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Average Cost of Moving to New Zealand

Published on 2022-01-24

With its impressive cityscapes, temperate climate, breathtaking landscapes, and excellent work-life balance, New Zealand is an appealing place to live for anyone daring enough to move to an entirely different hemisphere. The country is a popular location for many expats looking to relocate. Perhaps most importantly to people from the United States or the United Kingdom is the shared language, as the predominant spoken language in New Zealand is English. New Zealanders, also called ‘Kiwis,’ are known for their welcoming and friendly nature, while the lifestyle in the country is often quiet, peaceful, and more laid-back than the U.S.

Though, before you can enjoy the rolling hills, sweeping mountain vistas, and everything else that Middle Earth has to offer, you must deal with all the logistics. Among those considering a move to New Zealand, one of the most common questions is, “how much does it cost to move to New Zealand?” and it is a very valid question. We understand your desire to want to know precisely how much money to budget for when emigrating to New Zealand.

Unfortunately, it can be challenging to offer exact numbers, as there are numerous factors at play. However, we will do our absolute best to provide rough estimates about what to expect. Continue reading to gain a more well-rounded understanding of what it takes to move to New Zealand, and at what cost.

Key Costs of Emigrating to New Zealand

As much as we’d love to be able to give you exact numbers regarding what your relocation to New Zealand will cost, it’s nearly impossible to do so without knowing your unique situation. We can, however, look at averages and examine the key costs involved:

  • Cost of securing a New Zealand visa
  • Cost of shipping your goods internationally to New Zealand
  • Cost of traveling to New Zealand

In addition to these costs, we’ll also explore the costs involved with obtaining citizenship, as well as some average home and rental prices to fully understand the average cost of moving to New Zealand.

New Zealand Visa Fees

There are numerous types of visas that you can choose from to begin your life in New Zealand, each with their own associated fees, charges, and requirements Though, it’s important to note that New Zealand only approves a select few visas per country and the timeframe for applications is typically very tight. The visa that applies to you will depend on how long you intend to stay in the country and what your occupation is.

It may be overwhelming when you see that there are more than 80 types of visas to work in New Zealand alone, but most are specific to a particular country. This means that the type, amount, and requirements will depend on your country of origin. How much your New Zealand visa costs depends on the type you apply for. The following are the government fees you can expect based on the type of visa. Note: These numbers are in New Zealand dollars (NZD).

  • New Zealand Work Visa: $298 or $393
  • New Zealand Visitor Visa: $184
  • New Zealand Student Visa: $277
  • New Zealand Resident Visa: $3,000

Head to New Zealand Immigration website to locate the specific visa that you’re looking for.

Additional Visa Related Expenses

In addition to the visa application fees, there are a number of other visa related expenses that you should budget accordingly for. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

New Zealand Qualification Assessment Fee

If your overseas qualification must be assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), you will be required to pay a processing fee. An International Qualifications Assessment (IQA), according to the New Zealand government, is “an assessment of tertiary or vocational qualifications” obtained outside of New Zealand.

Make sure to check whether or not you need an IQA in order to immigrate to New Zealand. The processing fee that you will have to pay depends on the pathway that you choose for your qualification assessment. Again, all estimates are in New Zealand dollars (NZD)>

  • Pre-Assessment (PAR): $138
  • Full Assessment (IQA): $746

Police Clearance

To apply for a New Zealand work visa, you must provide proof of good character in the form of a completed questionnaire and Police Certificates from your country of origin and any others where you lived for at least five years. The costs associated with police clearance certificates vary based on what country and/or state that you receive the clearance from. In some cases, you may also have to pay to have fingerprinting done. If you are moving to New Zealand from the United States, you must obtain a police clearance for every state you’ve lived in for the past 12 months.

Fees for requesting a criminal history record depend on the state, but usually cost an average of $30 (USD) per person. Notary seals and fingerprinting are considered additional expenses. Aside from a police clearance certificate, you will also need to get an FBI clearance. In order to have an identity history summary check completed by the FBI, you must submit to be fingerprinted.

Medical Reports

In addition to providing proof of good character for a New Zealand work visa, you also have to provide proof of good health. This is given in the form of a completed health questionnaire, and then a medical exam, and a chest x-ray. Medical reports and x-rays can be pricey, often costing hundreds of dollars. However, the price depends on the country you are in at the time of the examination and whether or not you have health insurance coverage.

Translation Costs

All of your documents must not only be either the original or a certified copy, they also have to be submitted in English. If any of your documents aren’t already in English, you will be required to provide the necessary translations. Translations have to be performed by professional translators that are recognized by New Zealand authorities.

As an estimate and only if applicable, you can expect to pay between $50 and $500 (NZD) in translation costs.

New Zealand Citizenship

After you’ve lived in New Zealand for five years and if you intend to remain indefinitely, you are eligible to apply for citizenship. To apply for citizenship by grant, which is generally the pathway for migrants, you can expect the following costs:

  • $470.20 (NZD) for adults age 16 and older
  • $235.10 (NZD) for children age 15 and younger

If you intend to renounce your citizenship in the United States (or your specific country of origin) you’ll pay over $2,000.

