9 Things to Do Before You Move to New Zealand


Let’s say you’ve decided to move to New Zealand and you’re thinking, “Where the heck do I even start?”


It’s a big decision and includes a lot of moving parts, but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated, believe it or not.


If you follow the steps below, you’ll have a framework to start planning and coordinating your relocation to New Zealand.  It’s as easy as that!


While some of these steps may seem tedious and the time until your move may feel super distant, keep your head up and stay focused on your goal.  Time will fly by, and before you know it, you’ll be packing your bags, jumping on that plane, and getting ready for the adventure of a lifetime.


Plus, if you’re planning your move during the pandemic, what better thing to stay focused on than a chapter in the land of the Kiwis when this whole thing blows over!


Let’s get into it!


1. Decide When You Want to Move (Specific Year, Time of Year, and Month...If You Can)


Of course with the pandemic still raging on around the world (we’re over you, COVID), planning the timing of your relocation may be difficult.  You can, however, roughly estimate how soon you’d like to move in the next year or two...or five...depending on where you’re at in your life.


Be open to a flexible departure date, but stay focused on the task at hand...planning your relocation.


Let’s say you decide winter 2022 is the right year for you (I’m referring to the Northern Hemisphere’s winter in this example, by the way).  It gives you just over a year and a half to plan, prepare, save, coordinate, and organize.


If you can pin down the year and the season you’d like to aim for a relocation (even the month for bonus points), that’ll help with other details of your move such as what to expect when you arrive in New Zealand.



For example, if you’re a summer baby and love warm weather, consider leaving home just before your winter to arrive for a New Zealand summer (again, looking at you Northern Hemisphere).  Back-to-back summers are awesome if you love water activities, backyard BBQs, and warm-weather hikes.


If you’re a snowbum, plan your move around a New Zealand winter.  Having winter after winter will be ace if you love hitting the slopes with mates.


If you have no idea what time of year you want to move, consider what you have going on in your life and how long it may take to close the current chapter you’re in and give yourself plenty of time to do so.


You can’t really get it wrong on the New Zealand end, so don’t stress too much about the time of year.  Just pick what feels right and start preparing.


2. Ensure Your Passport is Renewed for At Least Two Years From When You Would Arrive in New Zealand


Once you have a rough estimate for your departure date, it’s time to check out your passport.


First of all, do you have one?  Second, if you do, is it valid?


If you don’t have a passport or it’s expired or it’s close to expiring, it’s time to get a new one, my friend.


Follow your country’s steps to getting a new passport and get that application in right away.  Momentum here will absolutely help you maintain progress with this process (try saying that five times fast), so get this part done ASAP.



If you already have a valid passport, check the expiration date.  We recommend that you have at least two years of validity past the date you’d arrive in New Zealand.


Renewing your passport once you’re in New Zealand is typically fine, but it’ll be a lot less hassle to get it renewed now than later on when you’re living overseas.


3. Pick a Visa & Apply (If You Can)


Once you’ve dusted off your passport or received your new one in the mail, you’ll need to find the right visa for you.


There are loads of different visa options available, so head to Immigration New Zealand’s website and narrow down your choices.



Follow the prompts on their website to see which visa options match with your education goals, experience, qualifications, life situation, or family connections.


If none of the visas seem to work for you, reach out to us at [email protected] and we can connect you with one of our immigration advisors to discuss your options further.


Once you know what visa works best for you, get going on that application!  It may be a quick and easy application or it may take gathering a few things before applying (i.e. chest X-ray, background check, etc.).


If the visa you want is temporarily closed due to COVID (thanks again, pandemic, for all of your help here 🙄), don’t worry.  You can apply at a later date when border openings are looking more promising, so keep that hope alive!


4. Figure Out Where You Want to Live


This step is optional to do before you move to New Zealand or once you arrive.


Some people will want to know exactly where they’re moving to before they even step on the plane.  Others may be open to exploring the country before making the decision on where to live.


Whatever you prefer, commit to it.



You may pick a location based on the lifestyle, or you may decide on a spot depending on a job or school you’re pursuing.


You can also commit to road-tripping around the country and seeing the different towns and cities before you choose to settle in.


You do you, friend!


5. Decide If You Want a Job Ahead of Time (If So, Find One; If Not, Wing It)


For those of you who want to come to New Zealand to work, you generally have two options:


  1. Search for a job from where you are now, interview over Zoom, and accept an offer once you receive one.
  2. Fly to New Zealand, see what’s available in the city or town you’re hoping to move to, and pursue a job from there.



Sometimes you just don’t know what’s available until you’re on the ground.


Other times, you may want to have it sorted so it’s one less thing to have to worry about.


You may easily be able to transfer over your profession or you might want to change industries all together.


Think about what you want your next chapter to look like and create an employment plan from there.


If you have ages before you’re planning to move, you might be able to save up a bunch of money to coast for a while without working.


It all depends on what you want!


6. Start Saving ($$$!!!)


Whether you’re moving in a month, in a year, or in three years, you’ll need to start saving some money (if you haven’t already).


Some New Zealand visas require you to have a certain amount of cash in your bank account when you arrive to ensure you can manage living here for a while.  Be sure to check your visa stipulations around this detail.



New Zealand is all about adventuring and if you’re the living-paycheck-to-paycheck type of person (no judgment whatsoever!), you’ll want to have some cushion so you can really explore what New Zealand has to offer without stressing about money.


Plus, when you arrive, if you want to rent an apartment/house/flat, you’ll need money for a bond (also known as a deposit in the States).


Or, if you want to buy a car, you’ll need funds for that, too.


Coming with some extra money behind you will help with relocation expenses so you’re not caught with a low bank account and unable to fulfil the basics.



7. Create a Plan to End Your Current Chapter


While this might seem obvious, some people forget to consider the timing on this one.


Leaving your current job, finishing your degree, ending the lease or selling your car, house, or apartment, ending your phone plan, and saying goodbye to friends and family all takes time.


Plan out how long you think you might need for each one and work it around your departure date or vice versa.


Your upcoming adventure in New Zealand is going to be super exciting, but rushing out of the current chapter you’re in (no matter how much you may hate your boss) will feel so much better when you do it right.

Take your time, say your goodbyes, and tie up all of the loose ends that you can.


8. Start Counting Down the Months/Days


Now for the best part!


Start counting down the months and days until your departure (at least to the best of your planning ability).



We recommend downloading the Countdown app so you can have something fun to remind you how close you’re getting to your move to New Zealand!


You can even set the background as a photo of New Zealand to remind you of the adventure ahead.


Keeping track of how much time you have left before your departure will help you gauge how quickly you need to get everything done before you relocate.


9. Keep Us Posted!


Moving to New Zealand is what we’re all about.


We want to know how you’re doing with the process every step of the way!


Be sure to email us with updates, message us on Facebook or Instagram, or reach out with any questions you may have as you prepare for this adventure.


You’re about to embark on one of the greatest adventures of your life and we'd love for you to take us along on the ride!


We’ll be the best cheerleaders you’ve ever had.  That's a promise.


Be sure to follow and tag us on Instagram: @thekiwi.kit and email us any time at [email protected].


And, if you want more detailed step-by-step guidance with your relocation, be sure to jump on our waiting list for the Zero to Zealand program by clicking the image of the kea bird down below.


By the way, Zero to Zealand™ is launching in just a few short weeks.  Eeek!  Get ready!


We are here to help and we are here to #makeNewZealandhappen, so let’s get planning, adventurer!


Love always, The Kiwi Kit Team