Family Visa

Are you a New Zealand citizen, resident, or visa holder who wants to bring a family member to New Zealand to join you, either temporarily or permanently? This guide will help you understand the application process and what to expect.

Please note: Due to COVID-19, expressions of interest (EOI) and applications for temporary visas from outside New Zealand are suspended until further notice, unless you are exempt. Get the latest updates from Immigration New Zealand’s news centre.

What is a family visa?

This isn’t a single type of visa but, rather, a category covering many types of applicants and the people they can sponsor for different purposes. Currently, INZ has more than 20 visa types that may allow family to come here to visit, work, or live.

Why so many? Applicants in this category can include dependent children of resident visa holders/ citizens and workers and their partners and in some cases wider family members. Visas are further categorised by who is being sponsored, what they will be doing while here, and their length of stay. Partnership visas for work or residence are also included in this category.

Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for multiple visa types. To get an idea of what type(s) you could apply for based on your status and your family member’s, try INZ’s Explore Family Visa Options filtering tool. Using this tool, you’ll also be able to see which types are currently suspended due to COVID.

What are the criteria?

This depends on which type of family member (class) you are, it will also dependent on the immigration status of the person supporting your application. It may also involve an examination of the income requirements. Because of this multiplicity of options and visa types, you should get specific advice from am immigration expert before applying.

What is the application process and how long does it take?

You may apply online or via post.

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

Processing time will vary depending on how and when you apply for the visa.

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. Not sure you’ve done it all correctly? Contact us to evaluate your case.

How much does a Family Visa application cost?

The application cost will vary, depending on the visa type, 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 visa for your partner, children, or parents can be confusing, time-consuming, stressful, and expensive. Naturally, you want your family to gain entry to New Zealand as soon as possible. What are the things that can go wrong with a Family Visa application?

In general, common problems people encounter when applying for family visas include:

  • Failing to accurately assess whether their family member is eligible
  • Applying for the wrong visa category
  • Providing evidence that is insubstantial and/or of poor quality
  • Failing to meet the health requirements, which typically typically results in ALL family members being declined
  • Failing to meet the English language requirements
  • Poor performance in INZ interviews during application processing

How we can assist

NZIL can provide expert immigration advice and take the guesswork out of your application, putting you on the path best suited to your goals. We can advise you on what type of visa to apply for, evaluate your evidence, and ensure that your application is correct and complete – saving you frustration and unnecessary added expenses.

Want to learn more?

View our support letter guide for information about what your relationship support letters should contain.

Concerned about your Family Visa application? Get it checked by an immigration professional at NZIL to be certain that your loved ones have the best possible chance of success.

Make an Appointment

Make an Appointment

Need immigration advice?

Feel free to call us with your concerns or make an appointment to see how we can work with you.

We have a fluent Mandarin speaker in our team if you need Chinese language assistance.

Case Review

Need a Review of your Case?

If your case is more complex, consider our 60-minute Immigration Clinic. In this one-on-one appointment with immigration lawyer Aaron Martin, you can talk through your specific issues and gain insight on the best approach.

Make an appointment or contact us to see how we can help.