Overview of UK Visa For New Zealand Citizens
The United Kingdom has always been a popular destination for New Zealanders to travel to. There were over 59,000 New Zealand-born residents registered in the 2015 UK census, and many more have flocked to the UK since then to take advantage of its cosmopolitan cities and stunning scenery.
The strong ties between the two countries are well-known, with both the UK and New Zealand being said to share a similar sense of humour and approach to life. Both countries also share a common language and similar governmental systems, as well as a strong political link through the Commonwealth of Nations.
However, even with the shared similarities, the UK’s proximity to Europe and highly diverse international culture still provide a fresh and exciting prospect for New Zealanders looking to start a new life abroad.
It’s therefore no surprise that many New Zealanders single out the UK as one of the top destinations in the world to visit and emigrate to.
If you’re a New Zealander looking to up sticks and emigrate to the UK, there are a range of visas and immigration routes available to you, including the highly sought-after Ancestry visa. Whatever your preferred route will be to moving to the UK, IAS can help and advise you every step of the way.
UK Ancestry Visas for New Zealanders
One of the most coveted and desirable routes to UK permanent residency for New Zealanders is the Ancestry visa.
This is a special type of visa only available to a small select group of countries, including Commonwealth and British Overseas countries, as well as British Overseas territories.
The most important criteria for the Ancestry visa is proving that one of your grandparents was born in one of the following circumstances:
- In the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
- Before 31 March 1922 in what is now Ireland
- On a ship or aircraft that was either registered in the UK or belonged to the UK government
You must also prove that you intend to work in the UK, and that you meet the minimum financial requirements.
It’s thought that around 80% of New Zealanders have some form of British ancestry, which means that the Ancestry visa may be an accessible and appealing route for many New Zealanders who wish to relocate to the UK.
The Ancestry visa allows you to live and work in the UK for up to 5 years, after which you can extend your visa or apply for permanent settlement, which is known as indefinite leave to remain.
UK Family Visas for New Zealanders
It may be the case that you already have close family who are residents or citizens of the UK. In this case, you may wish to apply for a Family visa in order to travel to the UK and join them.
The Family visa typically allows you to stay in the UK for around 2 to 3 years initially, after which it can be extended.
The eligible family members you can travel to the UK to join include your:
- Spouse or partner
- Fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
- Relative who’ll provide long-term care for you
Note that you cannot apply for a family visa if your family member is in the UK temporarily on a student or a work visa.
As part of the application process, you’ll have to give a range of proof and evidence to demonstrate that you’re eligible for the visa. This will vary based on which family member you’ll be joining when you move to the UK.
Depending on your circumstances, you may either apply from within or outside of the UK.
UK Work Visas For New Zealanders
If you’re not eligible for the Ancestry or Family visa or simply wish to explore a different route to British residency, you may be eligible for one of the UK’s work visas.
The most popular of these is the Skilled Worker visa. This is a route to permanent residency that allows workers in eligible professions to come and live in the UK for an initial period of up to 5 years (although this can be extended). It covers a wide range of jobs, from business, manufacturing, healthcare, science, arts and more.
Skilled workers must have a valid job offer from an approved UK-based company to be eligible, and also meet the minimum salary and language requirements.
Also available are the Start-Up visas and Innovator visas. These are visas that require an endorsement from a UK higher education institution or a UK business, and are aimed at those who wish to set up a new, innovative business in the UK.
Note that only the Innovator visa allows you to eventually apply for permanent settlement in the UK, although you may switch to it from the Start-Up visa or another eligible visa once you’re in the UK.
How Can IAS Help?
Moving away from your home to a new country is always a daunting one. While the UK may be more popular than other countries for New Zealanders to move to, UK visa requirements and entry requirements can sometimes be complicated and difficult to navigate.
For any questions or queries about moving beyond New Zealand’s borders and starting a new life abroad in the UK, IAS can help.
We are dedicated immigration law professionals committed to helping individuals like yourself successfully apply for a UK visa and achieve your goal of emigrating. Whether you’re looking to emigrate with an Ancestry visa, to join family, or for work, we can help you apply for a visa that fits your needs and anything else you might need to make the relocation process a success.
We can assist you remotely throughout the process of applying for your visa from New Zealand, helping you with your application and supporting documents while also providing you with all the tools and knowledge you need to keep the international move from New Zealand to the UK stress-free.
We can also help you apply for a short-term visitor visa if you’d like to visit the UK first before committing to a move, and also help you track your visa status for whichever visa you’ve applied for.
Last modified on February 15th, 2023 at 10:14 am
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London is by far the most popular destination for New Zealanders to move to in the UK, with Acton, Hammersmith and Brondesbury being home to large and notable New Zealander communities.
There also exist a range of groups, societies and organisations dedicated to the New Zealander community in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, such as The New Zealand Society, the Ngati Ranana London Maori Club and the New Zealand Women’s Association.
A full list of these groups can be found on the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s page on clubs and associations.
In most cases, you will have to apply for a visa online through the Gov.uk website. Often, you will also need to do this before you travel to the UK to ensure that you have valid entry clearance.
You’ll usually have to provide a range of proof and supporting documentation to demonstrate that you meet the minimum criteria for the visa you’re applying for, such as proving you have enough funds or that you have the right kind of sponsorship.
You may also have to attend a local visa application centre in order to give your biometrics information in the form of your fingerprints and a photograph. This information will be necessary to issue your UK biometric residence permit.
There are four main UK visa application centres in New Zealand: two in Auckland, and one each in Christchurch and Wellington.
Note that if you have any specific questions or requests for your visa application, these should always be directed to UK Visas and Immigration or your travel agent, rather than the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Immigration New Zealand.
After you spend a total of 5 years in the UK on a valid visa, you will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
After 12 months of living in the UK with indefinite leave to remain, you will then be eligible to apply for British citizenship.
UK citizens are able to stay and work in the UK permanently, as well as travel in and out of the UK without being subject to any immigration restrictions or control.
To apply for citizenship, you’ll need to take the Life in the UK Test and also demonstrate that you are of ‘good character’, which means not having a criminal record or any previous immigration issues, amongst other things.
Citizens of New Zealand are able to hold dual citizenship, which means that you can safely obtain British citizenship without having to renounce your New Zealander citizenship or New Zealander passport.
You will be able to access the UK’s National Health Service if you’re on a visa that allows you to stay for more than 6 months in the UK.
However, you will first have to pay an annual immigration health surcharge to do so.
The immigration health surcharge is £624 a year.
You will no longer have to pay the immigration health surcharge when you apply for indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship.
The electronic visa waiver (EVW) programme allows citizens of certain foreign countries to visit the UK for up to 6 months without a visa.
Unfortunately, New Zealand is not a part of the EVW programme, so you will need to apply for a visitor visa if you wish to visit the UK for less than 6 months.
The following countries are a part of the EVW programme:
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates