Moving to New Zealand | Country Guides | I Love International Moving

Want to Become a Kiwi? Here’s a Complete Guide to Moving to New Zealand From the US

Posted Country Guides / November 6, 2013
Eva Johnson

Digital nomad born in New York but currently living online, Eva knows everything there is to know about packing and moving.

Have you ever wondered if there’s a place that could provide you with a slower pace of life, scenic views, excellent (and mostly free) healthcare, and a good education system? It might sound unreal and dream-like, but there is a land where dreams come true. Moving to New Zealand from the US is the right step in the process of changing your lifestyle and turning over a new leaf. If you’ve been considering the so-called Land of the Long White Cloud as your future home, you’ll be happy with what we have in store for you.

Get to Know the New Zealand Locals

Whether you’re hungry for a fresh start or want to settle down in a tranquil community with a stable government and economy, choosing this Pacific nation as your next home could be everything you’ve ever wanted. But the first step to becoming familiar with a foreign country is by getting to know the locals.

New Zealand locals are some of the most welcoming and friendly people you will ever meet. They are always willing to lend a helping hand, and they are always up for a good time. Whether they are hiking in the mountains, skiing down the slopes, or just enjoying a quiet night at home, New Zealand locals know how to have a good time.

As the indigenous people of the two main islands that make NZ, the Maori are an integral part of the country’s identity and tradition. According to Maori stories and legends, the creation of New Zealand is described in the legend of a demi-god, called Maui, who fished up the North Island. If you don’t know much about this nation’s history and culture, there are more than a few books and articles about its tradition and heritage.

Is There A Language Difference?

There is a language difference in New Zealand between the Maori language and English. The Maori language is unique to New Zealand and is one of the country’s official languages. It is estimated that around 125,000 people in New Zealand identify as Maori speakers, which means that the language is not commonly used outside of indigenous communities.

The Maori language is the de jure official language and can be used in legal settings. The language is experiencing a resurgence in popularity and there are now a number of initiatives in place to promote its use. But don’t worry about breaking the language barrier or learning a new language abroad – English is most widely spoken since it’s the official language.

What Makes it the Most Popular Destination Among Americans

If you’re curious as to why the land of Kiwis has recently become so popular among Americans, you should know it’s a place with exceptional living standards where everyone has guaranteed equal rights. It’s especially appealing to families with kids since its educational institutions rank third among the 50 leading countries, just behind Finland and Switzerland. In addition to the excellent quality of life, the cost of living is one of the crucial factors when it comes to relocating abroad for good. Compared to New York or Chicago, even NZ’s most expensive city, Auckland, seems more than affordable. And the cost of living in the capital, Wellington, is even lower.

Should New Zealand Be Your New Home?

If you feel like living among Kiwis could be a fantastic opportunity for a better life, don’t hesitate to relocate. The island will fascinate you with lots of amenities, a slower pace of life, low crime rates, and fairytale landscapes. On top of that, it’s packed with many festivals and cultural events – Balloons over Waikato and International Comedy Festival in Wellington are just a few picked from the number of happenings planned for 2020.

For some people, the allure of a new place is too great to resist, while others may be more hesitant to take the plunge. But before you dive deep into the adventure of relocating abroad, find top-notch international moving services and plan the whole project step by step. Research the country’s advantages and drawbacks (if there are any), and prepare for something very different from what you’re used to.

Preparatory Steps for Moving to New Zealand From the US

If you’re planning to move across the world and become a part of this nation, you should know that people are attracted to it not just because of outstanding living standards but also its friendly and welcoming communities. After applying for a visa, your chances of getting a green light are high rather than low. Since the economy is growing, the country is in demand for skilled workers. Before we narrow down the list of job positions that are highly wanted, you should know which visa options are available to you and what documents are necessary for a successful application.

Depending on your reasons for going abroad, you can choose between several visa options:

  • Skilled Migrant or Long Term Skill Shortage Paper – it’s perfect if you’ve already landed a job and plan to become a future resident.
  • Working holiday papers – ideal for younger people between 18 and 30 years.
  • Investment papers – designed for American citizens planning to invest at least $2 million.

Demand a Residence Permit – Applying Online

Most visitor, student, and work visas can be applied for online, which is often less expensive and faster than sending in a paper application form. One more advantage of applying online is getting the permit electronically, so you don’t have to send your passport.

However, you’ll still need several documents needed to travel abroad in the electronic file, such as:

  • Credit card
  • Copy of your passport
  • Proof of residence (if required)

In addition to these e-files, there are still many requirements you must meet for the island’s residence permit, which include:

  • Proof of character
  • Proof of overall good health
  • A financial cushion as your support in the foreign country and a primary source to pay for your return home
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There Are Plenty of Working Opportunities

To get a residence permit, you’re expected to have a job offer, but you should act quickly and apply for a visa at the right time. Deadlines are short and open only once a year. After gathering all the documents and applying for a visa, your next step should be figuring out how to get a job.

