New Zealanders love their OE. It’s an Overseas Experience providing freedom to travel, work and explore the world as if it was their oyster. The United Kingdom is a particular favourite with Kiwis because of the many opportunities on its doorstep including Europe travel and British working opportunities.  Find out what you need to obtain a visa to live and work in the UK.

UK Youth Mobility Visa

If you wish to visit the UK for a period of more than 6 months, you will need to apply for a Youth Mobility Visa, (previously known as the Working Holiday Visa). The visa is based on points. You will earn more points if you meet the British High Commission’s criteria. The Visa is valid for two years and is available to New Zealanders aged from 18-30 years.

The whole meaning behind the visa is that you are going to the UK for a holiday but you will work to support yourself and not support your travels. You are not permitted to ‘climb the corporate ladder’ or seek a career out on your Visa. You may work part time during the two years of your visa or you may work full time for part of your visa.

You will need to supply 3 months worth of bank statements when applying for your visa. This is evidence that you are financially dependent and are able to afford to live abroad comfortably.

Just because you have been granted a Visa to work in the UK it does not mean that the British Customs staff cannot turn you away at the UK Border. It is wise not to pack your CV in your luggage, and it helps if you have 3 months of bank statements as back up.

UK Ancestry Visa

If your Grandparent was born in the UK, you have the right to claim a UK Ancestry visa, which gives you the right to work in the UK for a maximum of five years. This means that you may address your career professionally and not just work part time like on the Working Holiday Visa.

To apply for an Ancestry Visa you need a few important documents. You will need your Parents and Grandparents Birth Certificate as well as your own Birth Certificate. You may also need a letter from a British recruitment company or from the company who have already employed you, confirming that you will be working while on your Ancestry Visa. You must also provide 3 months worth of NZ bank statements to prove you have sufficient funds in your bank account, as evidence that you can survive financially until you begin receiving income in the UK. You are not entitled to receive any sort of financial benefit support while in the UK.

Another bonus associated with the Ancestry Visa is that when your five year visa is approaching its end, you have the right to apply for an extension of your visa – called an ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ Certificate, and after that you can eventually apply for a British passport.

UK Work Permit

If you work in a field where you are particularly skilled or if you work in a field which is particularly popular and treated with high respect in the UK, you may be able to qualify for a UK Work Permit. Work Permits are designed to help the British employment market and you are considered a valid employee. You will be allowed to stay in the UK for two years, and then have the right to apply for another three year renewal after that.

Much like the Youth Visa, you will gain more points if you can prove you have relevant experience in your field,  hold a Masters or Bachelor Education qualification and you will need to be accepted for the position before you obtain the permit. You will also need to provide 3 months worth of bank statements, proving that you have sufficient funds in your bank account and earn over a certain threshold.

British Passport

If you have a British Passport you have the right to live and work in the UK as if you were a British Citizen. There are no limits to the amount of travel you do, nor any limitation to the period of time you live and work in the UK (until your passport expires and you renew it of course).


An important note to remember is that you must apply for your visa while you are in New Zealand. You cannot apply for a visa while you are overseas or if you are already in the UK. The Visa Application can take between 3 weeks to 12 weeks to be processed and you will need to surrender your New Zealand passport with your application – so remember that your international travel will be limited while the application is in process. Don’t book your flights before you receive your visa!

For more information, contact the British High Commission in Wellington

How To Get a UK Visa , 2.3 out of 5 based on 8 ratings

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  1. Kahfook Tham says:

    Thanks for the valuable information in this website. As a NZ Citizen, but not within the Youth OE age bracket, is there a way I can apply for a UK Work Permit without first having obtained a work placement in the UK? Thank you. K Tham.

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    Rating: 3.4/5 (20 votes cast)
  2. Geoff Smith says:


    I am a NZ citizen and want to apply for a UK ancestry visa I am currently living in Denmark. Can you please tell me what I need to do? Thanks

    Geoff Smith

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    Rating: 3.2/5 (11 votes cast)
  3. Todd says:

    I have heard that it is possible to obtain a youth mobility visa without being in nz if you have been living elsewhere for 6months or more. Where can I find more information about this?

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    Rating: 4.3/5 (16 votes cast)
  4. Michael Wall (for Lorraine Mossop) says:

    Dear Sirs,

    A friend of mine is a New Zealand national with a NZ passport who has been living and working in the UK since 1982. She is married to a British national, has a British National Insurance No., Tax Code, and is resident in the UK. However, she parted from her husband several years ago, and does not know his whereabouts or any contact details: they are not divorced.

    Her original NZ passport granted her indefinite leave to remain in the uk, but this passport was lost and renewed by passport no AA335964, which merely granted 10years stay. This expired on 24/06/2012.Is there any way of tracing the original passport details preceding the one that expired on 24/06/2012? If so, could the original terms be reinstated?

    She is currently working for a company providing contract work to AEG at the O2 in Greenwich, London. They have requested that she provide a working visa to prove her eligibility to work in the UK.

    The UK Border Agency are of no help whatsoever in responding or helping in assisting with this query

    Accordingly, I would appreciate your advice shortly so as to confirm this to my friend who is, understandably, somewhat confused by her employer’s request.

    Thanks in advance and regards.

    Michael Wall

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    Rating: 3.5/5 (12 votes cast)
  5. Kunal N says:

    Hi I am 33 yrs old and have a family of 4 me my wife Sandra and 2 daughters age 5 & 3 yrs. We are NZ citizens and wanting to live in UK. What visa do we apply for the whole family?

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    Rating: 3.5/5 (12 votes cast)
  6. Sue Marshall says:

    I am a New Zealander with a New Zealand and British passport. I would like to go to England for 2 years to work as a teacher. Can my female partner who I have lived with for 25 years ( Civil Unioned 2005 and married 2014) come and work in the UK with me or will she have to get her own Visa.

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    Rating: 3.7/5 (3 votes cast)
  7. hakim says:

    can someone help me to play football in uk im a good player try me promes.

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    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  8. Sam says:

    I have already had a mobility work visa but it has expired can I apply to return to the uk on a working holiday again?

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    Rating: 3.3/5 (3 votes cast)