What to do if you’re going to be deported

“Help, I’m going to be deported! I have to leave the country tomorrow!”

We often hear a variation of this theme down the phone line. Someone calls up because Immigration Officers have turned up at their doorstep, they have been taken into custody, they have had a visa declined, or they get a letter from Immigration New Zealand telling them that they have to leave New Zealand. Any number of things can happen that trigger deportation liability, so no two situations are ever completely the same. We have seen a very noticeable increase in the number of people coming to us who are threatened with deportation – why is this the case?

With Australia’s increasing hard line on immigrants having an impact on New Zealand (both for people who have been deported from Australia trying to get a visa for New Zealand and for the increasingly hard line we are seeing from Immigration New Zealand (INZ) possibly as a result) it is becoming more and more common for us to see people who are getting visas declined and then subsequently getting threatened with removal from the country. If you are in New Zealand and already hold a visa, criminal convictions can be another trigger for deportation liability later on down the track – especially when you go to apply for your Permanent Resident Visa (PRV).

Whatever the cause of your potential deportation liability, it is a scary situation to be in and is something that we don’t like seeing any person to have to go through. However, if something like this does happen to you, what happens? Here is my take on three very frequently asked questions:

1: Do I have to leave New Zealand straight away?

In many cases, the answer is no. If you have a visa declined or you are here unlawfully, INZ’s letters can make it seem as though you must leave straight away or you will be whisked away by Police in the middle of the night. This is often not the case. Most people, depending on when their visa was declined or whatever scenario you find yourself in, have appeal rights which prevent INZ from taking deportation action immediately. However, it is vital that if you believe there is a chance you might be deported that you contact us straight away. Time is of the essence, especially as many appeal rights have strict deadlines for submission.

  1. What are my chances of being able to stay in New Zealand?

It largely depends on why you are liable for deportation. In general, the stronger the connections you have with New Zealand, the better your chances of staying. If you have family here, particularly if they are New Zealand citizens and residents, this can work in your favour. In the case of criminal convictions, the severity of the offence and the offending has a corresponding impact on your chances of staying – for example, a person convicted of common assault might have a better chance of fighting deportation than someone who is convicted of murder. However, every case is different and there are many things that can work in your favour. We know what works and what doesn’t and can give you advice on how realistic your chances of staying are.

  1. If I am deported, will I ever be able to come back to New Zealand?

In a limited number of cases; yes, you might be able to come back one day. However, in general, if you are deported from New Zealand then you might be best to forget ever trying to come back. There are statutory bans on re-entry into New Zealand if you have been deported (often either two or five years) if you have been here unlawfully. However, some more serious causes of deportation liability (like serious criminal convictions, or immigration fraud) can lead to a permanent ban. You are far better off trying to fight against deportation at the outset, rather than trying to get back to New Zealand once you are already gone.

Get advice ASAP

If there is one thing to take away from all of this – if you, a friend or a family member find yourselves in trouble and think you might be deported, contact us immediately. In many cases we can overcome the odds and help keep you in New Zealand. However, leaving things too late can mean you lose any chance you have of staying.

Fighting deportation is a very stressful, long, time consuming and expensive process. However, it is much better to get go out and get good advice, to give yourself the best chance of staying in New Zealand.


This entry was posted in Immigration Problems, Immigration Visas and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to What to do if you’re going to be deported

  1. Jan Coetsee says:

    I am gladly sharing this article on Safri-Kiwi (South Africans in New Zealand)’s Facebook Forum.


    • Mathew Martin - Staff Solicitor says:

      Thank you so much Jan, we appreciate that and hope that it helps anyone facing this unfortunate situation.


  2. Sandra says:

    Hi My Name is Sandra and i would like to know if my Daughter can come back to New Zealnd.
    She was Deported two times as she was doing illegal job.
    She’s got a kid that was born in nz in 2008 and 2 overseas.
    She’s in a very risky situation at the moment and all her family lives here.
    Myself and her father are Nz Cityzens and her brother and sister are Permanent Residents.
    Is there anything we could do to bring her back to nz ?


