I am a NZ citizen or resident and I want to bring my non-NZ partner, who is currently overseas, to NZ to live with me. What type of application should I make?

This is a very common question that we get at VisaAide so I just thought I’d shed some light on the matter.

To be eligible for a Partnership based Work or Visitor visa in most cases you would need to have lived together for a period of time of perhaps six or more months. Time living together may differ from case to case so it’s best you speak with a professional immigration advisor first before lodging an application. Remember that hotel stays, in this case, would not count. You would need to move in together, full time.

It is often the case that the couple has met online or while on a brief overseas trip so they have not lived together. Also, the non-NZ partner is often living overseas while the NZ partner is in NZ. In this scenario, the NZ partner is normally not in a position to spend six months overseas in order to satisfy the living together criteria.

So, this means that they need to look for an alternative visa other than one based on Partnership in order for the non-NZ partner to come to NZ and start living with their partner.

Which visa, I hear you ask. well, that’s a good question.

A Working Holiday is an obvious choice if your partner holds an eligible passport.

You could look at your partner securing an offer of employment in NZ and go down the path of an Essential Skills Work visa. Although, it can be difficult to obtain an offer of employment without first holding a NZ work visa. (That’s another issue for another time.)

You could look at a Student visa. However, it can be a very expensive option and there may be concerns regarding whether your partner would be considered a genuine student as their primary intention is really to enter NZ in order to meet partnership criteria, not to study.

In most cases, a Visitor visa is the only option available and this can be a very tricky application. Visitor visas are not really designed for this scenario so you need to tread carefully as there are multiple issues that can arise. Also, for those who may eligible for a visa waiver, I would recommend that you consider applying for a visa before you travel to avoid having issues at the border regarding whether Immigration New Zealand considers you a genuine visitor.

Please keep in mind, that if your non-NZ partner is approved a Visitor visa to come and live with you they might not have work rights for some time.

If this situation is familiar, make a time to give us a call at VisaAide and we will advise on the best option for you.

Cameron Gray

P:0800 484 727

E: info@visaaide.co.nz

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