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New Zealand Border Exception Criteria For Partners And Dependents Of Citizens/Residents

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Do you wish to enter New Zealand? If the answer is yes, you must be aware of the options Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has for you.

Even though the borders are currently closed for most travellers, partners of New Zealand citizens/residents can travel to New Zealand if they hold a critical purpose visitor visa or relationship-based visa. As you would already know, entry to New Zealand from all countries remains strictly controlled to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Partners of New Zealand resident/citizen who are currently outside New Zealand

Those applicants who do not hold a relationship-based visa and are currently outside New Zealand can apply for a border exception.

However, to do that under this category and criteria, you must prove that you are in a genuine and stable relationship and intend to travel to New Zealand with your New Zealand partner(citizen/resident). You can include even dependent children in the application.

Border Exception Process

The first step is to request a border exception called an Expression of Interest (EOI) by INZ. This EOI is not a visa application but a request form that only lets you explain your circumstances in 3000 words. There is no option to upload any documents, and you have to explain in limited words how you think you meet the relevant immigration instructions to qualify for a border exception. The fee for this request is NZD 45 as of date.

If INZ is satisfied that you meet the requirements based on the information provided in the request form, they will issue an ‘Invitation to Apply (ITA)’ for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa (CPVV). This will be an actual visa application wherein you will be requested to lodge a formal application and submit the relevant supporting documentary evidence to prove that you live together in a genuine and stable relationship with a New Zealand resident/citizen. The fee for this application is NZD 246. If the CPVV is approved, you can travel to NZ with your partner.

Partners or dependents of a New Zealand citizen or resident ordinarily residents in New Zealand but do not have a relationship-based visa can also request border exception. If their request is approved, they will then be invited to apply for a visitor visa, another visa that suits their circumstances or to vary their existing visa to allow them to travel. The process remains the same as explained above, and you would need to demonstrate that you are in a genuine and stable relationship with your New Zealand partner(citizen/resident). The only difference here is that the NZ partner does not need to accompany the applicant.

Partners or dependents of a New Zealand citizen/resident currently out of New Zealand but have a valid partnership-based visa or dependent visa.

Those applicants will be able to travel on that visa. There is no need to apply for a border exception, nor are they required to travel along with the NZ partner.

Note – the process varies slightly for applicants who are Australian citizens/residents.

Reasons for not receiving an ITA:

  • INZ is not satisfied that you are in a genuine relationship with an NZ citizen/resident.
  • There are outstanding bona fides/Character issues/Health issues.
  • INZ has identified bona fides/Character issues/Health issues in the border exception request.

This process may appear to be straightforward; however, it involves a lot of intricacies. There are many complexities involved in determining if you may be eligible to travel to New Zealand during the current border closure. The threshold is very high to be granted a border exception/relationship-based visa. The onus lies on the applicant to satisfy the Immigration Officer that he/she meets the relevant instructions. The Immigration Officer is not obliged to seek further information/documentation and decide the application based on the information on hand.

If you are not sure if you meet the requirements for a critical purpose visa/relationship-based visa or would like to know how you may be able to qualify, please contact Immigration Advisers New Zealand Ltd by sending email at [email protected] or call us today on +64 09 3790219

Author Details

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Vandana Rai

(LIA 201400900)

Vandana Rai is a Senior Licensed Immigration Adviser and has built a reputation around her rare set of skills, which could be considered ideal for her legal profession.

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