What To Do When Your Relationship Doesn’t Tick All of Immigration New Zealand’s Boxes

It is becoming increasing common for relationships to form online with one partner being a New Zealand citizen or resident living in New Zealand, and the other partner being a foreign national living offshore. During the formative stages of these relationships couples often spend little time in each other’s presence, despite regular email, social media, phone, and skype contact. The couple may have only met in person a handful of times by visiting each other’s respective countries before deciding that they want to live together in New Zealand on a more permanent basis.

If the non-New Zealand partner isn’t eligible to apply for a visa in their own right (for example by meeting the criteria to apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa or a Skilled Migrant Category Visa etc.) then obtaining a visa can present some challenges. This is due to the non-New Zealand partner being unlikely to meet the criteria for a Partnership-based temporary visa or a General Visitor Visa because:

  • A couple must be living together in a genuine and stable relationship in order for the non-New Zealand partner to be eligible to apply for a Partnership-Based visa. It won’t suffice to temporarily stay together offshore at the time the application is made.

  • A General Visitor Visa can only be granted to a bona fide/genuine visitor (i.e. someone who genuinely intends to leave New Zealand at the end of their stay as a visitor). If the non-New Zealand partner is entering New Zealand on a visitor visa with the intention of applying for another visa once in New Zealand, they are not a bona fide visitor. If it comes to Immigration New Zealand’s attention that a person entered New Zealand on a visitor visa when they weren’t a bona fide visitor, their immigration status can be put in jeopardy, and it may be difficult for them to it obtain New Zealand visas in the future.

But it’s not all bad news. Pitt & Moore Lawyers regularly assist clients is this predicament by successfully helping non-New Zealand partners to enter New Zealand correctly, and with a pathway to residence.

The first step is to apply for the initial visa (being the visa which allows the partner to enter New Zealand) in the right way. This means selecting the most appropriate type of visa to apply for, requesting the correct exception to Immigration Instructions, and providing specific evidence tailored to the circumstances with that application. It’s also important that Immigration New Zealand are fully informed about what is intended right from the start. Once the non-New Zealand partner is in New Zealand and living with their New Zealand partner we can then assist with the next steps.

Immigration New Zealand have recently indicated that they will be making changes to the way they process these types of visa applications in the future, to ensure consistency across their international branches. Pitt & Moore Lawyers have kept abreast of these developments so that our client’s don’t experience any unnecessary hiccups.

How Pitt & Moore can help

If you and your non-New Zealand partner are living in different countries and want a future together in New Zealand, then we can help with the visa application process. We also offer an initial free 15 minute consultation to all new clients to discuss your particular circumstances and what services we can provide.

What sets us apart is that we are experts in each step of the immigration process. This means that we can advise on all immigration and visa related issues.

Talk to us

If you would like advice on this topic or any other immigration related issue please contact our Immigration Team today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended as legal advice. It is important that you seek legal advice that is specific to your circumstances.

Topics: All Select

Heather Collins

Position: Associate
Email: heather.collins@pittandmoore.co.nz
DDI: +64 3 545 6702