You can apply for a permanent resident visa after you have held a resident visa for 2 years without interruption.
You must have also met any conditions imposed on your Resident Visa which can include a sponsorship period of up to 5 years.
If your resident visa is subject to a sponsorship period of five years, you are not therefore able to apply for a permanent resident visa until 5 years after your first day in NZ as a resident.
Please refer to the Immigration New Zealand Website for information about the requirements for a permanent resident visa, as well as how to apply for a permanent resident visa.
If the travel conditions on your resident visa have expired, or will expire while you are outside New Zealand, you will need to apply for either a variation of travel conditions or a permanent resident visa.
If your resident visa has recently expired because you were outside NZ after the travel conditions on your resident visa expired, you may in some circumstances, be eligible for a second or subsequent resident visa.
This answer was last updated on 27 February, 2013.
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