Family Visas

These New Zealand visas can include visitor visas, work visas, or residence visas for partners, children, parents, or grandparents.

There are different types of family visas available - visitor, worker, and residence - which are granted based on one's dependency on either a temporary work visa holder or a New Zealand resident or citizen. These host of visas are for dependent children, partners, and parents to join their family in New Zealand.

Dependent relationships have specific rules around them, and credible evidence must be provided to ensure they are met. The various family visa types that Immigration New Zealand (INZ) offers are:

  • Visitor visa or Work visa for the partner of a worker/student visa holder or New Zealander
  • Dependent Children Visitor or Student visa for worker/student visa holder or New Zealander
  • Parent and Grandparent Visitor visas 
  • Parent Resident visa
  • Parent Retirement Resident visa 

The category that best fits one's situation is ascertained through comparing and contrasting different options and their eligibility requirements. The family visa requirements vary according to the visa type. For partnership visas, meeting the living together requirements is a common area where many get stuck. For parent resident visas, there is an earnings threshold for the child.

Partner Visas

A partner can only get a relationship-based visa if their partnership meets immigration requirements. Along with this, whether a partner can get a Work visa or a Visitor visa depends on whether the couple has lived together long enough to show genuineness and stability.
For culturally arranged marriages, where the pair cannot cohabit before they marry, the pathway becomes convoluted as government's stance on this matter changes time to time. Culturally married applicants can get a visitor visa if they can prove their relationship was genuine, stable, and credible, even if they did not live together for a substantive period. The government's discretion here was made to recognise the cultural restraints around cohabitation.
For residence applications, 12 months of living together are mandatory.

Dependent Children Visas

"Dependency" age rules for children are different for temporary visas and residence. A child up to the age of 19 can be considered a dependent on their parent for temporary visas. Whereas this age is 24 for residence, with additional conditions for 21–24-year-old dependents.
For 19-year-old or younger children with an Essential Skills Work Visa or Accredited Employer Work Visa, the parent must meet income thresholds.
Dependent children are treated as domestic students and do not pay international student tuition fees.

Parent and Grandparent Visas

Children have several options for bringing their parents to New Zealand.
The Parent Retirement Resident visa is less common due to high investment funding requirements.
The Parent and Grandparent visitor visa allows a stay of up to 6 months at a time, with a maximum total stay of 18 months in 3 years.
The Parent Resident visa scheme was restarted in November 2022 after six years. The requirements have been changed with an emphasis on the sponsoring child's income. An Expression of Interest (EOI) needs to be submitted. Eligible EOIs then go into a ballot and those chosen will be invited to apply for residency.