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Providing Identified Cultural Tradition Evidence

Name : Prashant and Seema

Nationality : India

Problem : Providing Identified Cultural Tradition Evidence

Category : Culturally Arranged Marriage Visa

Seema, an Indian, got married to Prashant in February 2021. It was an arranged marriage, and Seema’s neighbour was the match-maker.

Seema lodged her visitor visa application under the culturally arranged marriage category on her own. She had done some research before applying, based on the research, she was confident that all the required evidence was given with the application to satisfy immigration requirements. However, she failed to mention or provide any evidence to show that the marriage was arranged and the arrangements for the marriage,  including facilitation of the initial selection of the persons was done by persons who are not parties to the marriage.

During the processing of the application, INZ identified some concerns and sent a Potentially Prejudicial Information (PPI) letter to her. The immigration officer stated that he was not satisfied that the marriage follows an identified and recognised cultural tradition. 

Seema’s husband Prashant who was in New Zealand at that time got extremely worried and distressed upon seeing the PPI letter. He spoke to his friend about the issue and was advised to contact our Senior Licenced Immigration Adviser, Vandana Rai. His friend’s partner’s visa was lodged through Vandana, and the application was approved.

Prashant met Vandana at the Immigration Adviser New Zealand’s, Auckland office with the PPI letter. Vandana reviewed the letter, had a Zoom meeting with Seema and agreed to assist with her application.

The main requirement under this category is to be able to demonstrate that the marriage follows an identified and recognised cultural tradition where the arrangements for the marriage, including facilitation of the initial selection of the persons to be married, were made by persons who are not parties to the marriage. The immigration officer clearly stated in the PPI letter that the documents provided did not satisfy this very important requirement.

This requirement is not always easy to substantiate with documentary evidence since in most cultures, the initial interaction or meeting is done face to face or the family members may not have kept or maintained evidence of communication. If the applicant is not able to demonstrate to the immigration officer’s satisfaction that the marriage followed an identified and recognised cultural tradition, then the application may be declined.

These applications require in-depth knowledge and correct interpretation of New Zealand Immigration Instructions to get a favourable outcome. This was where the extensive experience of Vandana and her team came to the aid of Seema and Prashant. Vandana’s meticulous approach and knowledge enabled the couple to gather all the possible documentary evidence, and whatever could not be demonstrated by documents was explained in details by Vandana in her cover letter to INZ.

The time and efforts put into the gathering of documents and evidence in support of the application along with the detailed explanation provided, enabled Seema to get her visitor visa approved. Since this was a relationship-based visa, Seema was able to travel to New Zealand despite the current border closure.

Seema is now in New Zealand and the couple is delighted to be together. Team Immigration Advisers New Zealand wish them the very best for their future.

(The names of clients have been changed to protect their privacy)

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute immigration advice. Individuals need to seek personal advice from a licensed immigration adviser or lawyer to assess their unique situation.

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