New Zealand Spouse and Partner Visas - Permanently live in New Zealand

new zealand spouse or partner visa

The New Zealand spouse or partner visa enables you to apply for residency if your partner or spouse is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident. It's important to know the types of relationships that fall under this visa, so let’s start by taking a closer look how Immigration New Zealand defines the term 'partner'.

What is a partner?

In terms of Immigration New Zealand’s definition of a partner (under the New Zealand spouse or partner visa) it can be one of three relationships:

  1. A legal marriage; or
  2. A civil union (whether opposite or same sex); or
  3. A de facto relationship (whether opposite or same sex).

In all cases the relationship must be of a genuine nature and stable. The relationship must be have been entered into with a view to it being exclusive and long term and likely to last.

What your New Zealand Spouse or Partner must be able to prove?

The New Zealand partner must also be able to show:

  • Proof of their residence status.
  • That New Zealand is their primary place of residence.
  • That they are eligible supporting sponsors.

Discover if you can apply for a spouse or partner visa

What will the New Zealand Immigration Officer look at?

There is a fourfold test which forms the basis on which an Immigration Officer will make their decision. It is in all cases up to the New Zealand immigration officer whether the partnership qualifies under the New Zealand spouse or partner visa.

The immigration officer is required to gather and examine evidence, such as documentation and interviews, until they are satisfied the following 4 elements (the fourfold test) are met or not:

  1. Credibility- that both the partner and applicant are credible in the evidence they present.
  2. Living together – barring any special circumstance preventing it, that the partners are living together.
  3. That the partnership is genuine – the reasons for entering into and remaining in the partnership are genuine.
  4. That the partnership is stable – the partnership is exclusive and of a long term nature.

Other criteria for a New Zealand Spouse or Partner Visa

The following criteria must also be met and is commonly referred to as a supporting sponsor:

  • One of the partners must be a New Zealand citizen or resident.
  • If the partner is a New Zealand resident by virtue of previously receiving permanent residency under a partner visa scheme, 5 years must have elapsed since this happened. Furthermore they also may not have supported a previous application under the New Zealand partners category.
  • If the New Zealand partner obtained permanent residency under a visa other than a partner visa they may not have sponsored another applicant in the last 5 years under the New Zealand partners category
  • The New Zealand partner may not have been in a domestic violence case that resulted in someone getting permanent residency under the domestic violence law in the last 7 years.
  • The New Zealand partner must also meet the specified character requirements.

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What type of visa can I apply for as spouse or partner?

If you qualify as a New Zealand spouse or partner you may apply for a partner of a New Zealand resident visa. If granted, you will be entitled to live, work and study in New Zealand indefinitely. In addition you can include dependent children, aged 24 and younger, in your visa application.

Other information

  • If your partner’s New Zealand residence is based on their Australian citizenship, Australian permanent residence or resident return visa, you can only apply for a partner of a New Zealand resident visa if your partner lives in New Zealand.
  • If your partner is a New Zealand citizen and the two of you have been living together outside of New Zealand for 5 years or longer, you may be eligible for a permanent resident visa. Your partner will need to be either overseas when you apply, or have been back in New Zealand for less than 3 months.
  • As an applicant under the New Zealand spouse or partner visa you will also be required:
    • To meet the health requirements.
    • To meet the good character requirements.

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