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Queenstown, New Zealand

It’s no surprise that so many people want to move to New Zealand. When you also consider the beautiful beaches, the stunning scenery, the wide open spaces and the laid-back lifestyle its appeal is clearly apparent. A move to New Zealand, however, is not a minor undertaking. Which is why you should create a moving to New Zealand checklist to get you started. Below you’ll find key facts and considerations for your move and some useful websites too to help you get started.

Visa requirements

Step one on your New Zealand checklist is to get your visa sorted! We recommend that you start the visa process as soon as possible. Even if you haven’t decided exactly where you’re going to be living. In some cases it can take up to a year or more to gain approval so you need to think long term.

Residence visas can be challenging to apply for, but allow you to live in New Zealand indefinitely. They are given on a points based system where you’ll be need to be categorised as a ‘skilled migrant’, based on several factors, including but not limited to work experience, qualifications and whether you have a job offer of skilled employment.

If you need to start work in New Zealand sooner, then there are several different categories of Work Visa available. You may be able to include all members of the family on your application, as visas are available for accompanying partners and children.

There are also visas options if you’re planning on retiring to or investing in New Zealand. Depending on the length and type of your visa, you may be entitled to access to publicly funded healthcare and education for children. It’s a good idea to consider this when you’re thinking about the best visa pathway for you.

We recommend you seek professional advice to ensure you apply for the visa which best meets your needs, considering both present and future implications. Relocating is a big investment, both personally and financially, so it makes sense to take a vested interest in such an important part of the process. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you can’t continue to stay in New Zealand because you didn’t take the right steps.

It’s important to be aware that there are very strict requirements when it comes to providing immigration advice for New Zealand. Advisers have to be fully licensed in order to provide any advice, which is a great way to protect your interests. Crown do have fully licensed advisers available to support you, so speak with a Mobility Adviser if you’d like some further information.

Money and Taxes

It’s a good idea to add open a bank account before you leave to your New Zealand checklist and you can do this up to a year before you intent to arrive in your new country.

The main banks are ANZ, Bank of New Zealand, ASB, Kiwibank & Westpac.

If you’re earning an income in New Zealand, you will need to apply for an IRD number. As a resident, you’ll pay tax in New Zealand on your ‘source based income’ e.g. on your employment  and also on your worldwide income such as rental income, foreign pensions or interest from an offshore bank account. The UK does have a double tax agreement with New Zealand so investigate this to make sure you’re not paying tax twice.


The Kiwis are a friendly nation so children from overseas are usually offered a warm welcome at school and settle in quickly. Of course, the fact there is no language barrier also helps.

School attendance is compulsory from ages 6-16. As is the norm in the Southern hemisphere, the school year runs from late-January to mid-December with four terms a year. Your children need to hold a valid student visa to get access to free public schools. Another option is to explore private or state integrated schools (state integrated schools are only partially funded, as such are allowed a special character, ie: religious teachings or similar).  There are no traditional ‘international schools’ in New Zealand. There are a very small selection of schools which offer IB or Cambridge.

Transit and packing considerations

As you work through your New Zealand checklist make sure you’ve got the right visa for your proposed plans. You cannot ship your household belongings on a tourist visa and if a shipment doesn’t have a visa with it, there’s the possibility the whole consignment could get pulled at customs and returned, proving both timely and costly.

Many clients opt for groupage shipping (where your belongings are in a shared consignment) as this works out more cost effective. In these circumstances we’ll ship the container to Auckland or Wellington, unload your goods and send them by truck to the final destination.

Your move manager will be able to discuss with you what you need to consider for customs based on the items being shipped. Alternatively you can visit for Customs and for agricultural entry requirements.

They take these very seriously and you’ll risk your belongings being refused at customs if you don’t adhere to them. For example, any items that have been in contact with open British water such as fishing rods and surf boards must be declared on your inventory. They need to be packed last so they can be easily inspected. Always declare anything you’re in doubt over to avoid local charges.


The New Zealand public health care system operates at a high level. Funded through general taxation, New Zealand residents are eligible for free hospital-based care, emergency treatment and standard medical tests. A selection of children’s immunisations, prescription medications,visits to the doctor and ambulance services are also subsidised. Visits to the doctor for children under 6 are usually free.

In order to access these public healthcare services, expats must have a work visa for a minimum of 24 months or hold a residence visa. For your peace of mind it’s also a good idea to take out some private health insurance. This is cheaper than in many other destinations around the world.

Useful websites 

General guide to living, working and moving to New Zealand by New Zealand Immigration

Time Difference: +13 hours Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

Currency – New Zealand Dollar

Country dial code –  +64



Details here on the most popular banks


Income Tax:


Utility Providers:

Mercury Energy, Trust power, Genesis Energy & Contact Energy are some of the most popular providers. These are electricity only? We do have the phone and internet in NZ too

Completed our moving to New Zealand checklist and ready for next steps? Check out the rest of our New Zealand tips now.

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