Immigration News

Partnership Visa Guide

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

NOTE: The Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa is NOT the same as a Partnership Work Visa. The Partnership work visa has different rights and requires a different application process. If you’re not sure which to apply for, click here.

Got a Kiwi partner? Want to live in New Zealand? You could be eligible for the Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa (also known as the Partnership Visa or NZ spouse visa). This guide will help you understand the application process and what to expect.

What type of relationships qualify for a Partnership Visa?

The Partnership Visa is suitable for couples who are:

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

In all cases the relationship must be of a genuine nature and stable, which simply means you must have entered the relationship with a view to it being exclusive and it is likely to last.

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 long does it take for the Partnership Visa to be processed?

Processing time will vary according to how and when you apply for the visa. Immigration New Zealand states that 75% of Partnership visas take up to 14 months to be processed.

Give yourself at least two months to gather all the required information before submitting your application.

How much does the Partnership Visa application cost?

Again, this varies according to factors including your nationality, your location when you apply for the visa, and how you submit the application. This online tool can help you figure out how long your application may take: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/tools-and-information/tools/office-and-fees-finder

How do I apply for the Partnership Visa?

There are two options for applying: either online or via post. 

What do I need to be eligible for the Partnership Visa?

You must:

  • Either a) be in New Zealand already on another visa OR b) be coming to New Zealand to join your partner
  • Be able to prove you are in a genuine and stable relationship
  • Prove you have lived with each other for 12 months
  • Meet health and character requirements

Your partner must:

  • Be able to prove they are either a New Zealand citizen, resident, a holder of a certain type of work visa or be studying a high-level qualification on a student visa
  • 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.
  • Show that they are able to support you
  • Not have any domestic violence related offences or sexual convictions
  • Not have previously sponsored more than one partner for residence within the last five years

What will we need to show the Immigration officer?

The Immigration Officer will need to decide whether your partnership qualifies for the visa. They will examine documentation and conduct interviews as part of a fourfold test.

You will have to prove these 4 elements:

  • That both you and your partner are credible in the evidence they present
  • That you are living together
  • That the partnership is genuine and the reasons for entering into and remaining in the partnership are genuine.
  • That the partnership is stable, exclusive and of a long-term nature. 

What do I need to apply for the Partnership visa?

You 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.
    Recommended types of evidence include statements showing joint ownership/mortgage of the property that you currently reside at or have been residing at, joint tenancy agreement(s), rent book(s) or rental receipt(s); bills/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 evidence of your relationship during the period of separation, such as letters, emails, SMS, or other chat/call logs. However, the reason for separation must be a compelling one. Periods of separation can cause significant problems so it is best to seek advice as to how it may impact your case.

What things do people most often get wrong in their partnership application?

The application process can be complicated and it’s easy to get confused. Generally speaking, people tend to make mistakes because:

  • They fail to accurately assess whether their partner is eligible for the partnership visa
  • They fail to thoroughly document the relationship
  • The evidence they provide in their application is insubstantial and/or of poor quality

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

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

Why was my Partnership Visa declined?

There can be many reasons why a Partnership Visa application is declined, even when you think you’ve done everything right. The most common reasons for rejections 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 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 health and character requirements

How can I ensure my application is done right?

The process of applying for a Partnership visa can be time-consuming, confusing, stressful, and expensive. An immigration lawyer can provide expert advice on your visa application and take the guesswork out of the procedure.

NZIL can help you figure out your options for migrating to New Zealand and ensure that you do everything right the first time – saving you frustration and added expenses.

If you are concerned about your partnership visa application, call NZIL today to find out how we can help you!

Or read how we recently helped a client resolve a difficult partnership visa application…