Extend Working Holiday Visa New Zealand (NZ)

Can’t get enough of New Zealand? This post is for you. How to extend your current New Zealand working holiday visa. Or at least how we did ours.

Or maybe, you missed the working holiday visa but still want to visit New Zealand?

Try applying for the New Zealand visitor visa (we’ll show you how to write a bona fide too!) instead.

Nugget Point Lighthouse in South Island, New Zealand - We got to visit this place only because we managed to extend our working holiday visa in New Zealand. Find out how you can do the same on www.travelswithsun.com
Nugget Point Lighthouse in South Island, New Zealand – We got to visit this place only because we managed to extend our working holiday visa in New Zealand. Find out how you can do the same on www.travelswithsun.com

Note that our home country is Malaysia but the extension process may be similar if you’re from another country. No guarantee so you better check the rules online first.

Table of contents

To start with, you need these:

Documents for the working holiday visa extension

  1. Passport
  2. Passport photo (recent, grey background and complying with the rules listed on the immigration website)
  3. The extension form (print out from the immigration website). The one we used was called “SSE/WHE Work Visa Application (INZ 1153)”. You don’t need to fill out section C if you already have a working holiday visa.
  4. 13 weeks’ worth of payslips (we put 14 to be on the safe side) of agriculture or horticulture work. They don’t necessarily have to be from the same employer/company but they must involve vegetables or fruits somehow. For us, it was capsicum planting in a greenhouse.
  5. Bank statement (to show you have enough funds to purchase a flight ticket back home)
  6. A courier envelope from the post office.
  7. Your card details, a cheque or some other form of payment method to pay the immigration processing fee of $245.
  8. Depending on which island you are applying from, the address of the respective office. We applied from South Island so we sent our documents to the Christchurch office. For North Island, we heard from friends that the Wellington office is fast.
  9. A fixed address so that the immigration office can post your documents back. You can also collect them from the office.

Something to note:

What is a New Zealand Business Number?

In the extension form, you are required to put in your previous employer’s details. One of these is something called the New Zealand Business Number. You can get this number online or ask your employer.

How many hours of agricultural/ horticultural work do you need for the New Zealand working holiday visa extension?

It is sufficient to make sure that you have at least 5 days of work in your 13 week’s payslips. To avoid further delays in the approval process, take 14 weeks.

Understandably, if you’re working at a kiwi farm (or similar) and the season is approaching the end, you will not have work for up to two weeks sometimes.

In this case, don’t fret:

The payslips need not be consecutive (i.e. week to week)

Don’t have a fixed address?

Alternative address to extend Working Holiday visa NZ

We didn’t either when we applied for the extension.

Instead, we used the address of a holiday park owner who kindly accepted our request to use her address. Our other friends in South Island were still looking for jobs and rooms so we couldn’t send it to them.

Below is a photo from the region we were currently exploring at the time of our working holiday visa extension application process.

Rocky terrain of the Clutha district in South Island, New Zealand - We got to visit this place only because we managed to extend our working holiday visa in New Zealand. Find out how you can do the same on www.travelswithsun.com
Rocky terrain of the Clutha district in South Island, New Zealand

How much is this going to cost you?

Cost of extending the New Zealand working holiday visa

We sent our documents (and passport) off to the office in Christchurch on 27 Aug, 2018 and received approval 8 working days later. We were charged the $208 early on (now $245), however. And the tracking status of our package stated received within 1 working day.

Note: You need to pay a couple more NZD if you want tracking, signature or courier service on top of the envelope fee. Ours came up to $9 NZD when we purchased from a PaperPlus outlet in Alexandra town in the Clutha district, South Island of New Zealand. The prices may vary slightly elsewhere.

