New Zealand family migration: spouse (marriage) visa
If you and your partner are married and have been living together for at least 12 months, you may apply for a spouse visa. To qualify for this type of New Zealand resident visa, you and your partner must have entered into a legal marriage that is recognised as valid under New Zealand laws. You and your foreign husband or wife must meet all the basic visa eligibility requirements in order to obtain a migrant visa for entry into New Zealand.
Depending on your individual circumstances, your husband or wife may apply for a resident visa/permit either offshore or onshore. Offshore applications are processed by the New Zealand consular posts overseas. Onshore applications are adjudicated by the appropriate Immigration New Zealand offices from within the country.
In many cases, a marriage certificate alone may not be enough to guarantee approval for a spousal visa, and the eligibility requirements are more complicated than they may initially appear. You must provide satisfactory evidence that your marriage is genuine and that you intend to continue living together in New Zealand after visa approval.
The adjudicating immigration officials will make a determination of eligibility based on the documentary evidence submitted with the initial application, and results of a marriage visa interview which they may choose to conduct at their discretion. The interview is likely to be required if your application is not deemed "clearly approvable", meaning the forms are incomplete or critical supporting documentation is missing, and/or your case overall raises "red flags". Whether to issue the resident visa is solely up to the discretion of the interviewing officer. Statements made during the interview will help the examiner reach a decision.
If satisfactory evidence is provided with the initial application, a marriage visa may be granted without further reference to you or your spouse, and in some cases, without request to appear for a personal interview. Nonetheless, the adjudicating consular officials, may call you and/or your spouse to ensure that all statements made in the application are true and accurate.
If everything is in order, the visa interview goes well, and both partners have provided sufficient proof that their relationship is genuine, ongoing, and that they entered into marriage not solely for the purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit, a permanent resident visa will likely be granted at this stage. In some cases, however, the Embassy may need additional time to review all the paperwork submitted with the initial application and during the interview in order to make a final determination as to whether the applicant is eligible for the visa.