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How to Move to New Zealand from the US

Nov 08, 2023
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How I moved my family to New Zealand from the US

My family of 6 took the dive in 2013 and moved to New Zealand.  We knew nobody, had never been there but was just up for an international experience and maybe we were a little mesmerized by the Lord of the Rings. We have now lived here for 8 years and love sharing our journey on your YouTube channel.

Honestly, we did not expect to love New Zealand so much, but it definitely captured our hearts.  If you are considering a move to New Zealand I am here to help!  It took us a while to adjust to the new culture and I still am learning something new every day.  If you are even considering a move to New Zealand, then you will want to check out this amazing FREE Masterclass that helps answer all of your questions and meet others like you.  It is the only product on the market that shows you exactly how to move to New Zealand from the US.

Let's explore job opportunities in different fields, along with some handy tips to land a job offer before you move. Discover stress-free ways to ship your stuff across seas! We'll also help you get familiar with healthcare systems and financial needs.

Table Of Contents:


Understanding How to Move to New Zealand from the US

If you've been dreaming of a life in New Zealand, getting your visa is your golden ticket. But where do you start?  The visa process is continually being updated so I highly recommend checking the New Zealand Immigration site regularly.  

It is my opinion that you don't need to hire an immigration consultant or lawyer unless your circumstance requires it.  If you do need immigration help, then I highly recommend WorkingIn as they are the biggest immigration consultants in New Zealand and offer every type of service.  Many of my clients have used them and they have been in the industry for over 30 years.  Just giving them a call to ask a few questions is no charge.  

To move from U.S. soil to this island nation, one must understand and follow through with New Zealand's immigration process. It involves several steps, like picking out which type of visa best suits your situation.

Work visas are quite popular for professionals looking to ply their trade in New Zealand. The application requires certain documents and can take anywhere between 30 to 75 days for processing. For those wanting an extended vacation, a working holiday visa could be ideal.  

Tara's Tips:  If you qualify for the working holiday visa option, you should take it as it is a great way to see the country with the option to work and go to school.  It is one of the most popular visas!

The Role of the New Zealand Government in Immigration

The government plays a vital role here as well. They oversee regulations concerning immigration while also extending support towards newcomers settling into their new homes.

A major part of their assistance includes educating immigrants about different Zealand visas, ranging from student visas all the way up to permanent residency ones. There’s something for everyone.

Finally, if studying is on your mind, partnering with an approved education provider might be necessary depending upon specific conditions related to obtaining a student visa.

So remember: preparation is key when navigating this process. With proper planning and by following these tips on understanding how things work within the realm of 'Zealand immigration', making that dreamy shift across continents should become much more manageable.


Exploring Job Opportunities in New Zealand

If you're contemplating a move to the island nation of New Zealand, one question that's probably on your mind is: "What job opportunities await me there?" Well, you're in for some good news.

In-Demand Fields in New Zealand

New Zealand has a strong economy with numerous sectors seeking skilled workers from overseas. Working In New Zealand lists the most sought-after fields, which include hospitality, nursing, engineering, and finance.

This list doesn't stop there; science professionals, social sciences experts, educators, and those with experience in food services are also highly desired. Even business service specialists or retail managers can find lucrative roles here.

Last but not least - if construction is your field of expertise then get ready because this sector too has seen significant growth lately.

Resources for Job Seekers

The task of finding work may seem daunting initially but don't worry. There are resources available designed specifically to help ease this process.

WorkHere, an online platform connects global talent with Kiwi employers. It provides valuable information about living and working conditions along with job postings across multiple industries making it a must-visit resource when planning your career transition.

If you want more localized assistance during your job hunt then make sure to check out New Kiwis. This free employment service connects skilled migrant job seekers with New Zealand employers. So, whether you're on a work visa or seeking a working holiday in this picturesque country, these resources are here to make your transition smoother.

So, forget about those worries and start envisioning your next career chapter in the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand. Remember, it's not just a job hunt; it's more.

Tara's Tips:  Landing a job in New Zealand can be a bit different than getting a job in the US.  I recommend studying up on the culture and understanding how the Treaty of Waitangi is reflected in your industry.  Reach out to me if you need CV/Resume help! 


Health Insurance and Healthcare in New Zealand

Relocating to a new country often raises questions about the local healthcare system. In New Zealand, residents have access to both public and private health insurance options for their healthcare needs.

