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Temporary Visas: Working, studying or visiting for a limited time

Limited Visas and Interim Visas: Special types of Temporary Visa

Limited Visas

When will Immigration NZ grant a Limited Visa?

Immigration Act 2009, ss 81–85 INZ Operational Manual: Temporary Entry, E7.32, L2.30

If you apply for a Temporary Visa, Immigration New Zealand can instead grant a Limited Visa, which lets you be in New Zealand for a particular purpose only – this could be, for example, to go to a wedding or funeral, to get medical treatment, to do a short full-time study course, to visit a sick or injured relative, or to do seasonal work like picking fruit.

The visa has to include an expiry date, but the immigration laws don’t set down any maximum time a Limited Visa can be granted for.

Immigration NZ will consider granting a Limited Visa if you’ve applied for a Student Visa or Visitor Visa and they’ve decided there’s a small risk you’ll stay in New Zealand illegally after the visa expires (they call this “overstaying”). But for any greater risk – what Immigration NZ calls a risk that’s “more than marginal” – they’ll refuse you a visa.

Key restrictions on Limited Visas compared with Temporary Visas

Immigration Act 2009, ss 81(c)(i), 85, 206(2)(a)

Limited Visas have some important restrictions that don’t apply to Temporary Visas:

  • As a Limited Visa holder, you can’t apply for a different type of visa, whether before or after your Limited Visa expires – you can only apply for another Limited Visa.
  • Once your Limited Visa expires and you’re here illegally, you can be deported from New Zealand immediately, with no right to appeal your deportation to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.
  • Once your Limited Visa expires, you can’t ask for a visa as a special case under section 61 or through a special direction.

Interim Visas

Immigration Act 2009, s 80

If you’re in New Zealand under a Temporary Visa and you’ve applied for another visa (whether a Temporary or Resident Visa), Immigration New Zealand can grant you an “Interim Visa” so that you can maintain your legal status while they’re dealing with your application.

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Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Immigration New Zealand

Immigration New Zealand is the government organisation that deals with visa applications and other immigration issues. It’s part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Website: www.immigration.govt.nz
Phone: 0508 558 855

The Operational manual contains immigration instructions that people who want to come to New Zealand must follow. While it is not a step-by-step guide, it will help you follow Immigration New Zealand’s processes. Access it here: www.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual

See also Immigration’s policies and processes: www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/policy-and-law/how-the-immigration-system-operates

Immigration and Protection Tribunal

The Immigration and Protection Tribunal determines appeals on Immigration New Zealand’s decisions about refugee and protection matters.

Website: www.justice.govt.nz/Tribunals/immigration/immigration-and-protection

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