Moving to New Zealand from the UK
A Complete Guide

Moving to New Zealand for the first time or moving home to New Zealand? This is the guide for you. We cover all the information you need to know, moving costs, visas (for those that need it), an essential checklist, great tips, and even free removal quotes. It’ll make the process seamless. You’ll seen to be able to enjoy the stunning landscape of Aotearoa – Land of the Long White Cloud – as a local. We’re just happy to help get you on your way, so we have created this guide to ensure that you get to Middle Earth in one piece!

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How Much Does it Cost to Move to New Zealand from the UK?

Before we move onto the more fun stuff, it is important that you are aware of how much it costs to move to New Zealand from the UK. With a distance of over 11,000 miles, it shouldn’t come as a shock that the cost of moving to New Zealand can add up, to put it mildly! However, we’re here to prepare you so you know what to expect, especially when it comes to container shipping costs.

When working out how much it cost to move to New Zealand from the UK, there are a couple of crucial factors. The most essential variables are the exact distance and volume of your move. While these are the main variables that affect cost of moving to New Zealand, there are plenty of other factors that affect the cost of moving overseas.

However, we know you are probably itching for some hard and fast numbers, so we have put together this table to give you an initial idea. It contains estimates of the cost of moving from London to Wellington by sea, for different sized properties.

Household SizeTimeCost
1 bedroom apartment9 – 12 weeks£2,900 – £4,000
2 bedroom house6 – 9 weeks£3,900 – £5,300
3 bedroom house6 – 9 weeks£7,000 – £9,400
4 bedroom house6 – 9 weeks£7,400 – £10,000
5 bedroom house6 – 9 weeks£10,600 – £14,200

Disclaimer: the rates shown above are just estimates. Costs will vary depending on your exact point of departure and the service rates of the company.

Air Freight

If you are moving to New Zealand from the UK with only a small volume and strapped for time, you can also opt to transport it via air. Since it usually only takes 8-10 days for your container to arrive, compared to 6-12 week by sea, this is a good option for a quick move. However, there is always a catch. Be prepared to pay in excess of £7,500 for shipping a one-bedroom apartment via airfreight.

Again, these are just estimates and not necessarily the exact price that you’ll be quoted. Therefore, we recommend that you request free moving quotes as it’s the best way to get accurate figures and compare moving companies to New Zealand.

We hope this hasn’t left you with your head in your hands. Need a pick me up? Did you know, New Zealand has some of the world’s best skiing and snowboarding facilities? Not your thing? Maybe Blue Lake, which has the clearest water in the world, is more up your street!


Visas for New Zealand from the UK

Now you know a little more about how much it costs to move to New Zealand from the UK, next on your to-do list is organising your visa. If you’re moving to home to New Zealand or an Australia moving to New Zealand, you can skip this section.

However, anyone else planning on moving to New Zealand more permanently or wishing to be employed there will need a visa.

There are many intricacies to selecting and applying for a visa. Fortunately, the New Zealand government has a great site that explains clearly all the necessary information about visas and applying.

For expediency, we have put together a list of the most common visa types when immigrating to New Zealand to get the ball rolling:

  • Work visa – This applies to you if you are moving to New Zealand for the purpose of employment. It requires sponsorship from your workplace.
  • Working Holiday Visa – Designed for young people who intend to travel and work for a one- or two-year period.
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – If you are deemed to be able to contribute significantly to New Zealand’s economy, or you possess a skill on the Essential Skills in Demand list, you may be eligible for this visa.

Move to New Zealand

Moving to New Zealand from the UK: Checklist

The hard work has yet to start! However, don’t lose hope, we’re here to help. Once you work your way through our moving to New Zealand checklist, those dreams of life in the Land of the Long White Cloud will be one step closer to reality.

Before You Move:

Important documents ✔️

Now you know a little more what visa you might need when moving to New Zealand from the UK, consider this checklist of important documents:

  • Passport
  • Work visa
  • Birth certificate(s)
  • Marriage certificate
  • Academic qualifications
  • Medical records (including dental records and vaccination certificates)
  • References from previous landlords
  • Credit references.

You’ll need some of these for the visa application process, but also for task like finding a house or opening a bank. Once everything is organised, consider duplicating them and keeping them in a safe and accessible place for them.

Finding a moving company to New Zealand ✔️

Let’s be honest: moving to New Zealand is hardly around the corner. It’s therefore essential that you choose the right international moving company. If you are not sure of the best way to go about doing this, start with our list of top eight international removal services. Or just cut to the chase and request free moving quotes to start comparison shopping now!

Pack ✔️

The golden rule of packing is that you can never start too early! We recommend starting at least a month before your move, of course if you declutter before that it’s even better. Embrace your inner Marie Kondo and only keep what really need or sparks joy! If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a look at our expert packing tips.

Transporting your vehicle ✔️

Given that New Zealand’s car ownership rates is one of the highest in the world (2.5 mil cars for 4 mil people including kids!) it is unsurprising if you too want to import your car when moving to New Zealand from the UK.

If this is the case, you are in luck! Unlike some countries, importing your car to New Zealand is in fact possible, provided you have the financial means to do so. Transporting a car costs around £1,500-£2,000, with an additional £400 to clear customs. Alternatively, why not sell your car in the UK and check out New Zealand’s thriving second-hand car market?

