Moving to New Zealand
Everything About How to Move to New Zealand from the US

If moving to New Zealand is in your plans, you’ve come to the right place. Because we understand that moving to the Land of the Long White Cloud will require you to perform some serious research, we compiled everything you need to know about a move to New Zealand below. Read on to start your moving adventure! 😉

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But wait! Are you a music lover? If yes, we recommend that you accompany this light reading with the New Zealand inspired playlist below —ultimate reading experience!

Listen to our Spotify playlist
and get ready to move!

Listen to our Spotify playlist
and get ready to move!

Moving to New Zealand: How Much Does It Cost?

First things first –one of the most important things to consider when moving to New Zealand is how much it actually costs. There are many factors that can make the costs of your move to New Zealand higher or lower, but generally the most important ones are the size of your move and distance of your move.

Tip!: Unsure how to calculate the size of your move? Our trusty moving space calculator is here to help.

Moving to New Zealand from the East Coast

To give you an idea of what you can expect, below you can find the average cost of moving different household sizes to New Zealand via sea-freight from the East Coast of the United States.

Property SizeTimeCosts
1-bedroom8 – 11 weeks$3,400 – $4,700
2-bedrooms6 – 8 weeks$4,600 – $6,200
3-bedrooms6 – 8 weeks$8,100 – $10,900
4-bedrooms6 – 8 weeks$8,600 – $11,500

Please keep in mind that the rates shown above are just estimates and thus will vary depending on your actual point of departure.

Moving to New Zealand from the West Coast

Likewise, the table below shows you the average cost of moving different household sizes to New Zealand via sea-freight from the West Coast of the United States.

Property SizeTimeCosts
1-bedroom7 – 10 weeks$3,100 – $4,300
2-bedrooms5 – 7 weeks$4,100 – $5,700
3-bedrooms5 – 7 weeks$7,200 – $9,800
4-bedrooms5 – 7 weeks$7,700 – $10,400

Please keep in mind that the rates shown above are just estimates and thus will vary depending on your actual point of departure.

At the end of the day, one of the most complicated things to estimate during a move are the total costs. The only way you will be able to know for certain how much your move to New Zealand will cost is by requesting moving quotes.

Moving to New Zealand?
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Moving to New Zealand from the US: Checklist

Want to put your memory up to test? Then we dare you to remember every little thing that needs to get one before, during and after your move to New Zealand. Even though we trust that you’re more than capable of remembering all the details on your own, we recommend that you take note of the following points highlighted below to make sure you’re fully covered!

Checklist highlighting the main points of moving to New Zealand

Tip!: Need a handy and comprehensive checklist? We got you 😉 Our moving abroad checklist covers every little detail you might need to remember.

Visas and Residencies: What Are the Requirements?

If you’re planning on making the Land of the Long White Cloud your forever home, there’s a few application processes you first must go through. Depending on your reason for moving to New Zealand, you can apply for a study visa, a work visa, or for permanent residency (which often requires you to apply for a specific type of work visa).

The general documents you’ll need for visa applications in New Zealand include:

How to Move to New Zealand for Work

New Zealand offers a range of different work visas, all of which are temporary but some could potentially lead to permanent residency. For such, you will have three different options:

  • Essential skills visas: This type of visa are intended to fill temporary skill gaps in the New Zealand job market. You can easily find out if your skills are needed in New Zealand through the skills shortage checker. Generally, this type of visa allows you to stay in the country between 1 and 5 years.
  • Work to residence – Long term skill shortage: If you have a long-term job offer in one of the occupations listed on the long term skill shortage list, as well as experience that match, you can apply for a this type of visa. You’ll also need to meet age, health and character requirements which you can check out here.
  • Work to residence – Accredited employer: If you have a long-term or permanent job from an accredited employer, you can apply for a work to residence visa. As well, you’ll need to meet certain age, health and character requirements.

Moving to New Zealand to Study

If you’re planning on moving to New Zealand to study, you’ll need to apply for a student visa. The requirements for this type of visa includes:

  • An offer of place from an educational institution approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority;
  • If you’re under 18 years old, you must provide a written guarantee from an institution or person indicating that suitable accommodation is available for you;
  • Proof of sufficient funds to live on during your studies;
  • A return ticket to your home country, or proof of sufficient funds to purchase one.

Other Types of Visas

Besides the two types of visas we mentioned above, there are two other visa possibilities offered by the New Zealand government:

  • Visas to invest: Among these types of visas, you can find investor visas, entrepreneur visas, and global impact visas.
  • Visas for partners and children: Your dependent children are eligible to join you in New Zealand. As well, your partners can join you as long as you both meet certain requirements.

