa applications can be done online, and it's often cheaper to do it that way.

Personal Assistance

Whilst everything can be done yourself, sometimes one needs a bit of help.

Your first port of call is to visit the knowledge bank and its FAQs.

You can phone New Zealand Immgration and ask your question at +64 9 914 4100; or send an online query here.

If you do require personal advice from somebody, make sure that person is properly licensed. Click here to check whether your advisor is licensed. There are some categories of advisors who are exempt from being licensed, e.g.: lawyers with a New Zealand practice certificate, government employees whose day to day job involves giving immigration advice and, education agents who are restricted to advising on student visas.

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