People who have a Religious Worker Work Visa can obtain permanent residency via a Religious Worker Resident Visa. Holders of this visa not only live in New Zealand but also enjoy other benefits. For example, under this visa, they can bring their dependent children and partners to this country. They can also study in New Zealand.

In the following, we will discuss the Religious Worker Resident Visa application process, its requirements, fees to be paid, processing time, and other details.

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New Zealand Religious Worker Resident Visa

Video description

Links and extra information provided in the video are here: 

Residence application form 

Sponsorship form 

New Zealand immigration website 

  • It is necessary to have a continuous job offer and sponsorship from a religious institution.
  • You must have at least five years of experience in religious work or education in this field.
  • If you want to qualify for this visa, you must be at least 55 years old.
  • Under this visa, you can live, work, and study indefinitely in New Zealand.
  • You can include your dependent children and partner in this visa application. Note that your child must be under 24 years old. The religious institution should also sponsor them. You must also meet the minimum salary requirement.
  • You can apply for this visa if you have been on a Religious Worker Work visa for at least three years.

What are the requirements for obtaining a Religious Worker Resident Visa?

To obtain this visa, you must provide two photographs with a passport or a certified copy.

  • A full birth certificate is required to get this visa.
  • You will need to have some medical examinations as well as a chest x-ray to prove your good health.
  • All applicants who are over the age of 17 must present a police certificate to prove their good character. Note that this certificate must be in English and is issued by your country of citizenship. For information on how to get this certificate, go to the New Zealand Immigration Website.
  • To be eligible for this visa, you must have been on a religious worker work visa for at least three years.
  • You need an acceptable sponsor to get this visa. In this case, the sponsor is a religious institution.
  • If you want to qualify for this visa, you must be at least 55 years old.
  • You must be able to speak English. To prove your fluency in English, you must provide the result of your language test. You must also have taken the language test in the last two years. If your child and partner cannot speak English, they can learn it in New Zealand. But you must pay the tuition of their language classes before issuing the visa.
  • You must have a permanent job offer from your sponsor.
  • The activity offered to you by the organization should be one of the following:
  • Teaching philosophy and religious spirituality
  • Leading religious ceremonies and worship
  • Ordaining new religious leaders, initiating new members entering the religious community, and conducting religious ceremonies
  • Providing spiritual guidance
  • If you are going to get paid for the services you provide, you must also provide your employment contract. If you do not receive a salary for services, you must provide a description of your duties.

Note that religious studies cannot be considered religious work when applying for a resident visa.

  • To acquire this visa, you must have at least five years of experience in religious work. The evidence you can provide in this regard is:
  • Provide testimonials from people in your religious community
  • Documents proving that you have been ordained
  • Your resume
  • Verified copy of your qualifications
  • Evidence that you have had religious experiences in New Zealand
  • You should not receive any welfare benefits or assistance. If you or anyone included in your residency application has received assistance since the visa was granted, you will not be qualified for this visa.
  • You must be in New Zealand when applying for residency.
  • You can enter your spouse and dependent children in your visa application. To prove your relationship with family members, it is necessary to provide documents such as birth or marriage certificate. Your family members need to meet your character, health, and English language requirements. Also, your relationship with your partner must be stable and genuine. Your child must be single and up to 24 years old. When you complete the visa application form, you will be asked to declare that your child is unmarried. Providing identity documents can also be sufficient to confirm the child’s age. Children between the ages of 21 and 24 are considered dependent if they rely on their parents financially.
  • If your offspring is 15 or younger and you are separated from your spouse, you must show that you have the legal right to remove your dependent child from your home country. To do this, you need to provide documents that prove:
  • You have the right to decide where your child lives.
  • You have the right to remove your offspring from your country.
  • You have custody of your child and can come to New Zealand if your application is approved.

What is the sponsorship requirements for getting this visa?

In order to receive this visa, the religious organization must be your sponsor. The organization must:

  • Be registered as a charity
  • try to advance religion as the main purpose
  • Clarify the connection between your activity and the reasons why you are coming to New Zealand
  • Have enough funds to support your expenses and the people included in your visa
  • Provide for your accommodation expenses or provide you with accommodation.
  • Be your sponsor from the first day of your stay in New Zealand for 5 years.

There should be a letter from the religious institution showing how your religious activities can be in line with their goals.

How to apply for a Religious Worker Resident Visa?

You must first complete your residence application and pay the application fee and immigration levy, then send the supporting documents. Some of these documents are:

  • Sponsorship Form for Religious Workers, which must be completed by your sponsor (religious institution)
  • A statement prepared by your sponsor that explains how your religious activities will be in line with their goals
  • Employment agreement or job description

New Zealand immigration will notify you if more documents need to be submitted. You may be asked to attend an interview as part of the visa application process.

You must have a valid visa while in New Zealand. If your current temporary visa is going to expire, you can apply for another temporary visa so you can stay in New Zealand and complete the residency application process. Please note that Interim visas are not issued to those intending to apply for a residence-class visa.

How much does it cost to apply for this visa?

The visa application fee is NZ $ 1,800. Note that even if your visa application is rejected, this fee will not be refunded to you.

Would you like to move to New Zealand as a teacher? Read our article.

How long does it take to assess the submitted documents and issue the visa?

90% of applications for a Religious Worker Resident visa are processed within 23 months.

How can Visa holders work in New Zealand?

For five years after your visa is granted, you only have to do religious work for the religious sponsorship organization and in the location specified in your employment contract. After this period, you can change your job and employer. If you want to change your employer, you must apply for a variation of conditions. You can request a variation of conditions for another religious organization that:

  • Be registered as a charity.
  • Its main purpose is the advancement of religion.
  • Provide regular religious work.
  • Be an acceptable sponsor.
  • By completing the Sponsorship Form for Religious Workers, they will be able to fulfill all sponsorship obligations.

Can visa holders study in New Zealand?


Let’s sum up

In the previous paragraphs, we discussed the Religious Worker Resident Visa application process and other details that may be helpful to most people who intend to obtain this visa. In other sections of the Visa Library website, you can find other types of New Zealand visas and visas from other countries.

If you have experience in obtaining a New Zealand visa, you can share it through the comments section to help others who are in the visa application process. You can also put your questions in the same section; we will answer as soon as possible.


Is Religious Worker Resident Visa for a short-term stay in New Zealand?

No, it is for the long term and staying permanently.

Can I apply for it from outside the country?

No, you must be inside the country with a valid visa.

How long should I live in New Zealand to get the residence?

You need to live for at least five years.

Do I have to have a job offer to apply for residency?

Yes, you need to have a continuous job offer to get the religious worker residency.

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  1. Daniel says:

    Hello, once I receive my Religious worker resident visa, can I look for other jobs in addition to the religious work I am doing for my sponsor?