One of the ways through which a person can migrate to New Zealand (NZ) is by applying for partner visas. Unlike many countries which grant the right to apply for partner visas only for married persons, New Zealand expands this right to other categories of couples.
Thus, one can apply for a partner visa in NZ in one of the next 3 situations: 1) a legal marriage, 2) a civil union, 3) a de facto relationship. This right is granted to couples comprised of opposite sex partners or to same-sex couples.
Persons who want to obtain a New Zealand partner visa are invited to request in-depth information on the procedure from our immigration lawyer in New Zealand.
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What are the main conditions for a partner visa in NZ?
The law on immigration in New Zealand regulates the main conditions applicants have to satisfy in order to be eligible for this type of visa. Depending on the spouse visa in New Zealand that is most suitable for the applicant, conditions can vary, but in most cases they will refer to the following:
- being able to prove that the relationship is a real relationship and a stable one;
- living together in the same house/apartment;
- the partner of the applicant lives in New Zealand;
- the partner living in New Zealand is a New Zealand citizen or the holder of residence permit;
- the holder of spouse visa in New Zealand and the partner are committed to the relationship on a long term basis;
- the relationship is a public one, in the sense that family and friends and other social groups know about it.
What visas are suitable for a spouse visa in New Zealand?
There are several categories of visas that are suitable for the partner visa in NZ. The law on immigration in New Zealand distinguishes between 3 main categories: 1) visitor visa, 2) work visa, 3) residence visa.
However, one of the most common ways to migrate to New Zealand for the purpose of living here with a partner or with a spouse is through the Partner of a New Zealander Residence Visa.
Some of the highlights of this spouse visa in New Zealand are presented below:
- for applicants who applied outside the country, it is mandatory to arrive in New Zealand in a period of maximum 12 months since the approval of the partner visa in NZ;
- this visa allows applicants to include in their application any dependent children with an age of maximum 24 years old;
- if the applicant and the partner (who is a New Zealand citizen) lived outside New Zealand for more than 5 years, the 2 can be entitled to receive the permanent residency visa;
- for the above mentioned case, the partner has to be outside New Zealand at the moment of the application or in New Zealand for less than 3 months;
- visa holders must relocate their visa on a new passport, if the passport expires during the visa validity (this is done by completing the Form INZ 1023).
Age requirements for the New Zealand partner visa
Amongst many other basic requirements, the applicant (and the partner) must meet certain age requirements in order for their marriage/relationship to be recognized by the local authorities.
Thus, a person can apply for the New Zealand partner visa if both the applicant and the partner have an age of at least 18 years old.
There is an exemption from this rule, which states that the partner visa in NZ is still available for those under the age of 18. Thus, if 1 partner (or both) have an age above 16 years old, but below 18, they can still apply for it as long as their parents (or legal guardians) provide their consent.
The New Zealand partner visa can be acquired through visitor visas. There are 4 options in this sense: 1) partner of a student visitor visa, 2) partner of a New Zealander visitor visa, 3) partner of a military visitor visa, 4) partner of a worker visitor visa.
What documents are necessary for the partner visa in NZ?
All applicants who want to obtain a visa for New Zealand are asked to provide various documents in order for the local authorities to see if the respective applicants meet the conditions of each visa type.
So, regardless if one applies for a short-term visa or a long-term one, specific documents must be prepared and this also applies for the New Zealand partner visa.
The New Zealand immigration authorities will ask in this particular situation to present the following:
- certificates that attest the marriage or the civil union of the partners interested in the spouse visa in New Zealand (not required for those who are simply in a relationship, of course);
- proof of having a long-term based relationship and this also includes correspondence and other communication between the 2 partners;
- the couple must also present photos of the 2 of them taken over the time;
- evidence on spending actual time together;
- birth certificates of children of the couple, where it is applicable, and/or evidence of various arrangements where shared parenting occurs;
- proof of living at the same residential address.
These are just some of the main documents an applicant can expect to prepare for the application for the spouse visa in New Zealand.
The visa application process also includes an interview with the local immigration authorities, who are allowed to inquire about many private matters concerning the couple’s life together, in order to verify the validity of the relationship.
So, applicants of the partner visa in NZ can expect to answer questions related to the following:
- the period of time when the couple started dating;
- the average time that the couple spends together;
- the dynamic of the domestic life – how are the house chores shared, who is responsible for what, etc.;
- the current situation of residency – where they live, how they live, if they want to live together further on and in what conditions;
- details concerning the property ownership situation – common properties, individual properties, etc.;
- details regarding the fact that the society (family, close friends and other social circles) recognizes and accepts the relationship.
What is the processing time of the partner visa in NZ?
It is important to be aware of the fact that the processing of the partner visa in NZ can take a long period of time. The shortest duration to process the spouse visa in New Zealand is of 6 months.
This is generally the case of 50% of the applications received by the New Zealand officials. 75% of the applications take approximately 8 months, while most of the applications (90%) are completed in a period of 13 months.
So, if you want to apply for the partner visa in NZ, you should make all the necessary arrangements based on this timeframe.
Another important matter that you must know is that the main decision factor for the issuance of the New Zealand partner visa is the immigration officer who deals with your case.
If the immigration officer will not be satisfied with the information obtained from the applicant and the partner/spouse, it is possible to reject the issuance of the visa.
The immigration officer will allow a foreigner to relocate to New Zealand under this visa type if all the below mentioned criteria are fulfilled:
- living together;
- genuine partnership;
- stable partnership.
Applicants who meet, let’s say, only 3 of the 4 conditions, will not be issued with the partner visa in NZ, as all the above are the pillars of this visa system.
You can rely on our immigration lawyer if you need to find out other conditions that can apply for the New Zealand partner visa.
If you want to find out information on the documents you must prepare for the spouse visa in NZ, please send an e-mail or call our immigration lawyer in New Zealand.
If you will be moving from USA to New Zealand and you want to apply for a partner visa, please rely on our team for professional assistance on all the procedures involved in the issuance of the visa.
Of course, our lawyers can represent foreign nationals of other countries and our team can provide tailored assistance to all applicants, to ensure the most favorable outcome for the partner visa.
Our lawyer can also provide legal assistance if you want to know the process of obtaining residency in New Zealand on account of the relationship/marriage with the New Zealand citizen/permanent resident.
There are several ways to obtain residency and the formalities involved can differ based on the visa the foreigner obtained when arriving in the country (the required documents vary from one visa type to another).