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Resident and Temporary Visas for Dependent Children

Who are ‘dependent children’?


Can they be included in your visa application or apply for a visa on their own merit?

First of all, let us look closely at what INZ understands under the term ‘dependent children’. These are described as single, financially reliant on their parents and of the right age.

However, the definition of dependent children, born or adopted, varies depending on what type of visa they are applying for, that is for 1) resident visas, and 2) temporary visas (e.g. visitor or student) with the exception, among others, of work visas.

One way or the other, a relationship between the children and the person applying for a visa has to be made clear. This relationship is of three kinds and the evidence that needs to be produced will differ in each case.

biological childrenFull birth certificate
legal adoptionOriginals or certified copies of adoption papers (from New Zealand or overseas)
customary adoptionWritten declaration by adoptive parents stating that the person has been adopted by them, including the date of the adoption and the country in which the adoption took place

Dependent Children in Resident Visa applications

INZ will regard the child as dependent when applying for a Resident visa if

The child is 17 or younger and  is singlethe child’s declaration in the residence application form will be regarded as evidence of their relationship status.
The child is between 18 and 20 years of age and is single, and has no children of their ownlike in the category above, the declaration in the application will serve as evidence.
The child is between 21 and 24 years of age and is single, and has no children of their own, and is financially reliant on an adultevidence of financial dependency will need to be provided and may include information about the employment situation (whether it is part-time or other) and other available financial means;
where the child is living (with the parents, other family members, or has some other lodgement arrangements);
about the courses of study the child may be doing, and their nature (full- or part-time).
Substantially vs totally dependentSome applicants may think their children will not be eligible if they have a part-time work. In fact, the degree of financial dependence is essential, but does not have to be exclusively ‘total’. ‘Substantial’ dependence may still be the case even if the child has part-time work commitments and this job, say, pays the minimum wage.

In case the criteria are not met and the child is not considered ‘dependent’, they may still be eligible to apply for a visa in their own right and join you in New Zealand.

Dependent Children in Temporary Visa applications

In this case a child is regarded as dependent by INZ if

He or she is 17 or younger and  is single and is financially reliant on their parent
He or she is 18 or 19 andis single, and has no children of their own is financially reliant on their parent

When deciding if a child depends financially on a parent, INZ will take into consideration a variety of circumstances, for example,

  • the amount of support the child is receiving and
  • whether he or she is living with their parents or other family members,
  • the amount of time the child may be working or studying (full-time or part-time), and
  • whether there are any other means of support available to the child.

How can dependent children go about applying?

Dependent children can either
  • be included in their parents’ visa application, or
  • apply on their own based on their relationship with their parent, who is either
  • applying for, or
  • already has a visa, or is
  • a New Zealand citizen
Visa options for dependent children include

Please see the relevant links above for more details. To work out a definitive solution to the issue you may have, book your 30-minute free consultation with our qualified licensed immigration adviser today.

Can dependent children be included in an application for a visa?

Class of visasAge 
Residence class visa application24 or younger, if dependent. If 25 or older – cannot be includedYes, regardless of whether they are living in the same country as the principal applicant.  
Temporary class visa applications19 or younger, if dependent. If 20 or older – cannot be includedOnly for the following types (if travelling together): Visitor Visa, Limited Visa (in certain cases) Transit Visa

What may happen if a dependent child was not declared on the Principal Applicant’s residence application?

At a later stage, when this child applies for residence in their own right, this may cause complications. Though not necessarily meaning a decline, the fact that a child, born or adopted before the application for residence was made, was not included may delay the process significantly. INZ will need to look into whether the reasons were compelling enough and there was any intention to mislead, and whether the outcome of the application would have been different, had the child been declared.


If this is the situation, we recommend preparing a well-worded, logical explanation with which we will be happy to assist you. To tell us more about your circumstances, please book your free 30-minute consultation today.

What about your dependent child who was adopted after your application for residence was made?

This child may be eligible for a resident visa under Dependent Children category only if the adoption followed the prescribed legal procedure and either a New Zealand adoption order is on hand, or an overseas adoption order which has the same effect under New Zealand law.

What may happen if you are divorced or separated from your spouse and would like your dependent child to join you?

In this case, and if your dependent child is under 16 year of age and you have the rights of custody or visitation, a resident visa may be granted only if you can produce satisfactory evidence that you have the right to remove this child from the country where these rights of custody or visitation were granted. If no such rights are in place, you shall have the right to remove the child from their country of residence. Otherwise, a resident visa will not be granted.

Similarly, if one of the parents of the dependent child under 16 is a New Zealand citizen or holds a New Zealand residence class visa, this New Zealand parent must have the right to remove the child from the child’s country of residence.

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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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