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General information about partnership

Your family deserves the best and it is totally understandable if you set out to pamper them with what is arguably an ideal place to bring up children and enjoy the lifestyle of your choice.

Before delving into the fine details of partner’s eligibility, it may be worth to take a look at what is understood by the term ‘partnership’.

What is ‘partnership’?

Whereas there may be a multitude of correct definitions, New Zealand immigration agency has a quite specific one in mind, defining ‘partnership’ as a relationship of being

- legally married, or in

- civil union relationship, or in

- de facto relationship

All three types of relationship are equal for the purpose of inclusion in an visa application, be it a formalised marriage done before a Registrar of Marriages, an alternative union called ‘civil’ which is performed by a Registrar of Civil Unions, or an existing alliance which is simple in form, but no less deep in meaning than others.

Who is understood by ‘partner’?

A partner is, therefore, a person who maintains one of the relationships above with  

- someone who applied for a temporary class visa, or

- a person who is a holder, or applicant, of a student, work or military visa, or

- a New Zealand residence class visa holder or a New Zealand citizen.

Is there any relationship between the type of visa a partner holds and a visa you may be eligible for? 

Yes, there is. We will outline the main distinctions below, but it is highly recommended to seek professional advice of our immigration consultant to ensure your apply for the right type from the outset and stay within your planned time frame.

Will I qualify for a visa as a partner if we started living together 2 months ago?

The answer is - you may. 

However, the type and duration of the visa you can apply for on the basis of your relationship will depend on whether you meet the  requirements for recognition of partnership, as well as on whether you can demonstrate that your relationship is of ‘genuine and stable’ nature. 

Referring to the question above, if the supporting partner is a New Zealand citizen, holder of a residence class visa or a work visa of a certain type, the other partner may qualify for a work visa, rather than a residence class one.

Partners must be ‘living together in a genuine and stable relationship’ – what does it mean and how can it be evidenced?

What most people do find hazy is how to apply this definition to a real life situation. Whereas it may really be open to broad interpretation, you may find helpful to keep a few signposts in mind.

To begin with, the following minimum requirements have to be met for a partnership to be recognised

- the couple must be 18 years old, or 16-17 years old and have their parent’(s) or guardian’(s) support to apply

- they must have met before applying

- they are not close relatives

‘Living together’ means sharing the same home as partners, and does not include, for example, such temporary relationships, with no strings attached, as sharing accommodation during holidays, living together as flatmates, or spending time at each other’s places while at the same time keeping their own homes.

When proving a relationship to be ‘genuine’, it should be made crystal clear that the couple really meant to have this relationship, and their intention was not, for example, to secure support for a visa. Most commonly INZ will try to find it out during individual interviews with the partners, asking questions about the couple’s shared life, interests, relationship timeline, and so on, and later comparing their answers.

The following circumstances, though not unusual, may serve as wake-up calls for INZ and evoke thorough checks:

  • The relationship has a short duration
  • There is any age disparity between the partners
  • There are any potential cultural or language barriers
  • The couple do not share interests or hobbies
  • There is a history of applications based on partnership which involves either party and/or failed applications to enter New Zealand.

It should be understood that none of the factors taken alone may be sufficient to decide against the genuineness of the relationship, but a holistic approach may be employed to decide the application. It is therefore crucial to consider a proper presentation of the true nature of your relationship to make a convincing case when preparing and lodging your application. 

We strive to make it right for you from the outset and put the emphasis on the strong points of your relationship. Book your free 30-minute consultation with our immigration expert to apply for your New Zealand partnership-based visa soonest.

 ‘Stable’ relationship is intrinsically linked to the ‘living together’ requirement. A lengthy, formative relationship ending up in marriage or de facto partnership may be viewed as stable, with INZ considering the couple’s long-term plans for their shared life, the savings they are making towards the purchase of movable or immovable property, their plans to have children, and the like. The relationship must also be likely to continue in the future, which is implied by the word ‘stable’. 

