Partner Visa

F2.5 How do partners of New Zealand citizens and residents qualify for a residence class visa?

  1. To be granted a residence class visa under Partnership Category applicants must provide sufficient evidence to satisfy an immigration officer that they have been living together for 12 months or more in a partnership that is genuine and stable with a New Zealand citizen or resident.
  2. For the purpose of these instructions ‘partnership’ means:
    1. a legal marriage; or
    2. a civil union; or
    3. a de facto relationship

    and ‘partner’ means one of the parties to such a partnership indicated in (i), (ii) and (iii) above.

  3. In each case the onus of proving that the partnership on which the application is based is genuine and stable lies with the principal applicant and their New Zealand partner.
  4. An application under Partnership Category will be declined if:
    1. the application is not supported by an eligible New Zealand citizen or resident partner; or
    2. an immigration officer is not satisfied that the partnership on which the application is based is genuine and stable; or
    3. the application is based on marriage or a civil union to a New Zealand citizen or resident and either that New Zealand citizen or resident, or the principal applicant is already married to or in a civil union with another person; or
    4. both the principal applicant and the New Zealand citizen or resident partner cannot satisfy an immigration officer they comply with the minimum requirements for recognition of partnerships (see F2.15); or
    5. the applicant(s) does not meet health and character requirements (see A4 and A5).
  5. Applications for residence under Partnership Category will also be declined if the principal applicant was a partner to the eligible New Zealand partner but not declared on the eligible New Zealand partner’s application for a residence class visa (if applicable), unless an immigration officer is satisfied the non-declaration occurred with:
    1. no intention to mislead; and
    2. would not have resulted in a different outcome in the eligible New Zealand partner’s application.

    If both these clauses are met, an immigration officer should continue to assess the application and may approve it if all other requirements are met.

Note: Notwithstanding (e) above, officers should not decline an application on the basis of this provision without first providing the principal applicant an opportunity to explain the non-declaration in accordance with R5.15 Explaining discrepancies in family details.

F2.5.1 Eligibility for a permanent resident visa for partners of New Zealand citizens living overseas

  1. A principal applicant may be granted a permanent resident visa (RA1.5) if:
    1. they meet all the other criteria for a residence class visa under the Partnership Category; and
    2. they have a New Zealand citizen partner who has been residing outside New Zealand for a period of at least five years at the time the application is made; and
    3. the couple have been living together in a genuine and stable relationship for at least five years at the time the application is made.
  2. To meet the requirements of a(ii) above, the New Zealand citizen partner must either be
    1. outside New Zealand at the time the application is made; or
    2. have been in New Zealand for less than three months after residing outside New Zealand for at least five years at the time the application is made.
  3. For the purposes of these instructions, residing outside New Zealand means spending less than 3 months in New Zealand in each of the five 12 month periods immediately preceding either:
    1. the date the application is made (if the application was made outside New Zealand); or
    2. the date the New Zealand citizen partner arrived in New Zealand (if the application was made in New Zealand.
  4. Any secondary applicants included in an application where the principal applicant is eligible for a permanent resident visa under these instructions may also be granted a permanent resident visa (RA1.5).
  5. Any applicants who do not meet the criteria set out in this section but who meet all other requirements of the Partnership Category should be granted a resident visa (RA1.1).

F2.10 Definitions

F2.10.1 Definition of ‘genuine and stable’ partnership

A partnership is genuine and stable if an immigration officer is satisfied that it:

  1. is genuine, because it has been entered into with the intention of being maintained on a long-term and exclusive basis; and
  2. is stable, because it is likely to endure.

F2.10.2 Definition of the ‘New Zealand partner’

For the purposes of the Partnership Category, the New Zealand partner is the New Zealand citizen or resident who is supporting an application for a residence class visa made by their non-New Zealand citizen or resident partner.

F2.10.5 Definition of ‘New Zealand resident’ for the purposes of Partnership Category

  1. New Zealand resident means a person who:
    1. holds, or is deemed to hold, a current New Zealand residence class visa; or
    2. holds a valid Australian passport.
  2. Despite (a) above, the following people are defined as New Zealand residents for the purposes of Partnership Category only where an immigration officer is satisfied that New Zealand is their primary place of established residence at the time the application under Partnership is made and at the time of assessment of the application:
  3. holders of valid Australian passports who do not hold a current New Zealand residence class visa;
  4. holders of current New Zealand residence class visas that have been granted on the basis that the person is the holder of a current Australian permanent residence visa, or a current Australian resident return visa.
  5. Where (b) applies, evidence must be provided that the eligible New Zealand partner’s primary place of established residence is New Zealand. The evidential requirements are set out at F2.20.5.

F2.10.10 Definition of ‘eligible to support a residence class visa application under the Partnership Category’

  1. For a New Zealand partner (F2.10.2) to be eligible to support a residence class visa application under the Partnership Category they:
    1. must not have acted as a partner in more than one previous successful residence class visa application; and
    2. must not have acted as a partner in a successful application for a residence class visa in the five years immediately preceding the date the current application is made; and
    3. cannot have been the perpetrator of an incident of domestic violence which has resulted in the grant of a resident visa to a person under the category for victims of domestic violence (see S4.5) in the seven years immediately preceding the date the current application is made; and
    4. must meet the character requirement for partners supporting applications made under the Partnership Category as set out inR5.95.
  2. A New Zealand partner is considered to have acted as a partner if they previously:
    1. supported a successful Partnership Category application for a residence class visa; or
    2. were the principal applicant in a successful Partnership Category application for a residence class visa; or
    3. were the principal applicant in a successful application for a residence class visa that included a secondary applicant partner, excluding residence class visa applications made under RV After the grant of a resident visa; or
    4. were a secondary applicant partner in a successful application for a residence class visa, excluding residence class visa applications made under RV After the grant of a resident visa.

F2.15 Minimum requirements for the recognition of partnerships

Partnerships will only be recognised for the purposes of these instructions if:

  1. the couple are both aged 18 years or older at the time that the application for a residence class visa was lodged; or
  2. (if one or both of the parties to the partnership are aged 16 years or older but are less than 18 years of age at the time their application for a residence class visa is lodged), they have the support of the parent(s) or guardian(s) of that (those) party(ies); and
  3. the couple have met prior to the date the application under these instructions is made; and
  4. the couple are not close relatives.

F2.30 Determining if the couple is living together in a partnership that is genuine and stable

  1. When determining if the couple is living together in a partnership that is genuine and stable the immigration officer will take into account those factors set out at F2.20(b) and must consider, and be satisfied, there is sufficient proof, (from documents, other corroborating evidence, or interviews) of all four of the following elements:
    1. ‘Credibility’: the principal applicant and the partner both separately and together, must be credible in any statements made and evidence presented by them.
    2. ‘Living together’: the principal applicant and partner must be living together unless there are genuine and compelling reasons for any period(s) of separation (see F2.30.1).
    3. ‘Genuine partnership’: the principal applicant and partner must both be found to be genuine as to their:
      • reasons for marrying, entering a civil union or entering into a de facto relationship; and
      • intentions to maintain a long term partnership exclusive of others.
    4. ‘Stable partnership’: the principal applicant and partner must demonstrate that their partnership is likely to endure.
  2. A residence class visa must not be granted unless the immigration officer is satisfied, having considered each of the four elements in (a) above (both independently and together) that the couple is living together in a partnership that is genuine and stable.