Are you a New Zealand citizen or resident who has spent time overseas? You may have found yourself with a partner who is a citizen of another country.
You will discover that your overseas partner is not able to live with you in New Zealand unless they hold a Visa which allows them to do so.
Or, you might be a New Zealand citizen or resident who while in New Zealand have found yourself with a partner who is a citizen of another country. This partner might hold a Student or Essential Skills Work Visa, but not a Residence Visa and so cannot stay in New Zealand permanently.
People usually do not choose a partner based on whether they can get a Visa to be in New Zealand, but can confront this difficulty once a relationship is in place, when a couple determine they want to live together in New Zealand. The process of securing a Visa for a partner to live in New Zealand permanently is often not easy.
A New Zealand citizen or resident can support an overseas partner for the following types of Visa;
- Partnership-based Work Visa, where the couple are living together in a genuine and stable relationship. This is a Temporary Visa which allows an overseas partner to live and work in New Zealand in any job. A Partnership-based Work Visa is granted for 12 months. The Visa holder can apply for a further 12 months after the first 12 months.
- Partnership-based Residence Visa, where the couple has been living together in a genuine and stable relationship for at least 12 months. This is a Residence Visa which allows an overseas partner to live, work and study in New Zealand permanently, with 2 years of travel conditions. A further application for Permanent Residence is required if the overseas partner is to be able to live, work and study in New Zealand without travel conditions.
Immigration New Zealand will determine whether a couple is living together in a genuine and stable relationship, based on documents presented in paper form. It is uncommon that Immigration will interview a couple in person. Immigration instructions define “living together” as “sharing the same home as partners”, and “genuine and stable partnership” as “genuine, because it has been entered into with the intention being maintained on a long–term and exclusive basis” and “stable, because it is likely to endure”.
In many cases, a partner wanting to apply for Residence in New Zealand, will first need to apply for and be granted a Partnership-based Work Visa, because the processing time for this type of Temporary Visa is much faster than a Partnership-based Residence application. They also need to be on a valid visa the whole time they are in New Zealand, even if a Residence application is already underway.
Sometimes a Partnership-based Visitor Visa must also be applied for too, to give a couple time to live together in New Zealand before applying for a Partnership-based Work Visa and then a Partnership-based Residence Visa in due course.
In some situations there might be a culturally arranged marriage involved, which requires a special type of Visitor Visa be applied for and granted first.
There can be multiple steps involved in a partnership application and the process is often not straightforward. People often don’t realise just how much evidence of the relationship is needed in order to satisfy Immigration that they are really living together, and that they will continue living together for the long haul.
Laurent Law has much experience in handling a range of different situations relating to partnership Visas. If you require assistance with this type of application, phone our office for an appointment so we can discuss further.