Immigration News

Partnership Visa Guide

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The NZIL Guide to Applying for a Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa

Got a Kiwi partner? Want to live in New Zealand? You could be eligible for a Partnership residence visa. This guide will help you understand the application process and what to expect.

What is a Partnership Visa? 

This resident visa category is for partners of New Zealand residents and is also known as the Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa or NZ Spouse Visa. The Partnership Visa allows you to obtain either residency or an open work visa. If you’re granted residency with a partner visa, you will be able to live, work, and study in New Zealand indefinitely.

Note: The Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa is NOT the same as a Partnership Work Visa. The Partnership Work Visa has different conditions and requires a different application process. If you’re not sure which to apply for, contact us.

What type of relationships qualify for a Partnership Visa?

This category is suitable for couples who are:

  • Married
  • In a civil union (opposite or same sex)
  • In a de facto relationship (opposite or same sex)
  • Not legally married or bound by a registered civil or de facto partnership but who can demonstrate that they are in a committed and durable relationship

In all cases, the relationship must be of a genuine and stable nature, which means the relationship is exclusive and likely to last.

The New Zealand spouse visa checklist

To qualify for a partnership visa you must:

  • Be in New Zealand already on another visa OR be coming to New Zealand to join your partner
  • Be able to prove you are in a genuine, stable relationship and have lived together for at least 12 months
  • Meet health and character requirements

Your partner must:

  • Prove they are a New Zealand citizen or resident
  • Show that they are able to support you
  • Not have any domestic violence-related offences or sexual convictions
  • Not have sponsored more than one partner for residence within the last 5 years

If your partner is an Australian citizen or resident visa holder living in New Zealand, they must show that New Zealand is their primary place of residence.

What is the application process for a partnership visa?

You may apply online or by post. To apply for a Partnership Visa, you will need to prove that you have lived with your partner for at least 12 months. This means sharing the same home, not just spending time in each other’s homes.

The immigration officer will decide whether your partnership qualifies for this visa. They will examine your documentation and conduct interviews as part of a fourfold test. You will need to prove that:

  • Both you and your partner are credible in the evidence you present
  • You are living together
  • The partnership is genuine, as are the reasons for entering, and remaining in, the partnership
  • The partnership is stable, exclusive, and long-term

To apply, send your application, supporting documents, and application fees to Immigration New Zealand.

How long does the partnership visa process take?

Processing time will vary depending on how and when you apply for the visa. Immigration New Zealand states that 75 percent of Partnership Visas take up to 13 months to process.

Pro tip: To reduce your processing time, make sure your application is error-free and includes complete information and all documentation as specified by INZ requirements.

Can you work if you have a Partnership Visa in NZ?

The Partnership visa allows you to obtain either residency or an open work visa. If you’re granted residency with this visa, you will be able to live, work, and study in New Zealand indefinitely.

How do I prove I am in a genuine and stable relationship?

Recommended types of evidence include:

  • Statements showing your joint ownership or mortgage of the property you currently live or have been living in
  • Joint tenancy agreements, rent books, or rental receipts
  • Bills and/or letters addressed to both you and your partner

If you have been living separately for a period of time during your relationship, you can provide proof of your relationship during the period of separation, such as letters, emails, SMS, or other chat or call logs. However, the reason for separation must be a compelling one. Periods of separation can cause significant problems, so we recommend seeking professional advice as to how this may impact your case.

If you’d like us to evaluate your case, contact us.

How much does the Partnership Visa application cost?

The application cost will vary, depending on your country of origin, what country you’re in when you apply, and whether you submit your application online or by post. Also bear in mind that you will have to pay for medical screenings, police records, and possibly translations.

There are no refunds if your application is declined. To determine the application cost based on your specific situation, visit INZ’s fee finder.

When to get help

Applying for a Partnership Visa can be confusing, time-consuming, stressful, and expensive. Naturally, many couples don’t get it right the first time. What are the things people most often get wrong on their Partnership Visa application?

In general, common mistakes people make include:

  • Failing to accurately assess whether their partner is eligible for a Partnership visa
  • Failing to thoroughly document their relationship
  • Providing evidence that is insubstantial and/or of poor quality

Why was my Partnership Visa declined?

There are many possible reasons why Partnership Visa applications are unsuccessful, even when you think you’ve done everything right. The most common reasons for rejection include:

  • Immigration NZ is not convinced that your partner is an eligible New Zealand citizen or resident
  • The immigration officer is not satisfied that your relationship is genuine and stable
  • The immigration officer is not satisfied that you have lived with one another for the required period of time
  • Either you or your partner are already married or in a civil union with another person
  • You don’t meet the health and character requirements

Immigration NZ requires a more accurate picture of your relationship than just a marriage certificate. You’ll need to provide a range of information such as utility bills, photographs, letters, and other documents. An immigration lawyer can help you understand which documents are relevant and which are not.

How we can assist

NZIL can provide expert advice and take the guesswork out of your visa application. We can help you figure out your options for migrating to New Zealand and ensure that your application is correct and complete – saving you frustration and unnecessary added expenses.

Concerned about your Partnership Visa application? Get it checked for eligibility by a professional at NZIL. We’ll ensure you and your partner have the best chance of success! Contact NZIL today. 

Want to learn more?

To help applicants with the process of applying for a Partnership Visa, we created a guide on how to write a relationship support letter. View our relationship support letter guide for information about what your relationship support letters should contain.

See an NZIL success story in the Partnership Visa category.