Moving to New Zealand: Auckland Skyline

Healthcare System in New Zealand

New Zealand’s healthcare system is built around the idea that everyone gets a fair go in life. On the basis of such a humanitarian approach, New Zealand residents and some of the work visa holders can benefit from the country’s public healthcare system either for free or at a very low cost. To check if you’re eligible for this subsided healthcare option, check out the requirements here.

If you feel more comfortable having an American insurance, we recommend taking out an international health insurance instead.

Costs of Living in New Zealand

Another key point to tick off from your how to move to New Zealand list is understanding what are the costs of living in this country. Currently, New Zealand ranks as the 20th most expensive country to live in. But don’t let this ranking scare you off! The United States ranks as 24, so the costs won’t be as different as you might think.

To give you a better idea, we have broken down the costs into 3 different categories: housing, food and groceries and leisure.


When it comes to housing, property and rent prices will largely vary depending on the city of your choice. However, you can expect rent prices to be, on average, around NZ$1,560 (US$979) for a one-bedroom apartment and around NZ$2,450 (US$1,577) for a three-bedroom one. If you’re interested in purchasing a property instead, the average price of a home varies between NZ$500,000 and NZ$700,000.

Food and Groceries

Do you have a passion for cooking and want to find out how much cooking a delicious meal at home will cost approximately cost you? We have compiled a list of prices below to give you an idea of what you can expect in terms of prices for a few common grocery items.

Carton of 12 large eggsNZ$7
1 qt. of milkNZ$2.15
16 0z. of cheeseNZ$6
1 lb. of chicken filetNZ$7
2 lb. of applesNZ$4.06
1 lb. of beef roundNZ$8.57
Loaf of fresh breadNZ$2.21
1 lb. of potatoesNZ$1.41
Bottle of wineNZ$15

If you’re a big fan of eating out, you’d probably be interested in knowing that dinner costs in New Zealand range around NZ$98 to NZ$61. Usually, breakfast and lunch prices are a bit below dinner costs.


New Zealand is famous for the great work-life balance of its residents. So, even if your move is strictly work-related, you will have the opportunity to have a lot of fun exploring the country’s beautiful nature and city-life. A rough estimate of what you can expect to pay for several entertainment activities in New Zealand are summarized below.

PlanAverage Cost
Single ticket to the Auckland MuseumNZ$25
Two tickets to the moviesNZ$33
A cappuccino in a local caféNZ$5
Two tickets to the theaterNZ$216
Monthly gym membershipNZ$72

Moving to New Zealand: Auckland

Banking in New Zealand

Even though financial matters are tedious, it’s something you unfortunately will have to deal with before starting your life abroad. One of the most important things you should do before moving to New Zealand is opening a bank account in the country. To do this, you will need to send in an email application to your bank of choice containing the following documents:

  • Proof of identification;
  • Proof of address (only a New Zealand address can be used!);
  • Copy of your visa;
  • Your personal tax identification number.

The sooner you get this done, the sooner you’ll be able to transfer your money to your New Zealand bank account and be all set for your move!

Taxes in New Zealand

Taxes, taxes, taxes… everyone’s favorite topic. When it comes to taxes, we recommend that you check out the New Zealand Government’s website for further information about personal taxes, business taxes and much more.

Generally, it’s important that you keep in mind that as a US citizen, your income is still subject to U.S. income tax regardless of where you live. So, it’s important that you carefully check what the tax implications are when moving abroad.

Moving to New Zealand for Work

The New Zealand government estimates that, annually, the country will need around 47,000 more workers. This is good news if work is the reason why you’re planning a move to New Zealand! In general, job offerings will be the largest in the following sectors:

  • Business services;
  • Construction and utilities;
  • Health care and social assistance;
  • Education.

We know job-seeking can be a hassle, so here are some platforms we recommend to get you started with your search:

  • Indeed;
  • LinkedIn;
  • Workhere (Tip!: great if you’re seeking a job from outside New Zealand);
  • Seek.

Did You Know…?

  • People from New Zealand are most commonly referred to as “Kiwis”;
  • There are 9 sheep per person in New Zealand, which roughly adds up to 43 million sheep in the whole country;
  • All but one of the scenes of the Lord of the Rings movies were shot in New Zealand;
  • New Zealand is the 3rd country closest to Antartica.

We hope that after reading this article you feel all ready to become a Kiwi yourself! 🥝 If you feel like you still need some extra help, we recommend that you check out the articles we have linked for you below.