How can my partner and I prove our relationship will meet the definition?

It is beyond doubt that during the time of your relationship you will have accumulated at least some of the proof required, no matter how long it has lasted, a couple of years or just a few weeks.

Evidence of living togethermay include, for example, documents showing joint ownership of a property (for example, a house, unit, or similar; a car or a boat), joint rental of a home, letters and other correspondence addressed both to you and your partner at the same address, and so forth.
To prove that your relationship is genuine and stableyou may prepare a variety of documents and other kinds of information. Among other things, this could include:
- marriage or civil union certificates;
- birth certificates of your children;
- evidence of communication between you, including emails, text messages, any other means of communication through social networks or other;
- your photos together;
- documents showing recognition of your relationship by other people (e.g. letters of support from friends and family);
- proof that you are committed to each other emotionally and on an exclusive basis, for example, making joint plans, sharing household chores, sharing the company of each other, taking part in leisure activities, and so on;
- evidence that you depend on each other financially, including join bank accounts, joint assets and liabilities, joint utilities bills, financial arrangements between you, etc.

As Immigration New Zealand will view your relationship, they will put it to a what is known as the ‘fourfold test’, assessing the 

(1) credibility of what you and your partner may be providing and presenting (whether it matches other information held on file or your earlier statements); whether you are

(2) living together, and the nature of your partnership is

(3) genuine and

(4) stable.

What if our partnership is genuine and stable, but we had to live apart for some time?

Whereas recognising that these circumstances may be, to an extent, exceptional, you will need to demonstrate to Immigration New Zealand why you had to live apart. 

A credible explanation may include, for example, evidence that your partner had to work or study a course in another place, and despite these education or employment commitments, you both made genuine efforts to be together during these periods (for example, coming over for a short stay with each other on holidays, staying in touch via social networks, recording of video conferencing calls, etc). 

In a nutshell, living apart for a while is not the end of the world as far as your immigration plans are concerned, as long as your separation can be justified. Our immigration adviser will look into the matter and help you make a strong case in support of your claim. Order your free online consultation today.

Let the family values prevail while you are considering your short-term, or long-term plans to settle in the land of a long while cloud.

Below is an overview of, and links to, some visas that partners may be eligible for, including 

click on the relevant link above to learn more and book a free consultation with our immigration adviser.

If your supporting partner is a New Zealand citizen or has a residence class visa 

  • you may be eligible for visitor, student, work and resident visas (as well as limited and interim visas)
  • New Zealand partners must stay in New Zealand for the same time period as the applicants
  • visa duration depends on the time spent living together in a partnership
    • Time spent - less than 12 months Visa duration – up to 12 months
    • Time spent – more than 12 months Visa duration – up to the length of the stay intended (max. 24 months)

Good news for holders of work and student visas – your partners may as well qualify for a work visa! Find out more below.

If your partner holds a work visa

  • certain work visa holders, whose visas allow a stay in New Zealand of more than 6 months (Essential Skills Work Visas, Entrepreneur Visas, Work to Residence (granted when applied under Skilled Migrant Category), etc.), can support their partners to gain a special work visa, which may be granted for the same period as the applicant partner’s visa. 
  • under these instructions applicants are not required to produce a job offer.

If your partner has a valid student visa


  • you may be eligible for a special work visa if your partner
    • Studies for a level 7 or 8 qualification on the NZQF in an area of absolute skill shortage as specified in the Long Term Skill Shortage List
    • Studies or a level 9 or 10 qualification on the NZQF
  • visas may be granted for the same period as your partner’s student visa
  • you must prove availability of funds ($4200) for maintenance during their stay
  • no job offer is required

To find the visa that would be the best match for your circumstances, sign up for a free chat with our consultant today.

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Our adviser and director has been in the same boat with most of our valued clients who come to seek his counsel. He came to New Zealand as a migrant in 2002 and has been calling it home since then. It is our pleasure to serve your needs and provide professional immigration advisor services to help your dreams come true.
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