Dreaming of a life in New Zealand? Navigating the visa process can be tricky, but this article will help you decide if going it alone is right for you.

Before you dive in to a DIY visa application, it’s helpful to know the challenges you might face along the way. From confusing forms to tricky requirements, navigating the visa process solo can be daunting. In this article, we’ll explore the pitfalls of going the DIY route and why having a guide by your side can make all the difference.

Unsure if you qualify?

It’s hard to know if you’re eligible for a New Zealand visa when you’re doing it yourself. Since visa instructions can be very confusing, your eligibility for a visa is not always clear.  And the devil is in the detail; it is often the small print that will determine whether or not you meet the eligibility criteria. Without the help of a Licensed Immigration Adviser, it’s easy to feel unsure about meeting the requirements, which can add stress (and risk) to the process. We offer a free Eligibility Assessment which can help point you in the right direction, and give you the confidence to take the next step.

Complexity of application forms

The application forms for New Zealand visas can contain confusing or ambiguous questions, making it challenging for you to be confident you are providing accurate and complete information. And if you misunderstand a critical question in the form, it could potentially jeopardise your application being approved. Without clear guidance, it can be easy to get stuck.

Document requirements and quantity

One of the most daunting aspects of applying for a New Zealand visa is pulling the necessary documentation. From proof of identity to evidence of your partnership or finances, the list of required documents can seem endless. It can feel overwhelming trying to gather the correct documents in the required format and quantity. And leaving out a critical document could increase the likelihood of your application being delayed or declined.

Submission process

Applying for your visa online can be tricky.  From creating an online account to uploading documents and paying fees, each step comes with its own set of challenges. And, in addition to this, applications for certain New Zealand visas must still be submitted in the paper format only, which throws in a different process and different requirements for supporting documents. A failed visa lodgement can be both time-consuming and costly, and using the services of a Licensed Adviser can help avoid making these mistakes.

Need answers?

One of the biggest frustrations if you are applying for a visa yourself, is where to go if you have any questions. And how do you get an answer from Immigration New Zealand (INZ) when you can’t get through on their phone lines.

The INZ website does have a good selection of visa guides and FAQs. However, this may not answer your specific question. And advice from the internet and social media, if not provided by a licensed immigration, could both be inaccurate and illegal.

Through working with a Licensed Immigration Adviser, you have direct access to their expertise, and will also benefit indirectly from their resources and their contacts within INZ. Having your questions, both big and small, answered from a professional, takes away this stress and anxiety.

The Waiting Game

Once your application has been submitted, the waiting game begins, and the uncertainty of not knowing the status of your application can feel agonizing. INZ have introduced an online “status” for some visa applications that are submitted through their enhanced immigration system (such as the Accredited Employer Work Visa), but this only provides you with a top line steer. And it is not currently available for the majority of visa types.

If you use a Licensed Adviser, you get the reassurance of having regular updates on the status of your application (even it is to confirm your application is sitting in a queue and give you a steer on how long you could be waiting). And your adviser will be able to find out more information on progress, once your visa is allocated for processing.

More information needed? Now what?

So, you’ve applied for your visa, and then they ask for more info. Or they hit you with a Potentially Prejudicial Information (PPI) request. What do you do next? If you are navigating this process alone, knowing how to respond effectively can be a daunting task. Without the guidance of a licensed immigration adviser, it can be difficult to provide all the necessary information, within the deadline given, potentially jeopardizing your chances of success. It’s at this stage that many DIY applicants reach out for help, and may wish that they had done sooner.

Understanding the Immigration Rules

Immigration policies are always changing and can be difficult for to navigate without expert guidance. From changes in eligibility criteria to updates in visa processing procedures, staying up to date can be tricky. And the speed at which immigration changes are introduced, can throw you off course, mid-application. Licensed Immigration Advisers will be made aware of any changes in policies and procedures, and will have all the latest instructions to hand after any change has been made.

Time Management and Deadlines

Time is of the essence when applying for a New Zealand visa, and effective time management is crucial to ensuring a smooth and successful application process. You need to be on top of when to obtain certain documents, such as Police and Medical Certificates, overall processing times, INZ deadlines to submit applications or provide further information, and make sure all of this aligns with your broader plans to move to New Zealand. If juggling the deadlines is keeping you up at night, it might be time to enlist the services of a Licensed Immigration Adviser

Legal Risks and Consequences

Perhaps the most serious pitfall of DIY visa applications is the risk of legal repercussions. Without a good understanding of immigration laws and regulations, you may accidentally make a mistake that could have serious consequences. The risks are high, from a declined visa to future application bans.

Benefits of Using a Licensed Immigration Adviser

If the thought of going it alone with your visa application is giving you sleepless nights, then using a Licensed Immigration Adviser, such as myself, could ultimately:


My client, Charlotte, had to convince her partner to use the services a Licensed immigration adviser for their New Zealand Partner Visa application, but her testimonial demonstrates the value this delivered for them:

“Before we started working with Nicola, getting a visa for my partner felt like an impossible and hopeless task. My partner was sceptical at first about paying someone for this type of help and now he doesn’t stop telling me how right I was to reach out to her (much to my delight). Nicola listened to all our concerns, helped us find the right visa to apply for and guided us through every step.

She was incredibly organised, answered all of our questions promptly and would always make time to schedule a call with us which was always followed by a detailed email explaining our next steps.

Nicola made something that felt so impossible a lot more attainable and easy. I’ve been singing her praises to all of our family and friends and we already know that we’re going to contact her again when we apply for residency. I can’t speak more highly of her services. I really have no idea how we would have made it through this process without her.”

DIY? Use an Adviser? Or a mix of both?

Knowing the challenges can help you prepare for your DIY New Zealand visa application. But if you are feeling unsure, having someone to help you along the way can make the process a lot smoother!


If you would like any help your visa application, get in touch today and I would be happy to go on this journey with you.

Ready to take the next step? Fill out our free Eligibility Assessment form today!


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