Assessing travel and visa obligations in New Zealand

When traveling to New Zealand, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if you require work authorization. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.

Traveling for business

What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?

As a business visitor to New Zealand, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:

  • Attend business meetings
  • Negotiate and discuss the setup, expansion, or establishment of a business in New Zealand
  • Sell or buy goods and services in New Zealand
  • Carry out any business with the authorized representatives of an overseas company, body or person


If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for New Zealand?

While nationals of the European Union, the United States, and many other select countries are eligible to travel to New Zealand on visa-waivered status, they must generally obtain a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) prior to entry. Additionally, they must obtain a visa waiver visitor visa upon arrival in order to enter New Zealand for the purpose of performing ordinary business activities on a short-term basis.

Foreign nationals who are not eligible for a visa waiver must obtain a Business Visitor Visa prior to travel from Immigration New Zealand either online or from a Visa Application Centre. Please consult with your immigration counsel before traveling to determine your eligibility for a visa waiver or business visitor visa.

Working in New Zealand

What types of activities require work authorization?

The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under New Zealand law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in New Zealand, even if conducted for a short duration.

  • Hands-on technical work
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Auditing


If I am traveling to New Zealand for work, what type of work authorization do I need?

The requirements for work authorization depend on your qualifications, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in New Zealand. The most common types of work authorization for New Zealand are:

  • Specific Purpose Work Visa – Short-Term (work authorization for specialists working on a specific project or event for a limited duration and business visitors requiring a longer period of stay)
  • Specific Purpose Work Visa – Long-Term (work authorization for specialists working on a specific project or event and senior/specialist intra-corporate transferees and secondments)
  • Accredited Employer Work Visa


Is it possible to be exempted from work authorization requirements?

Australian nationals and permanent residents are not required to obtain work authorization in order to work in New Zealand. However, registrations or other formalities may be required prior to working or residing in New Zealand.

What else should I know?

Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.


Copyright ©2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.