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NZ visa application

Character is one of the most critical assessment criteria that anyone applying for a New Zealand visa or entry permission must meet. Essentially what it means is that the applicant must be of good character, not pose a security risk and not threaten New Zealand’s international reputation.

People with serious character issues can’t be granted any visa or entry permission, except in very special circumstances.

Character check is carried out on everyone who is 17 years or over included in the residence visa or applying for a temporary visa with an intention to stay in NZ for two years or more.

For character checks, an applicant must provide a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) from the country of citizenship and any country where he/she has lived for more than five years since turning 17 years of age. It is important to note that a police certificate must be less than six months old when lodging an application.

Two criteria generally guide the character requirement:

  • Applicants who will NOT be issued with a temporary or residence class visa unless a Special Direction is granted; and

  • Applicants who will NOT normally be issued with a temporary or residence class visa unless a Character Waiver is granted by the visa officer processing their visa.

Not issued temporary or residence class visa unless special direction granted

An applicant will not be granted a visa if

  • there has been a conviction on an offense for which the applicant was sentenced to imprisonment of five years or more; or

  • there has been a conviction in the last ten years on an offense for which the applicant was sentenced to imprisonment of 12 months or longer; or

  • the applicant is prohibited from entering New Zealand; or

  • the applicant has been removed, deported, or excluded from New Zealand; or

  • has ever been removed, excluded, or deported from any country.

The applicant will also not be granted a visa if the Immigration officer has reason to believe that:

  • the applicant is likely to commit an offense in New Zealand that is punishable by imprisonment, or

  • is likely to be a risk to the security or a threat to public order or public interest.

These are considered serious character concerns, making an applicant ineligible to be granted a visa unless granted a Special Direction.

Not issued temporary or residence class visa unless character waiver is granted

Character issues for which an applicant may require a character waiver are:

  • if the applicant has ever made or provided false or misleading information, or withheld material information, or provided forged documents when applying for a New Zealand visa or supporting another person’s NZ visa application.

  • if the applicant has ever got convicted of an offense against immigration, citizenship, or passport laws in any country.

  • while holding a temporary New Zealand visa or while unlawfully in New Zealand, the applicant has been convicted of an offense for which the court has the power to imprison you for three months or longer.

  • if the applicant has been charged with a serious offense, is under investigation for a serious offense, or is wanted for questioning on a serious offense.

Suppose you do not meet any of the above criteria. In charged with a serious offense that case, you should provide a full explanation about the character issue, with supporting evidence when you apply for a New Zealand visa.

The Immigration officer will use this information to consider a Character Waiver or grant a Special Direction based on the seriousness of the character concern.

Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions about the character requirement or want any assistance, contact Immigration Advisers New Zealand Ltd at contact@nzimmigration.info or call 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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