    • It sounds extremely unlikely that she would get any visa to come back here. She may need to seek a Special Direction from the Minister of Immigration to overcome her deportations. She would need to show some really extraordinary reason why she had to be in New Zealand, and provide extensive evidence of why she is in a “risky situation”.
      We do deal successfully with such cases sometimes, and we suggest that she should engage professional assistance to make any sort of request for visa.


  3. Shahi Marasi says:


    I’ve been charged with 1 count of Injury with intent to injure and 2 counts of Assault with intent to injure related to domestic violence (It’s all BS btw). I’ve been a resident for more than 5 years. My lawyer says because the evidence is weak I’m very unlikelly to go jail but in case I am convicted for even a fine or home detention, will I be liable for deportation?


  4. Keita Hapuku says:

    My partners partnership work visa was declined also section 61….can we apply section 61 again and appeal our case…our baby boy will be due on 10 sep 2017….it will be a year being together on 5th sep 2017 our relationship is genuine we have all the evidence and proof provided its just one mistake i made in a statement to winz when i cut off my benefit…my partner may be liable for deportation…can we apply again??


  5. Jaganath says:

    Hi there!
    My work visa got declined, as I was on Interim visa for that period and got a letter from immigration stating that my work visa has been declined and I am liable for deportation.
    I am really nervous and really don’t know what to do.
    I have consulted few immigration advisers but still I am not satisfied with their approach. I had no other options as time was running out, so opted to go with one immigration advisor and applied for section 61 visa.
    Is there any other possible way to deal with this problem.
    Could you help me in this situation?


  6. Lisa says:

    Hi , my partner has been in nz for awhile , and he has got a letter for deportation but he’s wanting to make it right by staying here permanently for the sake of his 6month old son and myself…. we do not want him to get deported back. Is there any way we can help him?


    • He can request a visa under section 61 of the Immigration Act. There is absolutely no guarantee of success. or he could go home and apply to come back. If he has overstayed for a long time then he should get professional help to follow either option.


  7. Harminder says:

    Hi.. My brother’s work visa been declined under essential skill category , then he went under section 61 then he applied visitor visa that also been declined. After that he found out one another job position related to his study, he was just about to apply for that but he got deportation order(after 25 days) on the same date with 2 years ban. His owner and lawyer requested to immigration officer to prevent from ban if he apply from his home country. Immigration officer said he is agreed no ban if he is flying on that date, we bought tickets and sent to him when requested. Then he left the country.
    Now is there anything we could do to bring his back to Nz?


    • He must put in a request to the Minister of Immigration for a Special Direction to cancel the period of ban on him getting a visa. He has a lawyer so he should talk to them about this. If they cannot do it then we may be able to assist.


  8. savannah savage says:

    hey my name Savannah savage, my partner got deported to India in 4th July 2017 and he got banned for two years . we apply for a relationship visa but the visa got declined and we re appeal again but again visa got declined . we write a letter to immigration to give us sometime or give my partner one month visa so we both leave the country because i had a brain injury in my childhood and i can’t travel alone that far , .we was together from 13 April 2016 and we got married in April 2017 but he is banned for two years is their any chance to bring him back and cancel the deportation . i got no one to guide me please guide me


    • Marinda du Toit - Practice Manager says:

      If you have been refused 2 times already, it is very unlikely that he can do anything until the 2-year ban ends.


  9. sean kim says:

    hi. plz answer me ..

    i have overstayed around 6years
    and i got a letter from immigration
    its first time for 6years
    they said i have to leave in 14days, and
    there are 3 options in letter

    “1 self deportation
    this means that you
    pay for your travel out of new zealand and
    will not be served with a deportation order,
    once overseas, if required, can apply at any time for a visa to re enter new zealand .
    this will be considered under the immigration instructions current at the time of application

    * your immigration history will be taken into account in any future application you make to return to new zealand, even though you will not be subject to a period of prohibition. you should declare that you have been deported on any future application for a visa or entry permission to new zealand ”

    2 non custodial deportation

    3 custodial depotation

    so i will leave by my self
    but im wondering
    is it really possible to apply any visa to come back ?


