Immigration Consultancy Services

We work with Tim McSweeney and his team at Turner Hopkins who offer a fully comprehensive immigration consultancy service. They offer advice and expertise in the following areas:
• Assessments of eligibility – to ensure that the goal, be it a visitor visa or residence, is realistic and achievable;
• Representation for and assistance with applications for all visa categories;
• Business Visas - Investor 1 and 2 categories;
• Assisting employers with recruitment and to protect against breaches of the Immigration Act;
• Assistance and intervention in cases involving medical or character issues;
• Representation and assistance for those facing deportation action.

Partner Visas for Kiwis Returning Home


The below commentary has been supplied by Tim McSweeney of Turner Hopkins.

As the partner of a New Zealand resident or citizen, you can join your partner in New Zealand where you meet certain requirements. The process involved often appears straight forward, but there are some restrictive interpretations that limit the capacity of New Zealand citizens and residents to support their partner's applications.

In addition, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) insistence on evidence being original or certified copies, in an electronic age often creates difficulty. The stereotypical concept of couples merging their asset base can also cause problems.

We have created the following as a general guide to what is required when applying for either a Partnership Based Visitor, Work, or Resident Visa.

Note: Border restrictions are currently in place to stop the spread of Covid-19. As the partner of a NZ citizen or resident, not already holding a visa based on this relationship, you may still be able to travel to NZ. But you must be travelling with your New Zealand citizen or resident partner, and, you will need to make a request to travel, in order to confirm that you are able to do so – we have outlined the process for this below at 5.

1. General Requirements for Partnership Based Visas

1.1 A partner may be granted a visa where INZ is satisfied, by evidence provided in an application that:

1.2 The visa applicant and their partner meet the minimum requirements for recognition of partnerships, including both being over the age of 18 (or if aged 16 or 17 they have guardian support); and they are not close relatives.

1.3 The NZ partner supports the application and is of ‘good character’.

1.4 The couple are living together in a genuine and stable partnership. Essentially, this means the relationship has been entered into with the intention of being maintained on a long-term and exclusive basis.

1.4.1 Factors INZ will consider in its assessment of whether a couple are living together in a partnership that is genuine and stable may include:

o The duration of the couple’s relationship.
o The degree of financial interdependence.
o Common ownership of assets.
o The couple’s ‘commitment’ to a shared life.
o Public recognition of the couple’s relationship.

1.4.2 Sufficient evidence, from documents, other corroborating evidence, or interviews will need to show the couple are:

o ‘credible’ in any statements or evidence provided to INZ.
o ‘living together’ unless there are compelling reasons for separation.
o ‘genuine’ in their reasons for entering the relationship
o In a ‘stable relationship’ that is likely to endure.

1.5 Dependent children cannot be included in temporary applications (Partnership Based Visitor or Work Visas), but they can apply for visas based on their relationship to the applicant.

1.6 Mandatory application forms are required.

2. Partnership Based Visitor Visa

2.1 This visa enables the partner of a New Zealander a stay of up to 24 months in NZ; it does not allow you to work, but you can study for up to 3 months.
2.2 The NZ partner must be eligible to support a partnership-based resident visa application within 12 months of the grant of the visa.
2.3 The applicant and their NZ partner need to stay in NZ for the same period.

3. Partnership Based Work Visa

3.1 This visa enables the partner of a New Zealander a stay of up to 24 months in NZ (but, you can apply for residence based on your partnership); it allows the holder to work in NZ, and to study for up to 3 months.

3.2 An applicant for this visa will need to meet an Acceptable Standard of Health. This is broadly
determined as being unlikely to be a danger to public health or impose costs or demands on New Zealand's health services during their period of intended stay in NZ. Therefore, a medical exam will be required.

3.2 Character checks will be required for applicants who intend to stay in NZ for longer than 24 months. Police clearance certificates will be required from the applicant’s country of citizenship; and any country in which they have lived for five or more years (whether on one visit or intermittently) since attaining the age of 17 years.

4. Partnership Based Resident Visa

4.1 This visa allows the partner of a New Zealander to live, work and study in NZ permanently. Dependent children aged below 25 can be included in the partner's application.

4.2 Applicants must meet the Acceptable Standard of Health criteria; and character checks, which require Police clearance certificates from the applicant’s country of citizenship and any country they have lived for 12 months in the last 10 years.

4.3 The applicant must have lived with their NZ partner for at least 12 months (NOTE: this is mandatory for a Resident Visa, but not for a Visitor or Work Visa).

4.4 Where the applicant and NZ partner have lived together outside of New Zealand for 5 years or more, you may be granted a permanent resident visa. In this case, the partner will need to be either overseas when you apply or have been back in New Zealand for less than 3 months.

5. Critical Purpose Visa Visitor Visa (under Covid-19 regulations)

5.1 Under current border closure arrangements, a partner of a New Zealander who does not currently hold a visa based on this partnership will need to submit an Expression of Interest to travel to INZ.

5.1.1 If successful an applicant will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for a Critical Purpose Visa – generally within 2 days.
5.1.2 On receipt of the ITA a Critical Purpose Visa will need to be applied for within 1 month. These visas are valid for travel for 6 months and expire 12 months after the first date of arrival.

5.2 On arrival in New Zealand visa holders will be tested for COVID-19 and will need to undergo 14-day managed isolation in a government approved facility (hotel).

5.2.1 A visa holder is required to book a place in managed isolation via a voucher system – without a voucher confirming allocation in a managed Isolation facility you are unable to board a flight to NZ.
5.2.2 There is no charge for managed isolation for partners of New Zealanders who are exempt from payment. NZ citizens and residents are exempt from payment unless they are: currently overseas and only returning to NZ for less than 90 days; or, they have left NZ after the regulations came into effect (12.01am on 11 August 2020) and return at a later date.

5.3 Holders of Critical Purpose Visitor Visas do not have work rights. However, you may apply for subsequent visas on arrival in NZ e.g. work visa.

6. Summary

6.1 The pathway to NZ for partners of NZ citizens or residents can be extremely complex. Therefore, It is important to understand your rights and obligations under NZ immigration law from the start of the process – we suggest you seek expert advice on what is required from the beginning, in order to determine the best way forward.
6.2 Establishing that a ‘genuine and stable’ relationship exists is often not straight forward. INZ assess applications against specific criteria that call for a range of documentation that is often not easy to come by and takes time to gather. Specific advice should be taken on this to avoid delays or negative outcomes.
6.3 Covid-19 has exacerbated a process that is often lengthy and difficult, and Immigration regulations are constantly changing to adjust for this. It is important to stay abreast of the latest developments to this process to give yourself the greatest chance of success.



Why work with Turner Hopkins?

  1. Turner Hopkins is a multi-service law firm that was established in 1923. We have a specialist immigration team that are experts in NZ immigration law.
  2. Some of our team are migrants too, so we understand this process not just from a policy perspective, but, from the emotional side also. Migration is often the biggest decision a person will make in their lifetime. Our team also speak a range of languages, we will endeavour to cater for your circumstances in any way we can.
  3. We work across all immigration related matters and can advise the most efficient and cost-effective pathway for you.
  4. We take a flexible approach, offering clear practical advice to clients at every stage of the process.