Legal Guides

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New Zealand – Applying for Residence under the Family Partnership Category

Family Residence Options

So you’re shacked up with a Kiwi? Or at least you’d like to be. If you have family or a partner who is a New Zealand citizen or resident, you may be able to join them and live in Aotearoa.

There are a few options for Residence under the Family Category; one of them is Partnership, which is the focus of this article. Others include the Parent or Dependent Child categories, which we may look at another time.

Partnership Category

New Zealanders love to travel; people often say, wherever you go in the world you’ll find a Kiwi. Apparently there are over 58,000 of them in the UK alone, so chances are you’ve come across one of these fine specimens and perhaps you’ve even got together. Now it’s time to return to your partner’s homeland, meet their family and perhaps even have a crack at living as close to Antarctica as reasonably possible.

This is a Residence class visa and there are several requirements that must be checked off before Immigration New Zealand (‘INZ’) will let you live in New Zealand. INZ provide a handy checklist on their website to make sure you haven’t missed anything when you submit your application.

Firstly, this category is only for applicants who have been living with a New Zealand citizen or resident for 12 months. It doesn’t matter where you have been living, but you need to have been living together in a genuine and stable relationship. INZ emphasise the living together part. If you don’t meet this step, then you will likely need to consider other visa options before applying under the Partnership category.

Step 1 – What forms do you use?

You will need to complete a Residence Application (INZ 1000). Your partner needs to complete the Partnership Support Form for Residence (INZ 1178). Both forms are available on the INZ website and from the INZ offices in New Zealand and abroad.

Step 2 – What evidence do you need to provide?

You will need to show:

–        Evidence of your partner’s immigration status, ie, they are a New Zealand citizen or resident.

–        Police certificates for any country that your partner has lived in for 12 months or more (except NZ) for the past 7 years if they are over 17 years of age.

–        Police certificates for yourself on the same terms as above.

–        Evidence of your partnership (more on this shortly).

–        Passport photos.

–        A valid chest x-ray certificate (INZ 1096) no more than 3 months old.

–        A valid medical certificate (Limited or General, INZ 1201 or INZ 1007) less than 3 months old.

–        A full birth certificate.

–        The application fee, which currently starts at about £820.00

Step 3 – Where do you send your application?

This depends on where you are living. There is an INZ office in London; the place to go for most UK applications. Have a look on the INZ website under the ‘Office and Fees Finder’ tool.

What is evidence of your partnership?

There are several ways to show that you are in a genuine and stable relationship. Remember, you firstly must have been living together in a relationship for 12 months.

Some ways of proving your relationship is genuine are:

–        Marriage or Civil Union certificate.

–        Proof of shared residence, such as utility bills or a tenancy agreement.

–        Proof of financial interdependence, eg, bank account statements.

–        Birth certificates of your children (you can include children in your application);

–        Documents which might show public recognition of your relationship, such as statements from family and friends.

–        Correspondence between you and your partner, ie, emails, text messages, Facebook.

–        Photos of you together.

INZ may request verification of any of the above evidence. These are just examples and you may wish to provide other information if relevant or necessary. There are some special requirements for when you have been living apart for any period of time.


There are several ways to jump ship to New Zealand; the Partnership category is a fairly straightforward one, provided you can meet the requirements. If you don’t think you will fit into this category just yet, or if INZ declines your application, an option might be to apply for a temporary entry visa such as a work visa, whilst living with your partner in New Zealand. That way you can build up enough evidence and time to show that you are in a genuine and stable relationship and work towards Residency.

Author: Alexa Mihailoff

Billings Solicitors, New Zealand

DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances. This article is merely a general comment on the relevant topic. If specific advice is required in connection with any of the matters covered in this article, please speak to Billings Solicitors, New Zealand directly.

Published on 13th November 2014
(Last updated 13th July 2023)