Visa Application Tips – Character Requirements

Sep 18, 2023

Bringing you weekly tips

We’ve had so many great questions lately from people who are taking the leap and getting started with the visa application process for New Zealand!

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing tips and insights to help you get the all-important details right the first time. We hope you find them valuable.

This week’s topic – character requirements.

When applying for a New Zealand visa, you must show Immigration New Zealand you are of good character. This is to protect New Zealand, its people and uphold the integrity of the New Zealand immigration system.

If you have had any character issues in the past, this doesn’t mean that you will not be eligible for a visa, it means that there are extra steps involved in the process. 

Meeting the good character requirements for your visa involves not only your police checks but also your immigration history worldwide. Character requirements do differ between temporary and residence visas with differing thresholds.

Police certificates

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) requires the submission of police certificates from your countries of citizenship and any countries you’ve lived in for a certain period (duration varies based on visa type). Additionally, you must disclose any prior declines, deportations, or removals from any visited or lived-in countries. Minor offences like parking and speeding tickets usually won’t impact your good character, but severe speeding offences that led to court appearances and convictions might.

False and misleading information

Immigration will take very seriously any false or misleading information provided to them; this includes withholding important information as well. Immigration can decline an application if they find that false or misleading information was provided, whether it was intentional or not.

Other incidents that you should always declare:

  • Declined visas from any country, including NZ
  • Refused entry into any country, including NZ
  • Deportation or removal from any country, including NZ

It’s important to take from this, that you must always declare any issues to your Licensed Adviser so that we can best advise the most appropriate course of action for you. 

Character is a critical part of the visa process and should be taken seriously.

We have a vast amount of experience across all types of character issues and can best advise your most appropriate course of action by having you declare any issues to us.

If a problem arises in your application, there are two processes you may take;

Character waiver

The recent review by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has streamlined the character waiver process into a one-step assessment. They will now consider the offence, its severity, the penalty, and the circumstances surrounding it. They will also evaluate efforts to change behaviour, like counselling or community work, and assess your potential benefit to

New Zealand, such as filling a skill shortage. 

Special direction

A special direction is a process that the Minister of Immigration (or delegate) may use for certain circumstances where an offence, or a sentence is severe and requires an assessment at a higher level.