Cost of Shipping Goods to New Zealand

With visas and their associated costs out of the way, it’s important to know how much it’ll cost to get all your belongings to your new home in New Zealand. For starters, the best way to know exactly how much it’ll cost to ship your goods is to request an estimate from a professional international moving company. For the most accurate quote possible, insist that the company has a representative come out to your home to perform an in-person assessment. During the assessment, they will take inventory of all the items to be moved and then issue you a personalized estimate.

We also highly advise that you obtain quotes from a minimum of three international movers. This will allow you to appropriately compare each company based on their experience and how they operate, as well as help you find the best deal out there. Immigrating to New Zealand can be very complicated, which makes it all the more essential that you choose the right international moving company to assist with your relocation. When it comes to shipping your belongings to New Zealand, there are some important terms and factors that you should be aware of:

  • Air Freight vs. Sea Freight: Your two primary options for getting your belongings to New Zealand are air freight or sea freight, each with their own pros and cons. Air freight is the quickest option and your cargo will arrive in New Zealand in only a matter of days. Sea freight, on the other hand, is slower but costs between 12 and 16 times cheaper than air freight.
  • Full Container Load (FCL) vs. Less than Container Load (LCL): FCL means that your goods will take up the entire shipping container, whereas, LCL involves you sharing the container with someone else who is also transporting their stuff to New Zealand. The advantage to opting for Less than Container Load is that, in addition to sharing the container, you share the cost. However, you will have to wait until the shipping company can fill the rest of the container before they transport your belongings.
  • Shipping Container Sizes: The two standard shipping container sizes are 20-feet and 40-feet. In general, a 20-foot container can ship a three-bedroom home, and a 40-foot container is big enough to house the contents of a three-bedroom home and a car or a five-bedroom house.
  • Door-to-door vs. Port-to-port: With door-to-door shipping, the moving company you hire will pack the container for you at your home, transport it to the port, ship it to New Zealand, and then unload it all at your new home. Whereas, port-to-port shipping means that you must get your belongings to the port in your origin country and then retrieve them from the port when they arrive in New Zealand.

With these terms in mind, the following table outlines the average cost of shipping goods (via sea) from the United States to New Zealand. These averages are based on the typical number of items found in a one-bedroom apartment.

Origin LocationDestination Location20-foot shipping containerTrip Duration
Los Angeles, CAAuckland, New Zealand$6,852 to $7,571 (USD)18 to 23 days
Los Angeles, CAWellington, New Zealand$6,821 to $7,53218 to 23 days
Los Angeles, CAChristchurch, New Zealand$6,981 to $7,717 (USD)19 to 24 days
New York City, NYAuckland, New Zealand$15,119 to 16,712 (USD)24 to 29 days
New York City, NYWellington, New Zealand$15,088 to $16,688 (USD)25 to 30 days
New York City, NYChristchurch, New Zealand$15,255 to $16,861 (USD)25 to 30 days

Note: Keep in mind that these prices are meant to serve as estimates only. They do not include any add-on services, like professional packing and unpacking, door-to-door service, and insurance coverage. So, expect the quotes that you receive from your prospective moving companies to vary considerably.

Cost of Traveling to New Zealand

After you’ve figured out how to get your stuff to New Zealand, you need to plan for how you and your family will get there. The earlier that you start shopping around for flights, the better. Planning ahead and booking flights in advance will help you snag the cheapest tickets possible. Of course, flights costs will depend on where you are coming from. 

If you book your flight at the ideal time – at least two weeks before departure and steering clear of peak season – you can get a one-way ticket for as low as:

  • Dallas to New Zealand: $959
  • Boston to New Zealand: $950
  • Atlanta to New Zealand: $876

If you have some flexibility regarding your travel dates, May is the cheapest month to fly to New Zealand. Peak season to travel to New Zealand is November, December, and January; so, if your goal is to save money, avoid these months.

Home Prices & Renting in New Zealand

Fortunately, there are a number of areas in New Zealand where you’ll find relatively cheap properties available for purchase. Houses in Wellington and the Canterbury region, which includes the major city of Christchurch, are typically more affordable than average. However, home prices in Auckland, the most populous urban area in New Zealand, can be pretty high.

The average cost of a home in Auckland, New Zealand is around $860,000 (USD), which is significantly higher than the nationwide average of $585,366. To put things in perspective, the average home price in the United States is currently $308,220. With this in mind, New Zealand tends to be more expensive, on average than the United States.

The national average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in New Zealand is $944 (USD) per month and $1,577 for a three-bedroom. Aside from location, facilities, and property sizes are the main factors that impact the cost of rent in New Zealand.

For more information about preparing for and planning your relocation to New Zealand, and to receive your free, no-obligation moving quote, contact Three Movers today!

Written by Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving.

If you have any questions about moving, our services, or anything else you think he may be able to help with, you can contact Chris by emailing him at Chris@threemovers.com

Customer Reviews

I just wanted to say thank you so much for the great help with our move. We have so much stuff and I was really worried about being able to take the time off work to pack and get everything moved and unpacked. Three Movers saved the day! Your men showed up and had our house and garage packed fast and even put everything in the precise room at the new house. You saved me a great deal of time and saved my family a lot of money! Thanks so much!

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