The following information provides a general overview of Partnership Visa policy. Please note that this information does not replace or constitute immigration advice from a licensed immigration adviser.
Partnership Visa Policy
An individual who is not a New Zealander may be able to obtain residence in New Zealand on the basis of their relationship with a New Zealand citizen or resident.
A seemingly straightforward policy is not always so straightforward. Before a couple is granted residence, the government expects them to document their relationship to a high standard. An immigration officer's satisfaction is dependent on your ability to demonstrate a genuine relationship.
How Partnership Can Be Defined?
Partnerships can be defined as two people of the same or opposite sex who have lived together in a genuine and stable relationship for at least 12 months.
The types of partnerships that are recognised include:
a legal marriage
a civil union
a de facto relationship
Partnership Visa Approval
A residence application is approved if Immigration New Zealand assesses that the relationship is "genuine and stable" and if the partners have been "living together" for at least 12 months at the time the application is lodged. Marriage is not alone a determining factor. Straight and gay couples are subject to the same rules.
It can be frustrating for applicants to know their relationship is 'genuine and stable' but be unable to prove that with documentation. The process of documenting 12 months of living together is complicated by the fact that couples are often separated due to employment, family commitments, or visa barriers.
The Complex Criteria
Due to the subjective criteria and the cultural and religious diversity of this policy, it is not surprising that some people have used it to gain unfair advantages or that Immigration New Zealand has developed complex strategies for defeating such frauds.
A set of requirements that are very intrusive can impose a heavy burden on even the most genuine and straightforward of partnerships. You may believe that your relationship is "genuine", "stable", and "safe", but how will you prove it to a suspicious third party; how long have you been together? What if you haven't spent much time together in recent years?
Health and character requirements apply, and there is a limit on how many times a New Zealander can sponsor a partner.
In the context of Immigration New Zealand assessments, historical actions (or lack of action) by applicants that were innocent at the time can cause serious problems.
Even the most straightforward cases should talk to NZIHS from the very beginning.