March 2 marked a big milestone for us as it was our 2 year anniversary in New Zealand. Why is this so significant you may ask?
We migrated to New Zealand with Permanent Residency (PR) status under the Skilled Migrant category. If we never ever wanted to leave the great shores of Aotearoa, we’d be fine and would continue to be granted full residency privileges for life. However, if we did want to leave, either for good or for a holiday offshore, we’d need to apply for a Returning Resident’s Visa, else lose our PR status and our ability to return into the country.
The first Returning Resident’s Visa (RRV) one receives is good for two years. Thus, our two year anniversary became important as our RRV’s expired. Obtaining your second RRV or what is called an Indefinite Returning Resident’s Visa (IRRV) is a little trickier as one must fulfill certain requirements in order to be granted the IRRV which is good for life. The most basic requirement is that one must spend at least 184 days (6 months) in each of the two years in New Zealand. Easy peasy.
On March 10th we trotted on down to the local Immigration Office and queued up in the rather long line and waited 45 minutes to speak to a person at the reception desk. The form to fill out is the RRV Form.
Boring details on the process: The primary applicant (me) fills out the form and includes details about the secondary applicants. The fee is $140 no matter how many people you are applying for. You include the application and all relevant passports and put them in an envelope and put it in the drop box. Immigration guarantees to process all applications and return to you within 10 days. (If you are leaving the country sooner and have a ticket to prove it, then they will process the application immediately). NOTE: If you are pursuing a different pathway for obtaining residency (ie: not Skilled Migrant & less than 184 days in each of the preceding 2 years), then you will need to show proof of certain items asked in the RRV Application which can be found on the immigration website in the Guide for Returning Resident’s Visas.
So we dropped off our passports and left not feeling a bit celebratory. It felt strange to leave our passports behind. However on March 20th, we received a call that our passports were ready and I went and picked them up today.
Whoooo-hoooo! Time to celebrate. We are indefinite and NZ residents for life!
Now all we have in front of us is another three years and then we can apply for New Zealand citizenship!