Live Permanently In New Zealand
A residence is distinct from a permanent abode. Generally, a Resident Visa results in a Permanent Resident Visa. Resident Visas contain travel restrictions that restrict an individual's ability to re-enter New Zealand as a resident until a certain date, but a Permanent Resident Visa permits an individual to re-enter New Zealand indefinitely (providing the passport is valid).
Your resident visa expires on one of the following dates:
the day you departed New Zealand, if your travel documents had already expired at the time of departure, or
the day after the expiration date of your travel conditions, if you were not in New Zealand at the time your travel conditions expired.
As a result, if you left New Zealand after your travel conditions expired, your resident visa lapsed as well.
If you want to travel outside of New Zealand after the travel restrictions of your resident visa have expired, you must apply for a permanent resident visa or a subsequent resident visa in order to recover your resident status.
Is it possible for me to get Permanent Residence?
To be eligible, you must have had a resident visa for at least two years, have complied with any conditions imposed by your Resident Visa, and have shown a commitment to New Zealand via one of the following criteria:
You've spent an adequate amount of time in New Zealand.
You have tax residency in New Zealand.
You've made a significant investment in New Zealand.
You own a business in New Zealand.
You've made yourself a presence in New Zealand.
If you do not match one of these criteria, you may still be eligible to have your Resident Visa's travel restrictions extended. This would enable you to return to New Zealand as a resident for an extended period of time.
If you are outside New Zealand and do not have acceptable travel conditions to re-enter as a resident, your Resident Visa has expired. However, in rare circumstances, if you have not been outside of New Zealand for an extended period of time, it may be feasible to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa or a new Resident Visa.
Can I apply for Permanent Residence directly?
In the great majority of circumstances, you will first need to apply for residency via one of the various channels (the Skilled Migrant points system, a partner in New Zealand, or obtaining work, for example).