The most common sources for finding a job are job ad websites or the national program that connects foreign employees with New Zealand employers. There are many skills in demand here, so use that to your advantage in the process of applying for papers and finding the right job.

According to government statistics, NZ will need about 47,000 more workers per year in the upcoming period. The majority of positions are in the highly-skilled occupations, such as engineering, IT, and health. Moreover, workers with skills in construction, trade, and business services are wanted, too.

Should You Move Abroad If Your Work Skills Aren’t Related to Those on the Shortage Lists

There’s no reason to despair if your skills aren’t on the lists of wanted jobs, since you may still be able to obtain all the necessary permits. If you can get an offer for employee relocation, and your employer can successfully prove that the company can’t find the appropriate Kiwi worker for the required position, you can apply to acquire a work permit.

How to Stay Permanently in NZ?

If you’re looking for permanent residence, you should apply for the Long Term Skill Shortage permit. After 24 months of working in a position specified on the list of wanted occupations, you can apply for a permanent residence permit. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll become a citizen. With permanent status, you have almost the same rights as the island’s citizens, which includes:

  • Healthcare
  • Voting in local and national elections
  • Paying domestic fees for education

Is Living in New Zealand Safe?

Compared to many other parts of the world, this nation can boast much lower crime rates. According to the 2017 Global Peace Index, it ranked as the world’s second safest country, just after Iceland. Also, it was evaluated as the least corrupt nation in the world. This is a peaceful community with open-minded people who really believe that everyone is free to live the lifestyle they choose.

Why Is the Land of the Long White Cloud the Best Choice for Families With Kids

Due to a high level of safety, you can feel free to go out with your children and enjoy many amenities the community has to offer. As a family-friendly land, it’s the world’s second most desirable place for raising kids. The vast amount of green space offers young people easy access to outdoor and sports activities, such as running, swimming, riding, or walking. Of course, depending on your budget and lifestyle, you can choose the type of housing that suits you the best.

Looking Through Housing Options

Whether you prefer suburban homes with plenty of space inside and a spacious yard or you like spots by the seaside or a farm with animals in the countryside, NZ can meet your needs.

If you plan to rent a house, keep in mind that renting prices vary throughout the country. As expected, large urban centers such as Auckland and Wellington are the most expensive. For example, the national median weekly rent for a smaller house with 1-2 bedrooms is $260, and for 3-4 bedrooms, you’ll have to set aside $300 a week. Compared to Auckland’s median for 3-4 bedrooms, which is around $400, you can see the price variations depending on your home size and its location.

Is The Cost of Living Different?

Before you decide what to pack when moving abroad and how to move overseas, find out how expensive day-to-day life is. According to, the cost of living is the highest in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. If your family has four members, your estimated monthly expenses will be around $4,500. To help you calculate a viable budget, we have prepared the following list of expenses:

  • Monthly rent for 900 Sqft furnished apartment in an expensive area: $1,870
  • Monthly rent for 900 Sqft furnished apartment in an average area: $1,385
  • One month utilities for two people: $190
  • Internet for one month: $50

Questions About Healthcare

When it comes to health issues, you should know that healthcare is quite affordable and reliable, and getting checked by a doctor is usually straightforward. Residents and some work visa holders enjoy free or low-cost healthcare after a certain time, and they can opt for additional healthcare coverage, as well.

One of the benefits of this medical care system has to do with injury treatment – injuries resulting from any kind of accidents have free medical care.

Moving to New Zealand From the US Will Provide You With Excellent Education

The government’s priority when it comes to the schooling system is to ensure a good education for all. One of the essential stages of a child’s development is early-childhood education, while secondary schools often include lots of sports activities. If you have a freshman, don’t worry about his or her future – this nation has eight universities and 16 institutes of technology with excellent education programs that can provide your kid with an international career.

The Focus Is on the Quality of Life

Moving to New Zealand from the US could be one of the best decisions of your life. If you’re looking for a perfect work/life balance in one of the friendliest countries in the world, then this destination may be a dream come true. You should know that a whole set of laws and regulations are in place to protect the rights of individuals. If you feel that something is jeopardizing your rights, you are free to complain. Besides the Bill of Rights, New Zealand has a Human Rights Act, and in accordance with it, you can react in case of discrimination on the grounds of:

  • Age, sex, or sexual orientation
  • Marital or relationship status
  • Having a family or not
  • Being in a relationship with a particular person
  • Religious or ethical beliefs
  • Color, race, ethnicity, or country of origin
  • Having any kind of disability or illness
  • Political opinions

Employment status

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