New Zealand resident visas: application process and visa interview
Jurisdiction: "offshore" and "onshore" applications
Applicants for New Zealand wife, husband, or de facto partner visas who reside outside New Zealand must apply for the resident visa at the New Zealand Embassy or Consulate abroad. This process is referred to as "offshore application processing". Typically, offshore applications are lodged at the New Zealand visa-issuing post that has jurisdiction over the applicant's place of normal and legal residence. In some instances, the intended family-class migrants may have a right to submit the resident visa application to the Consulate outside of their country of origin, if they are physically located within its jurisdiction on a long-term basis (e.g. on a work visa, student visa, or resident visa), and intend to remain there throughout visa processing.
Individuals already in New Zealand in valid immigration status may be eligible to apply for a resident visa from within the country by going through the "onshore" application process. This process permits qualifying applicants in New Zealand to apply for lawful resident status without having to leave the country to apply for a visa through one of the New Zealand Consulates abroad. An onshore application for a spouse or partner visa can be submitted by mail or delivered in person to the appropriate New Zealand immigration branch where it will be properly adjudicated based on documentary evidence submitted as part of the initial filing and the outcome of the visa interview.
Resident visa application process
One of the most important aspects of the residence visa application process for partners and spouses is demonstrating to the immigration authorities that partners have lived in a committed relationship for at least 12 months immediately preceding the filing of the resident visa application. It is essential to convince the examiner that partners entered into their marriage or partnership in good faith, and not to evade New Zealand migration laws. While this might seem simple enough, immigration officials are trained to identify and prevent fraudulent cases and will therefore be looking for certain types of documentary proof other than simply a shared address. Immigration officials may ask for a wide range of evidence during the application process, including bank records, mail in both names, and many other things that only people who live together in a genuine marriage or partnership would be able to provide. Partners will typically be required to show that they share normal household responsibilities and have financial obligations together.
Resident visa interview
If the examiner is not satisfied with the initial evidence, they may require one or both partners to appear for a personal visa interview. During the interview, the adjudicating migration officer will ask a series of questions to find out more about your case and to ensure that the information provided in your initial spousal or partner visa application is honest and accurate. Most likely, the Immigration New Zealand officials will ask questions about your life together to ensure that your relationship is bona fide, ongoing, and was not entered into solely for immigration purposes. Statements made during the interview will help the examiner make a final determination of eligibility.
If there are serious doubts concerning the legitimacy of the relationship, the officers may choose to interview partners separately. If there are any conflicts or discrepancies between the answers provided, the examiner may not give the couple a chance to explain or clarify. It is not uncommon for people who aren't prepared for the interview to be nervous. Because of apprehension, they may answer one or more of the interview questions incorrectly, which can raise suspicions and cause lengthy investigation. For these reasons, it is important to become familiar with the different types of documentary evidence accepted by the immigration authorities and prepare thoroughly for the initial partner visa interview.
Feel free to contact our New Zealand visa department if you have any questions concerning the process of bringing a foreign national to New Zealand on a wife, husband, or partner visa.
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