Information for asylum seekers

People who fear returning to their own country can ask New Zealand to recognise them as refugees or protected persons. People who lodge a claim for refugee or protection status in New Zealand are known as asylum seekers.

New Zealand has signed an international convention that supports the right of people to seek asylum. New Zealand is a signatory to:

  • 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
  • 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Refugee and protected person status is a legal status.

The Immigration New Zealand (INZ) branch that deals with refugee and protection claims is:

Refugee Status Branch
Level 12
280 Queen Street
Auckland CBD
Telephone: 09 928 2236
Fax: 09 914 5298
Email: RSB@mbie.govt.nz
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 4.00 pm

Refugee and protection claims may be made in person or in writing by a person in New Zealand.  Claims may be made by signalling an intention to claim to a delegate of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment including an immigration officer and a refugee and protection officer. An intention to claim can also be signalled to a customs officer or a police constable.  A claim must be later confirmed in writing by completing a claim form.

Claim form

Each person in New Zealand seeking asylum must complete a confirmation of claim form.

Refugee Status Branch
PO Box 90533
Victoria Street
Auckland 1142, DX: CX10074

When you give the completed form to an RPO you must also give them any identity documents that you have. These include your passport and driver’s licence.

Confirmation of Claim to Refugee and Protection Status in New Zealand (INZ 1071) PDF 356KB

Getting help

You may hire a Licensed Immigration Adviser or lawyer to help you with your claim.  Your immigration adviser must have a licence or be a practicing lawyer.  If you can’t afford a lawyer, you may be eligible for financial help.  You can contact the Legal Aid Service or discuss this with your lawyer.

A list of legal-aid lawyers | Ministy of Justice website

The claims process

The Refugee Status Branch (RSB) will process your claim. Immigration New Zealand won’t deport anyone while their claim is being processed.

RSB will assign your claim to a refugee and protection officer (RPO). The RPO tries to decide your claim within 140 days from when you lodged it.

There are six steps to the claim process:

  1. Complete a claim form.
  2. Submit a written statement.
  3. Attend an interview with an RPO.
  4. Receive a report about your claim.
  5. Make final submissions in support of your claim.
  6. Receive the decision.

More information about the claims process

This booklet describes the claims process in detail and your rights and responsibilities.

Claiming Refugee and Protection Status in New Zealand  |  English PDF 408KB

Claiming Refugee and Protection Status in New Zealand  |  Arabic PDF 409KB

Claiming Refugee and Protection Status in New Zealand  |  Chinese PDF 597KB

Claiming Refugee and Protection Status in New Zealand  |  Farsi PDF 424KB

Claiming Refugee and Protection Status in New Zealand  |  Tamil PDF 435KB

Claiming Refugee and Protection Status in New Zealand  |  Urdu PDF 561KB

Claiming Refugee and Protection Status in New Zealand  |  Turkish PDF 321KB

Recognition as a refugee or protected person

If you are recognised as a refugee or protected person you can stay in New Zealand permanently.

Information for Convention refugees  |  English PDF 391KB

Information for Convention refugees  |  Mandarin PDF 475KB

Information for Convention refugees  |  Spanish PDF 407KB

Information for Convention refugees  |  Turkish PDF 476KB

Information for Convention refugees  |  Tamil PDF 431KB

Information for Convention refugees  |  Arabic PDF 420KB

Information for Convention refugees  |  Farsi PDF 462KB

For information about settling in New Zealand if you are recognised as a refugee or protected person view this video:

Convention Refugees – settling into New Zealand

Services for asylum seekers

While your claim is being processed you can use health care in New Zealand and apply for a work visa so you can get a job. If your children are with you, you can enrol them at school.

Below are brochures about services and support available to people seeking refugee or protected person status in New Zealand.

Auckland

English - Services for asylum seekers PDF 239KB

Arabic - Services for asylum seekers PDF 268KB

Chinese - Services for asylum seekers PDF 391KB

Farsi - Services for asylum seekers PDF 271KB

Tamil - Services for asylum seekers PDF 295KB

Urdu - Services for asylum seekers PDF 1MB

Turkish - Services for asylum seekers PDF 217KB

Wellington

English - Services for asylum seekers PDF 239KB

Arabic - Services for asylum seekers PDF 267KB

Chinese - Services for asylum seekers PDF 395KB

Farsi - Services for asylum seekers PDF 272KB

Tamil - Services for asylum seekers PDF 295KB

Urdu - Services for asylum seekers PDF 1MB

Turkish - Services for asylum seekers PDF 217KB

Christchurch

English - Services for asylum seekers PDF 238KB

Arabic - Services for asylum seekers PDF 267KB

Chinese - Services for asylum seekers PDF 387KB

Farsi - Services for asylum seekers PDF 271KB

Tamil - Services for asylum seekers PDF 295KB

Urdu - Services for asylum seekers PDF 1MB

Turkish - Services for asylum seekers PDF 217KB