Understanding the Public Healthcare System

The Kiwis enjoy access to FREE hospital care and emergency services courtesy of their robust public healthcare system. However, not everything is covered. It's common for residents (including expats) to pay some costs such as general practitioner visits or prescriptions out-of-pocket.

If your goal is achieving high-quality work-life balance with minimal stress over medical bills, then understanding how this works becomes vital. The good news? As an American transitioning into becoming a permanent resident or even a New Zealand citizen, you get similar benefits too.

Tara's Tips:  It is important to note that dental care is covered for FREE for children but can get quite expensive for adults.  There are only a few insurance options for dental care.

Choosing a Private Health Insurance Plan

You might wonder why anyone would need private health insurance when public healthcare seems sufficient. Well, here's where it gets interesting - having private health insurance can sometimes be one of the strict requirements tied up with your visa conditions as an expat in New Zealand.

It is hard as Americans to imagine life without health insurance so that is why my family has some.  The great thing is that is much cheaper for my family ( about $75/month) and gives us a more extensive healthcare option.


Type of Coverage:  
Public Healthcare Covers emergency services and hospital care, but may not include all medical costs.
Private Health Insurance Provides more comprehensive coverage and can be a visa requirement for expats.

The healthcare system in New Zealand is an excellent example of how public and private options coexist to provide citizens with choices. By understanding the ins-and-outs of both systems, you'll ensure that your move to this beautiful South Pacific paradise is as smooth as possible.

One day my 17-year-old son passed out at dinner.  We called an ambulance, he was taken to the hospital, run through many tests and was released the next day with a total bill of $0!  I have lived in New Zealand for over 8 years now and this still shocks me.


 Relocating to New Zealand means getting familiar with its healthcare system. Kiwis enjoy free hospital care and emergency services, but out-of-pocket costs for general visits or prescriptions are common. Private health insurance might be a visa requirement, offering more comprehensive coverage than public healthcare. Understanding both systems ensures your move is as smooth as possible.

Cost of Living and Financial Requirements in New Zealand

Moving to a new country always raises the question: How will my expenses compare? Good news. The price tag for life in New Zealand is significantly lower than that of the US, coming in at a full 22% cheaper. But, let's get into some specifics.

Find out what it costs us to move to New Zealand!

Estimating Your Moving Costs

To start your journey on solid footing, you'll need to estimate how much it's going to cost for that big move across the Pacific. Luckily there are tools like moving cost calculators that can help you gauge those initial expenses. Everything from shipping household goods with reliable international movers or shipping companies or even comparing different quotes from reputable moving companies is just a click away.

This handy New Zealand Perceived and Actual Share of Immigrants resource provides useful data about immigrants' experiences when relocating to this island nation – financially speaking too.  Also, check out the cost of living details and calculators on the immigration site.

Expense Category Rough Estimate (in USD) Notes
Flight Tickets $1,000 - $2,500 per person Economy class; varies with time of year and exact departure and arrival locations.
Shipping Household Goods $5,000 - $25,000 Depending on the volume (20ft or 40ft container) and type of service (door-to-door vs. port-to-port).
Temporary Accommodation $100 - $300 per night Assuming hotel or short-term rental.
Visa and Immigration Fees $2,000 - $5,000 Depending on visa type and number of family members.
Pets (if applicable) $2,000 - $5,000 per pet Includes quarantine fees, vet checks, and transportation.
Insurance for Move $1,000 - $5,000 Based on the value of goods and level of coverage.
Settling-in Costs $3,000 - $10,000 Utility hookups, buying new items, initial groceries, etc.
Miscellaneous $1,000 - $5,000 Unexpected expenses, replacements for items that got damaged, etc.

Lifestyle Expenses Down Under

When it comes to day-to-day expenses, things generally appear more affordable in New Zealand as well. Whether it's renting a house in the bustling city of Auckland or the picturesque Queenstown area, buying groceries for our family at local supermarkets, or getting around using public transportation or maintaining our own vehicle - everything felt easier on our budget compared to back home.

 Another great aspect was discovering FREE activities that didn't put a strain on our finances but added so much value to our lives here. Whether it was exploring stunning geothermal springs and mud pools scattered across the North Island or enjoying hiking trails amidst breathtaking landscapes throughout the South Island.  Honestly, the best things in New Zealand are free!

