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Family Visas

Family Categories

In addition to the criteria listed below all applicants must meet the relevant health and character requirements.

NB The category known as “Sibling and Adult Child” closed on 16 May 2012 and no further applications can be made.  On the same date the Parent Category also changed – see new rules below. If you had an application lodged under the old Parent Category and you meet the criteria for the new Tier 1 category, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss ways to improve your chances.

There are special categories of residence visa for the following family members; partners, dependent children and parents of New Zealand Citizens/Residents.  There are also some special temporary visas for dependent children, partners and parents/grandparent.  Are you eligible?

Residence Visas

1. Partners

If your partner is a New Zealand Citizen or resident then you may be eligible for a residence class visa.  To be classed as a partner you must have been living together in a genuine and stable relationship for at least 12 months and be able to provide evidence of this.  Your relationship can be marriage, a civil union or a de facto relationship.  New Zealand does not distinguish between opposite and same sex relationships for this purpose.  Your NZ partner must be willing and eligible to sponsor you.  There are other criteria relating to any previous partner sponsorship such as criminal convictions for domestic violence and more.

Not currently living in New Zealand? If you and your NZ partner have been living together as partners outside of New Zealand for at least 5 years, you may be eligible for a Permanent Resident Visa, subject to applicable criteria.

2. Dependent Child

If one of your parents or legal guardians is a New Zealand Citizen or resident and you are under 25 you may be eligible for a resident visa under this category.  The criteria vary for different age groups and include such factors as whether or not you are in a partnership, have children of your own and are substantially dependent financially on your NZ parent.  If you are under 16 you will need the consent of your non NZ parent.

3. Parents


The Parent Category is temporarily closed and no further selections of Expression of Interest in the Pool will be selected for the foreseable future.  Watch this space for more information about when it will re-open and what changes will have been made.

There are three different pathways available depending on your circumstances. To be eligible you must be the parent, legal guardian or (in some cases) the partner of the parent of a New Zealand Citizen or Resident. Residence Via holders must have held that visa for at least 3 years.  You cannot have any dependent children.

Parent Category: Tier 1

If you can meet ONE of the following criteria you should apply under this category.

  1. A guaranteed lifetime annual income of $27,682 (single) or $40,688 (couple)
  2. Settlement funds of at least $500,000 to take to New Zealand.
  3. Your sponsoring adult child has a minimum annual income of $65,000 or, if a joint annual income of more than $90,000 in combination with an eligible partner.

Parent Category: Tier 2

If you cannot meet the criteria above but your sponsoring child has a minimum annual income of at least $33,675 AND if you have any other adult children, they live lawfully and permanently outside the country where you live, then you can apply under this category. HOWEVER, no one has been selected from this tier yet and the latest announcements from INZ suggest it could be at least 7 years before they are able to consider these applications.

For both the above categories you must first lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI).  If you are selected from the Pool, you will have four months in which to apply.  A draw takes place every three months (mid February, May, August and November). Tier 1 applicants in the EOI Pool are selected in the order received and once they reach the quota for that draw, the rest will remain in the pool until the following draw. It is currently taking just over 6 months for EOIs to be selected. See posts on the Home page of this website for a summary of recent draws.

If you think you can only meet the Tier 2 requirements, Contact us to see how else you might be able to get a visa.

Parent/Grandparent Visitor Visa

If you are still waiting for your son or daughter to become eligible to sponsor you for residence, you could apply for this type of temporary visa. It is valid for three years and allows visits of up to 6 months at a time for a maximum of 18 months in the three year period.  Even for UK visa waiver holders, there is still an advantage. Unlike the visa waiver, you do not have to leave NZ for 6 months after each stay.  You could, for example, spend 6 months in NZ on your visa waiver, then move straight on the special Parent/Grandparent Visitor Visa for a further 6 months, have  a quick return trip to Australia and start the next 6 months.

4. Parent Retirement Category

If you have investment funds of at least $1,000,000 that you are willing to invest for a period of four years plus settlement funds of at least $500,000 and your annual income at the time of application is $60,000 or more, you can apply under this category. Under this category you can apply directly without going through an Expression of Interest process.

5. Temporary Visas

For partners of New Zealand Citizens or Residents (and also some Work and Study Visas) there is the possibility of a Temporary Partnership-based Work or Visitor Visa. This is extremely useful if you have not yet met the requirements for residence as a partner.  It can also give you some extra time to visit the family.  Contact us for more details.