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

Applying for a Temporary Visa

Who can apply for a Temporary Visa?

Immigration Act 2009, s 79

New Zealand immigration law limits who can apply for a Temporary Visa and also excludes some categories of people from being granted any type of visa.

You can apply for a New Zealand Temporary Visa if:

  • you’re overseas and you want to come here to work, study or visit, or
  • you arrive in New Zealand without already having a visa but you’re from a “visa waiver” country (see: “Travelling to and entering New Zealand”) and you have already obtained an Electronic Travel Authority, or
  • you’re already in New Zealand on a current Temporary Visa and you want to apply to stay longer.

Immigration Act 2009, ss 20, 80(3), 85, 89, 150(2)

You can’t apply for a Temporary Visa if:

  • your previous visa expired so that you’re now in New Zealand unlawfully, or
  • you’re here on a Limited Visa, Interim Visa or Transit Visa, or
  • you’ve claimed refugee status and your claim has been refused. In that case, you can’t apply for a visa even if you have a current Temporary Visa, and so you’ll have to leave New Zealand to be able to apply for any kind of visa.

Immigration Act 2009, ss 15, 17, 179

There are also reasons why a person may be barred, either permanently or for a number of years, from getting a visa and entry permission – if, for example, they’ve been in prison, or been deported from New Zealand or another country, or once obtained a New Zealand visa by fraud or forgery. For more information about these restrictions, see: “Accessing the immigration system: Who can apply for a visa and who can’t”).

How do I apply for a Temporary Visa?

There are three main ways of applying for a Temporary Visa:

  • Applying overseas – You can apply for a New Zealand Temporary Visa from overseas, unless you’re from a country that’s covered by a visa waiver, like Australia, the US or the UK (see the next point). You can then travel to New Zealand on your visa and apply for entry permission at the airport when you arrive here. Getting the visa doesn’t guarantee you’ll be granted entry permission, but the visa indicates that Immigration New Zealand don’t have any reason to think you should be refused entry.
  • Applying on arrival (visa waiver) – If you’re from a “visa waiver” country, you don’t need to get a Temporary Visa before you travel here. However, you do need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (“ETA”) online before you travel (this does not apply to Australian citizens or permanent residents). When you arrive here you apply for both a visa and entry permission at the airport (see: “Visas, visa waivers and Electronic Travel Authorities”).
  • Applying in New Zealand – If you’re already legally in New Zealand on a Temporary Visa and you want to stay longer, you can apply for and be granted another Temporary Visa.

Note: You can apply for some types of visas online. For more information, go to www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa.

When you apply for a Temporary Visa, you’ll need to provide:

  • your passport, or evidence of your current visa, if you have one
  • evidence that you have enough money to stay here, or have a sponsor
  • travel tickets out of New Zealand (or sponsorship)
  • the application fee
  • any other information that you think shows you should be granted the visa.

Immigration New Zealand may want to interview you and, if you’re applying for a Work Visa or Student Visa, require a medical examination. You may have to provide a police certificate from your own country, to show that you don’t have a criminal record.

When you apply, make sure you give Immigration NZ all the information you want it to consider. They don’t have to consider anything you give them later (unless you’re responding to negative information that they’ve received about you), although they can consider this other information if they choose to.

Can I apply for another Temporary Visa if I want to stay longer?

Immigration Act 2009, s 79(1)(c)

As long as your Temporary Visa hasn’t expired, you can apply for another Temporary Visa of either the same or a different type (for example, you can apply for a Work Visa if you currently have a Student Visa).

Immigration Act 2009, ss 18, 20

Once your visa has expired, you’re in New Zealand illegally and therefore you have no right to apply for a visa of any kind. You’ll have to leave the country, unless you can get a visa as a special case under section 61, or unless the Immigration and Protection Tribunal lets you stay on humanitarian grounds (see: “If you’re here illegally: Understanding your options”).

Do my partner and children have to apply separately?

Immigration (Visa, Entry Permission, and Related Matters) Regulations 2010, reg 20 INZ Operational Manual: Temporary Entry, E4.1

If you’re applying for a Visitor Visa, your application can also include your partner (whether of the same gender as you or a different gender) and your dependent children under 20, so that they don’t have to apply separately. You may also be able to include them if you’re applying for a Limited Visa.

But if you’re applying for a Work Visa or Student Visa, your partner and children will have to apply for the type of Temporary Visa that’s appropriate for what they want to do here. For example, if you’re applying for a Work Visa but your partner will just be visiting, they should apply separately for a Visitor Visa, and each of your school-age children should apply for a Student Visa so they can go to school here.

Applying for a Temporary Visa on the basis of your partner’s NZ residence or citizenship

INZ Operational Manual: Temporary Entry, E4.5.5, F.2.20

If your partner is a New Zealand citizen, or has a NZ Residence or Temporary Visa (or is applying for one), you can apply for a Temporary Visa on the basis of your partnership with them. You’ll need to provide evidence to Immigration New Zealand that the two of you are in a genuine and stable relationship. They’ll take into account factors like how long you’ve been together, whether you live together, and how financially dependent on each other you are.

The strongest evidence you can give Immigration NZ will be “hard” evidence like financial statements or other documents that have both your names on them – like a joint mortgage or bank account statement, a joint tenancy agreement or electricity bill, or your child’s birth certificate with the two of you recorded as the parents. “Soft” evidence that you’re in a relationship – like letters between you or photos of you together – will help support your case but won’t be enough on its own.

If your partner has New Zealand residence or citizenship, and the two of you have been living together for at least 12 months, you may also qualify for residence (see: “Requirements for Family categories”).

Your responsibilities if you’re helping someone else apply

Immigration Act 2009, s 342

If you’re helping someone else apply for a visa, remember that it’s a criminal offence to knowingly give false or misleading information to Immigration New Zealand in support of the 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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