Family visa is a very widespread category and some offshore family applications are still being processed as an exception to New Zealand's border closure.
There are different types of family visas available - visitor, worker, residence - which are granted based on the one's dependency on either a temporary work visa holder or a New Zealand resident/citizen. These range of visas are for dependent children, partners and parents to join their family in NZ.
Dependent relationships have specific rules around them and credible evidence must be provided to they are met. A very large number of visitor visa or work visa for 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/grandparent visitor visas
Parent resident visa (currently closed)
Parent retirement resident visa
The category that best fits one's situation is ascertained through comparing and contrasting different options and their eligibility requirements. For partnership visas, meeting living together requirements is a common area where many get stuck.
A partner can only get any 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 have 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. Until border closure, culturally marriages could get a visitor visa if they could prove their relationship was genuine, stable and credible, even if they did not live together for a substantive period. Government's discretion here was made to recognize the cultural restraints around cohabitation.
For residence applications, 12 months of living together is mandatory.
"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 years or younger children of Essential Skills Work Visa, the parent must meet income thresholds.
Dependent children are treated as domestic students and do not pay international tuition fees.
While the long awaited resident visa category for parents remains closed; parents are not having viable pathways for residence in NZ. Parent Retirement Resident visa is open but is less common due to high investment funding requirements. The resident/grandparent visitor visa allows up to 6 months at a time, with a maximum total stay of 18 months in 3 years. However, due to Covid19, many applicants holding this visa have not been able to leave New Zealand resulting in multiple additional applications for visitor visas under various categories.