After all the crowd and noise in India, I needed a quiet moment in the wilderness. I thought New Zealand would be the perfect place to go. This trip would be purely a car camping and tramping trip. After all, New Zealand is one of the best place to be for outdoor activity. This will also be the best time to test our outdoor gear before we embark on our world trip.
Again, before all this plan materialize, I thought I had to go through another tedious visa application. Having a Philippine passport I always fear that my visa application will get rejected. But with proper planning and preparation I found out that getting a New Zealand tourist visa is not as difficult as the Schengen visa.
There are even three ways to apply for a tourist visa to New Zealand. First is the walk-in application or the paper based application which an applicant can apply for at the NZ Visa Application Centre in Silom. Second is by sending via courier and the third is by applying online.
I have chosen to apply online because I didn’t want to waste my time queuing to submit my application, although I still had to go to the NZ Visa Application Centre to submit my passport. I am also trying to save pages of my passport so I was hoping that by applying online I could get an electronic visa which luckily, I did.
So let me walk you through the process as to how I got my New Zealand visa in Bangkok:
How to Apply Online?
Step 1: Register Online:
Before you can start your visa application, an online registration to the New Zealand immigration website is required. Make sure that you have an existing email as you will need it to confirm your online registration.
Create an account, once the account is created a confirmation email will be sent to the email address you have provided. Check your email and confirm your registration.
Step 2: Online Application
1.) After you have created and confirmed your account you will be asked to create your personal profile. Go ahead and put your name and email address on this.
2.) Once this done, continue to the next page which will be choices on the type of visa you are applying for; Student Visa Application, Tourist Visa Application, and Work Visa Application. I am only discussing TOURIST VISA application here since it is the type of visa I applied for.
Select Tourist Visa, there will be a form asking several questions whether or not an applicant can apply for an online visa.
Filipinos are entitled for a FREE VISA FEE to New Zealand as long as you are only visiting as tourist for less than 59 days. I selected YES for question no. 2.
Once this is done, click “Start My Application” after which you will then be redirected to another page. These are forms about your application which include the following; Visit Details, Health Details, Character Details, Work History, Partner’s Details, Other Contacts, and Documents.
- All answers should be written in English.
- You don’t necessarily need to complete the forms at once. You have the option to click the “Save for later” which will save your information and can go back later on to finish your application
- Each forms can be completed in any order. You can jump to Health Details then to Work History, and back to Character Details even if you haven’t completed each section.
After all the forms have been completed and answered, the next would be to upload your requirements.
Please take note that documents uploaded online should be in PDF or JPG file not exceeding 10 MB. For PDF, if you have multiple files merge them all together as one file (read the guidelines for pdf and photos in the application system). If your documents are in Thai language you are also required to submit an English translation.
What are the Requirements?
To support your visa application, you need to upload proof of documents. Here are the list of documents I have submitted.
Primary (Required) Documents:
- Passport Photo
- Passport Information Page
Other supporting documents I have submitted are:
- Evidence of Previous Travels
These can be your previous visas, stamps or any other type of documents that can support you have traveled before.
- Evidence of long-term stay in Thailand
I am currently on a NON-O visa based on my husband so I submitted my Thailand visa. If you are on NON-B, NON-ED, Retirement Visa, you can submit that too. I am self-employed now (freelance) and no longer working for any company so I have no work permit, but for those who have work permit or employment certificate, include that too.
- Financial Documents
I have submitted a copy of my bank statement (6 months record) which I took from my online banking. I have also included my husband’s bank statements because we are both travelling together.
Those who have sponsors such as your family, friends or relatives include your sponsor’s financial documents too or proof that they will be supporting your stay in New Zealand.
- Cover Letter
I have written a cover letter explaining about the reason of my visa application.
Marriage Certificate (English & Thai)
If you have other documents that you think can give you a higher chance of getting a visa, you can upload that too.
I have read on many blogs that confirmed return tickets are required for New Zealand visa application but I didn’t submit any tickets nor did I submit any booking accommodation as we will be camping on most nights.
If you are less confident that your visa application will get rejected without airline tickets or hotel bookings, you can book an air ticket that you can cancel just in case your visa is rejected. And for hotel accommodation, you can book on Agoda.com or Booking.com. Some hotels don’t require pre-payment, some even don’t need credit card information and can even cancel before the day of arrival without booking fees.
Where to Submit your Passport?
Once you finish and have submitted your visa application, you will get a thank you page saying they have received your application. Print that page and submit at the same time with your passport at the NZ Visa Centre in the address below.
New Zealand Visa Application Centre – Bangkok
c/o TT Services (TT Aviation Co Ltd) 140/41 (19D), ITF Tower, 19 Floor, Silom Road, Suriyawongse, Bangrak,Bangkok – 10500, Thailand
firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +662 236 7138
I submitted my passport within the day of my application. The following day, I also received an email notification that I need to submit my passport at the NZ Visa Application Centre. You don’t need to wait for the email. As long as you have the printed copy from your online application, you can submit your passport immediately.
How much does it cost?
As I have said earlier, Filipinos are entitled for a FREE Visa to NZ for tourist visas less than 59 days. Although you still have to prepare some cash for the handling fee and courier fee if you want your passport couriered to you. I paid a total of 600 THB – 550 THB for the handling fee and 50 THB for courier.
You will be given a receipt. Tracking your visa application is also available. Use your receipt number or passport number and date of birth to track your application.
How long is the visa result?
On the New Zealand Immigration website, they normally say 20 days processing time for online application but I received the result after 2 days. Processing time may vary from applicant to applicant.
They couriered my passport with no visa on it, although there is a little yellow paper saying that they received my visa application and IF the application was approved no visa label will be placed inside my passport. Instead, an electronic visa will be link to my passport. I really had no idea at that time whether I got a visa approved or not. After 1 hour from receiving my passport, I also received an email with my visa attached to it!
Nov. 13, 2017 – Submitted my online application in the morning and went to submit my passport in the afternoon
Nov. 14, 2017 – I received email notification that I can now submit my passport to the NZ Application Centre which I already did.
Nov. 16, 2017 – Received my visa.
Now I am ready to leave for my next trip, Kia Ora NZ!