Disclaimer: I am not a visa expert, nor have I helped others in a professional manner with their visa applications. This is simply what I did in my application. It is not professional assistance.
Applying for a New Zealand residency partnership visa can be quite a headache, and was certainly a lot different from applying for my Working Holiday visa. That took me all of 20 minutes 4 years ago. I have no idea how much time the application for my Partnership Residency visa took, but it was a much longer process as there was many more requirements to meet. There are multiple options you can choose for New Zealand Partnership visas, compare them here. I chose a Partnership Residency Visa as that was most applicable for me, however the process of applying for any of these residency visas is similar.
Applying for a partnership visa doesn’t need to be a stressful nightmare though. For me, it was difficult knowing just where to start, and that is why I’ve written this guide. Hopefully my experience will help your application process. If successful, the visa allows you to reside indefinitely in New Zealand, work and study, and bring any dependent children under 24 with you.
Firstly, you must know what is required before you even begin the application. In fact, if you are thinking about moving abroad to be with your partner at some unknown point in the future it is well worth looking at the government immigration website for their list of requirements to see if there is anything you aren’t currently doing that you need to (e.g. having a joint bank account).
Secondly, keep original copies of everything. Put it all in a folder somewhere out of the way until you need it. It will make life much easier to have heaps of bills, bank statements and relevant official documents in both your names than to retrospectively find them and print them.
The New Zealand government immigration website requires evidence of the following for your application for a partnership residency visa.
- Genuine stable relationship (Living together as spouses, civil union, or de facto partnership for 12 months or more).
- Evidence of good character (Police Checks).
- Proof of identity.
- Application Form (for the person moving).
- Partnership Support Form (For the New Zealand Citizen/Resident).
It is essential to ensure you fulfill the requirements for everything on this list.
Some are pretty self explanatory such as police checks, most countries including New Zealand understandably don’t want to allow convicted criminals into their country. But how do you prove that you’re in a genuine and stable relationship? That’s where I’m here to help.
My partner and I had been together for 2 1/2 years when I applied for my visa. We had one child together and a second on the way (which is pretty solid proof) but I still included plenty of past information of our relationship. Here is a breakdown of what I included and how I presented it in my New Zealand Partnership Residency Visa application.
Firstly I wrote an introductory letter stating the following
- About me (British citizen, brief education and work history, traveled to NZ on a Working Holiday Visa and met my partner).
- About my partner (New Zealand citizen, work history).
- Relationship in brief (when we met/moved in/moved to the UK from New Zealand/had a baby/found out I was pregnant with no 2).
- Why we wanted to move to New Zealand (lifestyle, better job prospects for partner)
- What our intentions are in New Zealand (buy own home, raise children, work)
This has to be true and personal to you, but it should be relatively easy to complete.
Secondly I included a contents of all the information provided. It quickly organised my evidence into the sections below. This made it both easy for me to check that I had included everything required and simple for those processing my application to read and understand. My contents included the following
- Partnership Visa Application Form.
- Support of Partnership Visa Application Form.
- Evidence of genuine stable relationship.
- Evidence of living together.
- Evidence of good character.
- Proof of Identity.
But you could easily change the headings to suit you and add other sections as required (for example the UK has an income requirement).
Partnership Visa Application Forms
We had to fill out 2 forms. The first was for me as the applicant for a partnership visa. On it you also listed any dependents who were included on the application. I listed my eldest child who was born in the UK. However as we had previously applied and got citizenship by descent for him he already had duel nationality and a kiwi passport, so although he was named on the application he wasn’t part of it. This meant we wouldn’t need to do things such as getting a medical for him etc, but again each visa has different requirements so check your application requirements.
My partner had to fill out a Partnership Visa Support Form. In general the forms were fairly straightforward. The online guides were useful for completing this.
Where in doubt we included the information (such as our child as a dependent) but in the introductory letter I also detailed that our child had citizenship by descent and included the documentation of this in my application.
Evidence of Genuine Stable Relationship
Personally I found this the hardest requirement to gather evidence for. Obviously we were in a genuine stable relationship, but how do you prove that? After a lot of research this is what I did.
Timeline of Relationship
Firstly I created a timeline of significant events in our relationship. I used 3 columns and multiple rows, with events listed in a chronological order from the beginning of our relationship to the present day. In the first column was the dates and the second column was the event. I included the following.
- Holidays together.
- Public holidays spent together (eg Christmas).
- Date we moved in together.
- Date of moving to the UK together.
- The birth of our child.
But you could also include these if they are relevant to you
- Date of engagement.
- Date of wedding.