Tara's Tips:  Don't move a lot of items with international moving companies.  Just sell and rebuy...that is my 2 cents.  Ship over things like Christmas ornaments and other things that you cannot replace, but that is about it.  Remember the voltage here is different, so you cannot use things like your Kitchenaid mixer without a step-down converter!

Your Dollars Stretch Further Here

We realized pretty quickly that while salaries might appear lower compared to high-income cities in the US, they go much further here due to lower living costs. Plus, New Zealand offers a fantastic work-life balance that's priceless.

Don't just take our word for it—check out Numbeo to get your own financial requirements in order before making the move. Here are some tools and resources you can use to get your own financial requirements in order before making the move:

  • Check out Numbeo for more info.

Living in New Zealand is 22% cheaper than the US, making your dollars stretch further. Tools like moving cost calculators can help estimate initial expenses. Daily costs are more wallet-friendly too, from housing rentals to groceries and transportation. Don't forget about free activities that add richness to life here


Settling into Life in New Zealand

Relocating to a foreign nation such as New Zealand can be both exciting and daunting. When you're relocating from the US to the island nation of New Zealand, these hurdles might seem magnified. But don't worry. As part of my family's journey moving here, I've learned some key insights that should help make your transition smoother.

The first thing we noticed was how friendly and welcoming Kiwis are. It felt like every local we met went out of their way to make us feel at home in our new city. This sense of community made adjusting to life on the North Island much easier than anticipated.

We decided early on that understanding local customs would be crucial for our integration process. According to the 2018 census, immigrants make up about 23% of New Zealand's population – this means there is already a rich tapestry of cultures coexisting harmoniously within this small country.

Tara's Tips:  I have spent years talking with clients and building a community with the resources you need to set up life in New Zealand and thrive.  You will definitely want to check out my services!

Finding Accommodation

Coming for a visit: Best Hotels in Auckland New Zealand

In terms of housing, options range from urban apartments in big cities like Auckland or Wellington, suburban homes outside larger towns or more rural accommodations if you prefer quiet serenity over hustle and bustle. We chose international movers who were very helpful during our move - they gave us free quotes which helped estimate costs accurately while deciding where exactly we wanted to live.

 Tara's Tips:  I highly recommend that you rent first and figure out the school district you wanna be in before you buy as housing in New Zealand can be quite expensive.  If you plan on visiting first (which many do) - check out my guide to the Best Hotels in Auckland NZ

Understanding Local Customs

Kiwis have a great love for outdoor activities thanks partly due to beautiful landscapes ranging from geothermal springs around Rotorua (on North Island) all way down south towards Queenstown Queenstown - known worldwide as 'Adventure Capital'.

Having a good grasp of local customs and traditions can also help ease your transition. The Māori culture, in particular, plays a significant role in New Zealand society. From the traditional haka dance to local festivals like Waitangi Day, embracing these cultural elements will make you feel more at home.


FAQs in Relation to How to Move to New Zealand From US


How hard is it for an American to move to New Zealand?

Moving from the US to New Zealand requires planning, but it's doable. Your success hinges on your visa application and finding work in key industries.

How much money do you need to move to New Zealand?

The cost varies based on factors like lifestyle and location. But expect around $15k for moving expenses plus enough funds to cover living costs until you secure income.  If you are willing to buy items from thrift stores (opportunity shops) than that can save you quite a bit!

How can I permanently move from the US to New Zealand?

To permanently shift, apply for a resident visa after getting a job offer or providing significant financial resources.  There have been a lot of changes recently to the immigration process for permanent residents, so check out the New Zealand immigration site often. (especially after an election)

Can I move to New Zealand without a job?

You could, if granted an investment or retirement visa. But most visas are tied directly or indirectly with having employment there first.  You can come to New Zealand for 90 days a year with your American passport but won't be able to work. 


I hope this article gave you some insight into how to move to New Zealand from the US. The first important step is understanding the different types of visas and their application processes to ensure eligibility. There are plenty of job opportunities available in various sectors, with high demand for positions in hospitality, nursing, and engineering. It's advisable to secure a job offer before immigrating as it can make the process smoother.   The journey may seem long, but every great adventure begins with a small step. So let's take our first step towards learning how to relocate from the US to New Zealand today!  I am here. to help :)

I am here to help you with your move to New Zealand!  Reach out to me anytime and make sure to check out my FREE Masterclass!



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