Stirling point in South Island, New Zealand - We got to visit this place only because we managed to extend our working holiday visa in New Zealand. Find out how you can do the same on www.travelswithsun.com
Stirling point in South Island, New Zealand – We got to visit this place only because we managed to extend our working holiday visa in New Zealand. Find out how you can do the same on www.travelswithsun.com

Read also: The must-have app for vanlife in New Zealand, CamperMate – here’s a guide on how to make the most of it

What happens after your submission?

A tracking code was sent to us via email too so we could check the status of the delivery on the nzcouriers website. It appears our documents were sent to the Wellington office anyways because the tracking history shows that the starting point was in Wellington.

Update (2 Oct, 2018): We got our documents back on 17 Sept, 2018. It was kept for a month at a local post office until we could collect it ourselves. If you don’t collect it after a month, it will be sent back to the immigration office.

Where to send your application – Immigration addresses in New Zealand

Here are the address you can send your documents to, depending on your current location:

Immigration New Zealand
PO Box 22111
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Immigration New Zealand
P.O Box 76895
Manukau City
Auckland 2241
New Zealand

Immigration New Zealand
PO Box 1049
Palmerston North Central
Palmerston North 4440
New Zealand

Immigration New Zealand
P O Box 50728
Porirua 5240
New Zealand

What if it doesn’t get approved in time?

Processing times (actual) for the Working Holiday Visa Extension in New Zealand

The processing times on the immigration website lists approximately 21-28 days (assuming working days) before the visa extension is approved (or rejected).

If they do not process your application within that period, they may issue out a temporary visa for you while you wait.

Again, for us, our visa extension request was approved in 8 working days.

Where can you check the status?

The status is shown on your home page after log in to the immigration website (Yes, you need to register on the website first).

From what we heard from our other Malaysian friends, the processing times seem to vary according to which immigration office you send your extension application to.

Auckland – 2 weeks up to a month

Wellington (Porirua) – 1 week

Christchurch – 8 working days

In the meantime:
It’s quite a challenge to find an employer who’s willing to hire someone when their working holiday visa is about to expire so you could look for the short term jobs or travel instead.

Piha black sand beach - a must visit in Auckland, New Zealand - more on www.travelswithsun.com
Piha black sand beach – a must visit in Auckland, New Zealand

Here’s some ideas on where to go:

  1. North to South island – here’s a 1 month itinerary you can follow for your New Zealand trip
  2. Explore the Coromandel peninsula, North Island
  3. Tongariro, North Island – what you need to know about the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
  4. Places near Auckland and things you can do there
  5. More places to visit in Fiordland (and on a budget too!)

If all goes well, you should have your extra 3 months approved. =D

Need a rain and windproof jacket to serve your time in New Zealand, regardless of the weather? We recommend the Uniqlo Blocktech Parka – see our review here.

When 3 months is still not enough:

Further extension of your stay in New Zealand

Then, get out of New Zealand for a while after your working visa expires. Some of our friends choose either Australia or Fiji.

And apply back with the visitor waiver visa (For Malaysia, you get 3 months).

Notes:

  • With the visitor visa, you cannot work. Even for food or accommodation. But you can study, if you want.
  • Updated (25 June, 2019): Effective 1 October, 2019 – If your country is in the list of 60 waiver countries, or if you are permanent Australian resident, you will have to pay for an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) to enter the New Zealand. And that applies to Malaysia! More details in our NZ visitor visa post.

If that’s still not enough:
Then, apply for the New Zealand visitor visa (for real using a bona fide letter).

Conclusion

It’s quite a leap to go to another country – in this case, New Zealand –  for a working holiday. So you may as well stay longer. Why wouldn’t you want to anyways? There’s so much to see in New Zealand. Keep this guide for further reference. We had many questions ourselves during our own working holiday in New Zealand and we used that experience to come up with this guide.

How long do you plan to stay in New Zealand? And which country are you from? Leave a comment below.

Lastly, pin this post so others can find it!

Extending your Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand - The full post is on www.travelswithsun.com
Extending your Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand – www.travelswithsun.com

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