Summary of Terms

Genuine visitor/tourist

‘Lawful purpose’ for visitors

All people coming to New Zealand must genuinely intend to stay for a 'lawful purpose'.  We consider you to be coming to New Zealand for a lawful purpose if you are a visitor coming for the purposes of:

  • holidaying
  • sightseeing
  • family and social visits
  • amateur sport
  • business consultation
  • medical treatment
  • guest of Government visits.


As a visitor you may not work.


Short-term study

You may undertake one or more courses of study or training of not more than three calendar months' duration in total per visa, or in each 12-month period if your visa enables you to stay in New Zealand as a visitor for a minimum of 24 months.


School-age children

School-age visitor visa holders can attend a primary, intermediate, secondary or composite school for a single period of study of up to three months per calendar year provided the study finishes within the calendar year. Study in Term One of a school year is not permitted if a single period of study in Term Four of the previous year was undertaken while on a visitor visa.


If you want to study for longer than three months in any given calendar year, you will need to apply for a student visa.


Genuine visitor/tourist

We consider you to be a genuine tourist if you are a visitor who:

  • is not working and has not worked in New Zealand
  • has not held a student visa
  • is not sponsored 
  • has enough funds to provide for your maintenance and accommodation costs.


Having spent nine months in New Zealand, ‘genuine tourists’ may apply for another three months’ stay (making a maximum stay of 12 months) if they require more time to complete their travel.

Related Links

Bona fide temporary entry applicants: see the immigration instructions in the Operational Manual at E5.10.


‘Lawful purpose’ for visitors: see the immigration instructions in the Operational Manual at V2.1.1.


Genuine visitor/tourist: see the immigration instructions in the Operational Manual at V2.5.1.