  10. Mani says:

    Hello sir

    I have an issue going on , I got residency this year in January in partnership base , me n my wife stayed in india for 17 months (I was overstayed before ) and my residency got approved . We had love marriage . Everything was genuine.
    But when we came back I stayed at her parents house , in two weeks , they mind wash her and make her to give protection orders against me . We got separated in two weeks after coming to Nz.

    But she was talking to me , they took case back n I have no protection orders now but relation is completely break now , and we can’t talk any more (legally). Family court think this marriage was for immigration purpose , even I win d case.

    Her mother never liked me , she complained in INZ about me in feb but INZ did nothing. Then she bring me in court .
    My question , I am in nz from 8 months now, is and paying tax, it possible INZ , can take any action,?? Possible

    Please let me know


    • It is possible that Immigration may take some action, but if they have not done so already, then it is not very likely.


      • mani says:

        hi thanx simon fo your reply.
        i am going to apply Permanent residency next year in jan, can immigration still check family court judge findings or court proceedings (as potection orders never got permanent on me) and there is no charges/conviction on me.


      • A Family Court matter is not a criminal case, so that Immigration is not permitted to take them into account when considering a PRV application.


  11. nitayulynita says:

    Hello, i need help.. I have ban entry for temporary visa from australia for 3 years and when i lodged my second visitor australia visa, they granted it, but 20 days after granted they cancelled it cause they found that any news that report i did work by visitor visa. but i have no deported stemp in my passport cause i went out from australia before goverment did investigation and i didnt do overstay. And now i want to apply new zealand work visa, will my australia problem affect to my new zealand work visa application to be rejection? Cause i am so worried about that.


    • Your ban from Australia will create a problem during any application for temporary visa to New Zealand. Immigration may try to say that you have been “excluded” from Australia so that you must get a Ministerial Special Direction to even apply for a visa. However, recent judicial opinion suggests that this may not be the case and that you were not completely excluded from Australia. if you apply for a Work Visa, you should seek professional help to deal with these potential problems.


  12. Arpit says:

    Hii my name is Arpit I been overstaying in Nz for almost 1 year because I got fooled by my employer and fall on to a unlawful status. I have just got call from immigration they want me to leave NZ ASAP otherwise they will issue me a deportation letter. Please help what do I do to live in nz


    • You should seek professional help at this stage. You may contact our office on 09-630-0411 for an appointment, or seek the advice of another immigration lawyer or licensed adviser with a lot of experience in deportation matters.


  13. rohit says:

    hi my name is Rohit I got deportation letter under section 157 that I am working on visitor visa

    my wife she got work permit here an my 4 year doughter got study visa they declined my first appeal in latter I got 5 year ban in this country so please tell me what should I do .if I left nz m I able to came back nz


  14. rohit says:

    I am lodging second appeal in Humanitarian grounds now what are the chances to win the appeal in this case?
    If they decline the second appeal and after that if I leave the country myself means by voluntary exit then also they will not provide me the visa in future? If my wife and daughter stays here on work permit. Also can I visit to any other country if I will go by myself from New Zealand will this deportation effect that ?


  15. sandeep says:

    my name is sandeep 2015 i got deportation latter for breaching the visa condition because i am working on visitor visa my wife she is student that time and i was on dependent visa that time. now she got permanent residency last week so is there any chance if she will apply my permanent residency because i am here on illegal status


  16. gurpreet says:

    sir my wife is here on work permit because she completed her business management study in level 7 now she want to apply for permanent residency. she is working in my brother grocery diary as an manager . but one of my friend told me that she is not eligible to apply because the owner is my real brother and we are from India as per rule we cant apply for PR because of blood relation with my brothr.


    • There is no rule that prevents someone working in a business which is owned by a relative. However, Immigration is automatically suspicious that such arrangements are not genuine, which will make it much harder than normal to get her visa approved.


