Your checklist for moving to New Zealand
If you’re looking for a checklist for moving to New Zealand, you’re at the right place! What you’ll find below are the tasks most critical to your immigration at each phase of the process. You won’t find the steps for your visa application itself, as it is best to discuss these with your immigration advisor.
How to use this checklist?
As we explained, your checklist is divided into phases. You’ll see that there are six phases. The first four phases involve all the hard work. The last two are simply tasks for the day before you fly and for the day of your departure.
Further to this, the timelines assigned to each phase of the process is estimates. Your immigration might move faster or slower than our phases indicate. That’s okay! Each immigration is unique.
That’s also why you might find that you won’t do the tasks from top to bottom. You might have to jump around. That’s fine too.
Now let’s get to your checklist for moving to New Zealand.
You’re just getting started
During this phase, you’re still gathering your thoughts and you’ve just decided that you’d like to move to New Zealand.
- Get your eligibility assessed by a licensed immigration agent. You should only proceed with the rest of the process if you’re certain that you qualify to live in New Zealand.
- Discuss your plans with your immediate family. Start with your children and then talk to your parents and siblings. They’ll need time to get used to the idea of not having you around!
- Investigate employment opportunities – where are the jobs in your occupation available?
- Decide where you want to live, then research house prices, salaries and the cost of living in the area.
- Update your CV to make it suitable for New Zealand employers.
- Check that your entire family has valid passports. Ensure that there are at least two years available on each passport. The process of applying for a visa may take several months!
- Check to see if your pet is allowed in New Zealand. New Zealand has strict requirements for the import of cats, dogs and other common pets.
You’re going from thinking about it to taking action
Your eligibility assessment has shown that you qualify to live in New Zealand, so now you can get the ball rolling. This phase is roughly 18 to 12 months before you move to New Zealand.
- Seeing as you know that qualify for a visa, now is the time to start job hunting. We’ve shared a list of recruiters in New Zealand on our blog before.
- Check with your immigration advisor whether or not it is time to go for medical examinations and to get police clearance certificates. You shouldn’t get these documents so far in advance that they’re no longer valid when you submit your visa application.
- Check what you’re allowed to take with you to New Zealand as far as personal belongings are considered. New Zealand has lists of prohibited items and items that you have to declare before clearing it for entry into the country.
- Start sharing your plans with your wider social circle, your children’s schools and your colleagues. With that being said, if you don’t want to discuss your plans just yet, that’s okay too. Do it when it feels right.
- Set up a meeting with your boss to discuss your plans. Who knows, you might need them as a reference.
- Make a list of the furniture and household items that you want to take with you to New Zealand. Once this list is drawn up, start selling or donating the unwanted items. Trust us, you don’t want to start clearing your house at the last minute!
- Start getting your finances in order. You might want to reduce debts or save money to have cash reserves for when you arrive. Also make a list of subscriptions that you’d have to stop or debit orders that you’d have to cancel.
- Now that you know what you want to take with, get quotes from shipping companies. Get quotes from pet importers too, if you have pets. These costs are bound to make up a huge part of your expenses, so it’s best to know how much to budget for well in advance.
- Get quotes for flights to New Zealand. You can’t book flights too far in advance, but it’s good to know how much tickets are as soon as it’s possible to do so. While you’re at it, get quotes for travel insurance.
- Unless your New Zealand employer is offering temporary accommodation, now is the time to start exploring accommodation options. Many people choose to rent a place for a couple of months to start off with. This means you have a home when you arrive, but also have time to house hunt at leisure once you’re in New Zealand. It’s so much better to be able to inspect a house or apartment yourself than having to decide on where to live over Skype!
You’re getting ready to leave in a couple of months
You can start seeing the finish line! It’s still about six months away, but now is the time to get the parts most critical to your move in order.
- Put your house in the market, either to sell or rent. The earlier you start this process, the better – especially if you’ve decided to sell your house. While you’re at it, ensure that your utilities and rates are paid up.