Moving to New Zealand with pets ✔️

If you’re moving to New Zealand with a dog or a cat, you can either; have the pet on the same journey as you or find an airline that specializes in moving pets. However, your pet needs to meet certain requirements. Therefore, be sure to consider the following list of costs and requirements before your pet boards the plane:

  • Make sure that all of your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. This includes a rabies vaccination 6 – 12 months before moving. This is likely to cost around £400.
  • An import permit costs NZ$220.74 (around £125).
  • Transport. As discussed above air transport is the most efficient and most common way. We recommend a budget of around £2,000 (however this depends on the size and weight of the animal).
  • All pets imported from the UK must be quarantined for a minimum of 10 days. This is likely to cost between NZ$1,400 and NZ$2,000 (£800 – £1,200) including transportation and government inspection fees.

Got an exotic pet, or even a hamster or rabbit? We’ll get the bad news out of the way first – unfortunately, apart from cats and dogs, it is forbidden to import a pet to New Zealand. Therefore, it might be a good idea to rehome your pets with a new loving family, we understand it’s hard to let a member of the family go.

For more information on this, visit the New Zealand government’s pet import policy.

Did you know? There are no, yes absolutely no, snakes in New Zealand! So, you will really be in trouble if pet snakes are your thing…

Taxes ✔️

Unless you want your new life to be taxed in UK, you must inform HMRC when you move abroad.

Once You Arrive:

Register ✔️

The first crucial step to complete when moving to New Zealand is registering and receiving an IRD number, which is essential to work. It’s also used for tax calculation, so you really can’t work with out one. Read more about it here!

Bank account ✔️

Opening a local bank account is essential to settling in New Zealand. You’ll find it difficult to use your bank in the UK and conversion fees will be a notable drain on your funds. Consider opening a local bank account with some of the following banks if you are not clued up on the topic:

Healthcare ✔️

Feeling like moving to New Zealand is breaking the bank? If so, you will be pleased to know that healthcare in The Antipodean country is often free or heavily subsidised. Under a mutual agreement, all Brits, even those on temporary visas, have access to free urgent medical care.

That being said, 35% New Zealanders opt for private health insurance to cover non-urgent treatment, so this might be something you want to consider as well. The Telegraph provides a useful rundown of the healthcare system in New Zealand.

Driving licence ✔️

Do you intend to move to New Zealand from the UK for less than a year? Then hurrah! You can use your UK driving licence, no trouble. However, if you intend to stay longer than a year, you will have to switch to a local licence.

Ticking off everything on this checklist will ensure that you are well on your way to a smooth move to New Zealand from the UK. However, if you are a lover of checklists and want even more to cross off, check out our moving abroad checklist. Soon you will become a real moving boffin!

Working in New Zealand?

Lucky enough to already have a job or not need one? Then skip this section. However, we imagine that for most of you finding work is not something to brush over.

Work culture in New Zealand is generally considered pleasant and friendly. While there is an expectation to work hard, this is balanced with an emphasis on spending quality time with friends and family outside of work. Sounds like moving to New Zealand can’t come soon enough!

On the flip side, finding employment in New Zealand does not always come easy, so get thinking and check out the following online portals to get you started:

Furthermore, the New Zealand government has great advice for finding a job. This is a great resource for adapting to the local job market with advice on preparing your CV and interview techniques. It’s a must when looking for a job as you plan your move to New Zealand.

Of course, your ability to find work will be dependent on the exact terms of your visa, so make sure you check this. Although this may all seem a little overwhelming, we trust that your move to New Zealand from the UK is going to be a blast!

Did you know? New Zealand has won more Olympic gold medals per capital than any other country! So, brush up on your sporting endeavours before you arrive 😉

Moving to New Zealand for its beautiful landscape

Finding a Home in New Zealand

Jumping into a new housing market can make your head spin, and it’s even harder to start searching abroad. Of course, if you’re moving back to New Zealand or have family and friends living there, you are at an advantage since they can help you scout for a place to live.

If it’s your first time, an expensive tip is to take a holiday to New Zealand first. As a UK resident, you have visa free entry for 6 months, which can be useful to visit and explore housing. Otherwise, renting temporary accommodation is the best way to start. We also recommend doing some research on the market. You can find a lot of useful information on the this New Zealand government website.

Just to give you an idea of what you can expect for accommodation, here’s a table that compares London to the capital city of Wellington and the most populated city, Auckland.

1 bedroom£1,700£1,050£1,000
3 bedroom£3,200£1,700£1,700
City Centre Price/m2£11,250£3,650£6,250
Outside Centre Price/m2£5,600£2,500£4,550

The Cost of Living in New Zealand

Much like calculating how much money you need to move to New Zealand from the UK, there are no blanket figures for the cost of living there. On average, living in New Zealand costs approximately 8.4% more than in the UK. However, this will depend largely on where exactly you choose to relocate to, and your personal lifestyle.

Want to know how much your morning coffee will cost? Or how much to budget for petrol? We have created the following table comparing common cost of living metrics in the UK and New Zealand.

MetricUKNew Zealand
Rent for a one bedroom apartment in the city centre£758£819
Basic monthly utilities for an 85m2 apartment£156£91
1L of milk£0.91£1.35
0.5L of draught beer£3.63£4.63
1L of gasoline£1.27£1.12

Want to venture outside the main cities to save some money on living costs? Good idea! Perhaps you could even check out Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauo​tamateaturipukakapikimaungahoro​nukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu – yes that’s right, the longest single word place name is in New Zealand!

Ready to Move to New Zealand?

Phew! That was seriously hardcore, so before we go any further, we want to congratulate you for making it through this article. Rest assured, that although it may feel like you have mountains to organise at the moment, when you are happily settled in one of the world’s most beautiful countries, it will all be worth it.

Moving to Aotearoa is a real adventure, be it moving for the first or if you’re moving back to New Zealand! But if your nerves are still making you feel shaky, continue to explore the Sirelo website to find other pages which help you move with a smile 😊

In the meantime, good luck and happy moving!

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