New Zealand resident visa general eligibility requirements

Assessment formAssessment form

In order to qualify for a residence class visa under the New Zealand partnership policy, both the foreign spouse or partner and their New Zealand sponsor must meet certain eligibility requirements such as:

  • To qualify as a sponsor, you must be either a New Zealand citizen or lawful permanent resident (residence class visa holder). If you are a permanent resident of New Zealand who has been out of the country for an extended period of time, and your permanent resident status is considered abandoned, you must first obtain permission to return to New Zealand (Returning Resident Visa). Australian citizens permanently residing in New Zealand may qualify to sponsor a foreign national if they can establish that New Zealand is their primary place of residence.
  • As a New Zealand sponsor, you are prohibited from sponsoring more than two foreign nationals for a residence visa at any time. If you have sponsored a foreign national in the past, at least five years must have passed before you can sponsor another individual for a spouse or partner visa.
  • As a New Zealand sponsor, if you were brought to New Zealand on a marriage or partner visa, at least five years must have passed before you can apply to bring a foreign national to New Zealand. In addition, you are not allowed to bring more than one person to New Zealand under the partnership category.
  • As a New Zealand sponsor, you must meet certain character requirements. Any prior conviction involving domestic violence or any convictions of a sexual nature may prevent you from sponsoring a foreign national to come to New Zealand, unless a period of seven years has passed since the date of conviction.
  • You and your partner must be legally married (includes registered civil partners), or in a durable de facto relationship recognised by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) as being equivalent to marriage.
  • You must have met your wife, husband, or partner in person, and must have both been living together in an ongoing and stable relationship for at least 12 months immediately prior to filing your application.
  • You and your spouse or partner must prove that your relationship is bona fide, and that you intend to continue living together after a New Zealand resident visa has been granted.
  • You and your wife, husband, or partner must be at least 18 years old, or must have signed parental consent in hand if you are between the ages of 16 and 18.
  • Your foreign spouse or partner must be deemed to be of good moral character. Prior criminal history may result in a denial of the residence visa application by Immigration New Zealand (INZ).
  • Your foreign partner must meet certain health requirements. Conditions such as HIV, hepatitis, and certain types of other communicable diseases may lead to a residence visa application being refused on medical grounds. Essentially, a foreign partner must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the examining Immigration New Zealand (INZ) officials that he or she is unlikely to be a danger to public health or impose significant costs or demands on public health services in New Zealand.

If you wish to sign up for a detailed consultation with a licensed New Zealand immigration adviser to learn more about the process of bringing a foreign partner or spouse to New Zealand on a residence visa, please contact our New Zealand visa team. We provide an initial 15 minute consultation free of charge, followed by a cost-effective and comprehensive package should you decide to use our professional immigration services.

Read next:

New Zealand resident visas: application and interview process

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