Relationship Support Letter Guide

Immigration New Zealand decides whether they believe a relationship is genuine based on the information you provide.  One way of showing you are in a genuine relationship is by asking friends or colleagues to write letters of support for you.  We can’t provide a sample letter for you to follow but we can help by highlighting who you should ask to write one, what should be in it and what can go wrong.

Proof of relationship documents

To apply for a visa based on a relationship with a New Zealand visa holder or New Zealand citizen, you and your partner Immigration New Zealand defines partnership as two people of the opposite or same sex, who live together in a genuine and stable relationship. So what counts as a genuine and stable relationship?

Who should you ask to write a relationship support letter?

Any genuine relationship will be noticed by others. People like colleagues, team mates, friends and those in your community will have seen you do things together. When it comes to choosing people to write letters of support, the more independent the person writing the letter, the stronger it will be and the longer they have known you, the better. So instead of asking your cousin or flatmate, look for someone with standing in the community to act as your referee. Think about asking employers, colleagues, clients, church or community group leaders. Most importantly, they need to know you both and be comfortable discussing how they know you and how long they have known you.

What information do you need your referee to cover in a relationship support letter?

  1. They should state the writer’s relationship to you or your partner and explain how you know each other (if not related)
  2. They should confirm that you are in a genuine and stable relationship.
  3. If relevant: confirm that you are currently living together at your address and say how long you have been together.
  4. They should explain how they were first made aware of the relationship with a specific description of an event or dates.
  5. They should detail what they know about the relationship, for instance, trips that you may have made together, events attended, and any milestones you have made such as an engagement party or marriage.

It is important to include dates where possible, even if it is as simple as mentioning it was last year. It is also good to include observations about how you support each other as a couple or examples of how you have worked together to support others in your area.

Finally, it is important that the referee include their contact details as Immigration New Zealand may wish to interview them and ask specific questions about the relationship.

What about dependents?

If your partner is a New Zealand citizen or resident and you are applying for residence, dependent children, aged 24 and under, can be included in your visa application. If you are applying for a partnership work visa you can’t include dependent children in your application but they can apply for visas based on their relationship to you.

What if your New Zealand partnership visa is rejected?

There are many reasons an application can be unsuccessful. There can be gaps in your application that you haven’t explained. One example is if you have spent time living apart. Many couples will leave this kind of information out but it is important to provide details about your separation, including the reasons you were living apart, how long you were living apart and how you kept in touch.

Common mistakes in partnership visa applications

Consistency across all documents for your visa application is crucial as inconsistency will be a red flag to the immigration official reviewing your application. When providing lots of documents some of the information will be repetitive and should be identical, such as your address details, certain information about your relationship, travel and your history. Before you start your application, draw a timeline of your relationship and refer to this as you complete your application. Some good things to clarify are:

  • When and where you met
  • When you decided to commit to the relationship
  • When you moved in together and where you lived
  • When you got engaged
  • When you got married.

Important information you need to make clear to immigration New Zealand

Another important detail often overlooked is keeping your address up to date. There is nothing wrong with moving about but conflicting addresses might make Immigration New Zealand question whether your relationship has ended.

Also, give some thought to the domestic details of your life together. Be clear about:

  1. How you share money and who pays the bills? Do you both have access to bank accounts?
  2. What is your household routine and who does which chores? What do you do for fun as a couple and how do you spend the weekend? Do you have regular things you do together?
  3. Who are your mutual friends? What holidays have you been on together?
  4. What plans do you have for the future and what are your mutual goals?

What is posted on social media platforms could also have an impact on your partner visa application. Make sure what you post on both of your social media accounts is up-to-date, accurate and honest. Immigration New Zealand may look at what you post on social media and compare it to your application. Make sure you update your relationship status on Facebook and check photos from travel, housing or any other posts that match up with your application.

Some people find it difficult to talk about their feelings, but it is important you can talk about the reasons you love each other and the future you want to build together. You need to communicate that feeling to the person reading your application.

How an Immigration Lawyer can help

While you don’t need to use an Immigration Lawyer to apply for a Partnership Visa, it is one of the best ways to avoid having your visa rejected for simple errors. With 20 years of experience, we know that our process and advice will help clients feel confident about their application. We can provide advice on how to complete your application to give you the best chance of success. We will support and guide you through the process, advising you and cross-checking all your supporting evidence and timelines.

We also have expertise in handling cases where a partnership visa has been rejected. One recent case involved an applicant who had successfully applied for a Partnership Visa and then divorced her partner. A subsequent visa application was denied but we identified a way to achieve an outcome and our client was granted the visa and able to stay with her husband and family. Read more about this amazing success story.


Looking for more information about the Partnership Visa?

We have written a guide to how it works and what you need to do, read more here.

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