  17. karan says:

    i am working with DHL courier company as an administration i have 4 employee under me
    and my boss is a contractor with DHL courier I had done diploma in business management
    level 7 so can you tell me that is there any option for PR IF YES please please give me your
    persnol contact number so i can explain you batter or apply for PR under you


  18. Ram says:

    Sir my self ram i got deportation latter
    Under 157 breaching condition of visa means l am working on visitor visa i apple immigration or ipt both bust result is negative then i request immigration mnister now i got latter by minister of immigration that i will remove your 5 year Ben if you go back to your country with in month my wife is here on 3 year work permit so my question is that if i go back to my country will they give me visa to came back on work permit because of my wife?


  19. Neville says:

    Hi.My partner is in NZ awaiting the results of our Visa application and she is currently on a interim visa.She has been here for 2 years on a partnership temporary visitor Visa and in that time we have now got a 15 month old daughter.We applied for the visa 5 months ago and only have a month left.I rang in and they have said to me that if no decision is reached in that time she will have to leave the country.This means I will become the primary care giver and will not be able to work and will need assistance from the govt.Myself and my daughter are both nz citizens.Should we appeal our case now or wait till the interim visa has run out.thanksne


    • If you get close to the expiry of the Interim Visa with no decision, then you may try to get another Interim Visa issued, although it is not clear presently whether Immigration would grant one. You should seek professional assistance if you get to that point.


  20. Neville says:

    Hi Simon.I enquired as to whether an extension to our interim visa was possible and was told they don’t do that.We are now down to less than 3 weeks remaining and we are still getting the same response that if no decision is made by the time our interim visa runs out,my partner will have to leave nz.My question now is do we have to be declined a visa to apply under section 61 or does she just need to be considered to be here unlawfully,thanks


  21. Neville says:

    Thanks Simon.We are not wealthy people or I would have approached a lawyer or consultant in the first place.Our situation amazes me as we have done everything as requested and by the book and we now feel we are been hindered by inz incompetence.I have greater empathy for those poor souls going thru similar predicaments.cheers


  22. Anirban says:

    Hi There. My name is Anirban. My case is little unusual and complicated out of all mentioned here. I got myself involved in an unfortunate situation on October 2016. Prior to that I had already submitted a new Post Study Employer Sponsored Work VISA for 2 years. I was charged with a Common Assault Case by New Zealand Police on 10th October 2016 and couple of weeks later INZ sent me an e-mail requesting an explanation from me or i.e., why didn’t I disclose them the details of the charge even if it had happened after I submitted a Visa. This small incident took an ugly turn and after explaining our side of the story INZ decided to decline my Visa at the end of November, 2016. They asked me to leave immediately but little did they realize that for the very reason which they declined my visa for i.e., failed to dislcose the existing charges after the decline they didn’t consider or didn’t want to know how was I going to stay in NZ unlawfully and represent my criminal case at the same time.
    We did hire legal attorneys at the time from somewhere else and did manage to proceed through the different levels of complaints up until the Auckland Area Manager but none did work out.
    However, by the time the case went to trial and the judgement came out it was already late March 2017. I was found guilty and instead proceeded for a Section 106 hearing set aside on June 2017.
    By the time that came up it was already around 6 months I had stayed unlawfully in NZ. Although partly but not wholly a fault of my own if you take the circumstances in the account INZ Compliance team arrested me from the court on the day of hearing. As, a result my section 106 application as well as my removal order both came into effect and I was detained in the prison for 15 days following which I was deported.
    Given my previous background of coming into NZ in 2013 for 2 years Diploma Programme and having stayed din NZ for around 4.5 years can I prove it as an enough connection for my future trip or i.e., is there any chance or possibility of being able to get a Visa back to NZ as my brother is already a Permanent Residence of New Zealand.
    Please let me know as it has been a while since the ban on me has long gone and it makes me very anxious. Cheers.


    • There is probably not much chance of coming back to New Zealand because you were actually deported. On the information you have provided, there is insufficient basis for you to justify being allowed to return. If you wish to examine the situation in more detail, then contact us via our website at http://www.laurentlaw.co.nz for a formal, paid consultation.


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