- Get rid of the last of the unwanted household items and furniture. When it’s all out of the way, start packing up your house. This might be stating the obvious, but start with the items you use the least. If you find that you’re overwhelmed by the amount of things you have to pack, tackle the process one room at a time. Another tip is to label boxes clearly so that you know to what room a box belongs. It’s going to make unpacking so much easier!
- Unless you’re going to import your car, you should put it on the market now too. Ensure that all services and maintenance are done and that you have paid any fines before selling it to someone else.
- Your pets might have to enter quarantine upon arrival in New Zealand. Now is the time to check that everything is in place for this process.
- Get credit references from your current bank and other lenders and open a New Zealand bank account. You can open a bank account from overseas up to a year before you move. It really is a good idea to do it now, because then you can make credit card and cash withdrawals as soon as you arrive in New Zealand.
- By now your immigration advisor would’ve told you if you qualify for New Zealand’s public healthcare. If you don’t, start making arrangements for private health insurance.
- Collect all the most important documents to take with you. These are commonly birth certificates, marriage certificates, medical documents, academic qualifications, credit references, and driver’s licenses.
- Talking about driver’s licenses – you’ll need a translation of it in English if you’re license is in another language. You’re allowed to drive in New Zealand on your overseas license for 12 months, so you won’t have to convert your license immediately.
- Now is the time to sign for temporary accommodation in New Zealand if you haven’t done so yet. If you have family or friends close by, get them to go have a look at the place and report back on its suitability.
- If you’ve been renting, give notice to your landlord. Most rental agreements require that you give notice at least two months in advance.
- Book your flights and arrange transport to your new home. You’re going to be exhausted when you arrive, so strongly consider hiring a car. That way you won’t have to figure out the public transport or where to catch a taxi.
- Get refills of prescription medicines and contact lenses. If you think you’re going to need new glasses in the upcoming months, rather go to your local optometrist now to get a pair.
- Cancel all those subscriptions and debit orders you put on your list. Also cancel things like gym contracts, phone contracts, and any insurance you won’t need.
- Request handover files from your dentist and doctor for your whole family. These files will be enormously helpful to your new doctor and dentist in New Zealand.
- Start saying goodbye to friends and family. It’s going to be hard but it has to get done!
There are only three weeks left until you fly!
Things are starting to feel real! These last few weeks are going to go by so fast!
- If you’re not done yet, finish packing up your house so that your belongings are ready to go.
- Organise transport to the airport.
- Make sure that your pets and your household belongings leave for the ports when the day comes.
- Call the bank to arrange the closure or transfer of your bank accounts.
- Have special farewells with your family and closest friends. Be sure to have separate farewells for your children and their friends. This move is going to be tough on your kids too!
The day before jetting off to New Zealand
With all of the hard work behind you, there is only a couple of things left to take care of.
- Pack your hand luggage. You first want to ensure that you have all the most important documents in your bag. Then you want to add any items that are going to make your flight easier. This could be anything from travel toothbrushes and books to toys and snacks for the kids.
- Finish up packing everyone’s suitcases.
- Get a good night’s sleep – tomorrow’s the big day.
It probably felt like this day would never come! Yet, here it is. You’re packed and ready to go.
- Double check that your hand luggage includes all your documents.
- Go through the whole house or apartment and check all the rooms to make sure that nothing has been left behind. Don’t forget to check in kitchen drawers and clothing cupboards in the bedrooms.
- Close the front door and set off on your new adventure!
Print and file your checklist for moving to New Zealand
You could just bookmark this page but our suggestion is to print the checklist and file it so that you can reference it easily. In fact, print a couple of copies so that each family member has a checklist. That way you can check up on each other to ensure that each item on the list gets done.
One last tip – consult with your migration advisor along the way
Depending on what services your migration advisor offers, he or she might also be able to advise you on certain steps of your checklist. Specifically when it is time to take specific steps. For instance, when you can start looking for a job or when it’s best to book flights. Please do consult with your advisor to find out what advise he or she will be able to give you.