- Family events attended together (weddings, funerals, christenings).
In the third column I referred to relevant evidence. Eg evidence X birth certificate of child. Then behind the timeline I gathered all evidence of these events. Evidence I used included
- Birth Certificates.
- Email confirmation of flights.
- Email confirmation of holiday accommodation.
- Photos of me and my partner at family events/on holiday. Where possible I took screenshots of Facebook posts showing the date of the event.
You could also include
- Any social media posts that show the date and you together.
- Any official information/paperwork as evidence of the above, eg wedding certificates.
I didn’t include everything we’ve ever done together, but anything with official paperwork such as weddings and births is great, as is family holidays and events as evidence that you’re families and friends support your relationship is also great.
Sure it’s time consuming but if you have a decent timeline and relevant evidence it’s proof that you know each other, spend time together and are in a genuine stable relationship.
Letters of support
It’s important to have letters of support from family and friends to show that they are happy that you are in a genuine and stable relationship. It can be a tough one to write as families don’t always know what to say… I asked mine to state the following.
- When our relationship started.
- When they meet my partner.
- Significant family events spent together.
- What they think of the relationship.
This is all more evidence supporting your timeline and proof of relationship. I recommend getting at least 2 letters from significant people on each side, for example parents, siblings, and long term friends. Include contact details for the person or people (my parents did a joint letter) on each letter.
Evidence of Living Together
Once again I wrote a timeline which included dates and addresses of everywhere we’d lived together. The first column of the table was dates, the second addresses, and the third was evidence X and a description, eg tenancy agreement.
Although the requirement for a New Zealand partnership visa was ‘proof of living together for at least one year’ I included our whole relationship. If you’ve been together a while or lived in multiple places, you could make it briefer by saying something like ‘2015-2017 various rental properties in London.’ However I would recommend being specific for the most recent locations, especially those in the timescale required.
I was a bit worried about this as for some of the required time period we had been living with family and lacked tenancy agreements and official documentation. However we had enough evidence, thanks mainly to our joint bank account. Here’s what you can use as evidence.
- Letters from family stating when you were living with them.
- Tenancy agreement.
- Joint bills.
- Joint bank statements.
It should be pretty simple and straightforward to compile this information.
Evidence of Good Character
To prove you are of good character essentially means to prove you have no convictions. You will need to apply for police checks to do this. Googling your country of residence and police checks should direct you to how to apply for them. In general it’s fairly quick to apply for them, and this can usually be done online. Different countries have different timelines within which they complete the police check, so I advise doing this as one of the first steps for your application. You may also have to pay for these.
For the New Zealand Partnership Residency Visa both my partner and I needed police checks for every country we’d lived in for the previous 10 years. This meant New Zealand and the UK for both of us. The New Zealand police check was free, but we had to pay for UK ones. It’s important you check the specific requirements for your visa so you don’t waste time (and money) applying for ones you may not need.
Check the requirements for your medical in advance as this could take a while to process. You will likely have to book an appointment at a particular medical practice which is certified for doing medicals for visa purposes. It is unlikely you will be able to see your usual doctor. You will also have to pay for it.
In my application the medical practice gave me a reference number to include in my application and sent my medical information directly to the immigration department. I included the paperwork with this reference number on it in my application.
As I was also pregnant, I included photocopies of my pregnancy notes in my application. (Note it is the only thing that was a photocopy as I needed the original for obvious reasons) everything else (except our passports as we needed them to fly – see below) was original.
If you are on any medication I would include information regarding it. Some medical issues could affect your application negatively (If they suspect it’s likely to cost a lot to treat for example).
Proof of Identity
This generally means passports and they usually want originals. We were due to fly so couldn’t send our originals and instead had to send last minute certified copies. A solicitor will charge for this service but thankfully it should be a fairly quick thing to do so won’t cost a fortune. They requested that I sent my original passport which I did once we were in New Zealand (we had to leave the UK before I recorded my visa as have UK visa expired… I entered as a tourist).
As you must send originals if everything where possible I strongly suggest you make copies of everything it. Save and email it to yourself as if it all got lost things would be very stressful. Having copies would make replacements much easier to get. It should also ensure a faster processing time, as Immigration won’t need to request additional information for your partnership residency visa.
I also recommend paying for the safest way of posting your application. It’s a lot of important documentation. Check how its being returned too. You may have to include a paid self addressed envelope to get anything posted tracked rather than standard mail.
I hope my guide has helped you with setting out and completing your visa application. Please ask any questions you have and I will do my best to answer. Likewise, let me know if you have anything to add, and please share this post if you’ve found it helpful!
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