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) unit that deals with refugee and protection claims is:

Refugee Status Unit
Level 5
Blue Tower
Spark Centre
167b Victoria Street West (entrance via Hardinge Street)
Auckland
Phone: + 64 9 928 2236
Fax: +64 9 914 5298
Email: RSB@mbie.govt.nz
Opening hours: 8.30am to 4.00 pm, Monday to Friday

How to make a claim

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 (RPO). 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.

There are 6 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.

The Refugee Status Unit (RSU) will assign your claim to an RPO for processing.

Note

We will not deport anyone while their claim is being processed.

Claim form

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

Confirmation of Claim to Refugee and Protection Status in New Zealand (INZ 1071) PDF 360KB

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

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

Medical examinations and chest x-rays

In the past, we have waived the need for refugee and protection claimants applying for temporary visas to have a medical examination. From 16 December 2019 they will no longer need a medical certificate, but must have a chest x-ray.

By doing this we can ensure that all asylum seekers, their partners and dependent children have been tested for tuberculosis.

Who needs an x-ray or medical examination

Many people in this situation cannot afford these tests, so we will pay the costs of chest x-rays for:

  • refugee and protection claimants who apply for a temporary visa who have not had an x-ray in the last 36 months
  • their partner and dependent children as long as they were in New Zealand when their family member claimed asylum — we will pay their costs even if they were not included in the claim for asylum.

When a refugee or asylum seeker first makes a claim we will give them information about how to get a funded chest x-ray. We will also reimburse any asylum seekers who paid for a medical examination or chest x-ray on or after 1 October 2019.

Note

We are not able to pay for chest x-rays or medical examinations for asylum seekers who apply for residence.

Getting help with a claim

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 cannot afford a lawyer, you may be eligible for financial help. You can contact the Legal Aid Service or discuss this with your lawyer.

Find a legal-aid lawyer or provider | Ministry of Justice

How long it takes to process a claim

The RSU advises the current processing timeframe from claim lodgement to allocation to an RPO is approximately 3 months.

Note

This timeframe is valid for 6 months from September 2019.

After your claim has been allocated, you or your representative will be contacted regarding an interview date.

We will advise of any future changes to timeframes.

Guidelines for the asylum process

The RSU provides guidelines for:

  • children and minors
  • confidentiality.

The children and minors guidelines are for RPOs, claimants, their representatives, and adults who determine the refugee or protected person status of minors or children.

Guidelines on Children and Minors at the Refugee Status Branch (Updated June 2018) PDF 375KB

The confidentiality guidelines help RPOs to ensure information provided by claimants, refugees and protected people is treated confidentially.

Refugee Status Branch Confidentiality Guidelines (2018) PDF 449KB

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 829KB

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

Services for asylum seekers | English PDF 365KB

Services for asylum seekers | Arabic PDF 565KB 

Services for asylum seekers | Chinese PDF 675KB

Services for asylum seekers | Farsi PDF 150KB

Services for asylum seekers | Tamil PDF 244KB

Services for asylum seekers | Urdu PDF 534KB

Services for asylum seekers | Turkish PDF 216KB

Wellington

Services for asylum seekers | English PDF 179KB

Services for asylum seekers | Arabic PDF 432KB

Services for asylum seekers | Chinese PDF 622KB

Services for asylum seekers | Farsi PDF 166KB

Services for asylum seekers | Tamil PDF 295KB

Services for asylum seekers | Urdu PDF 1MB

Services for asylum seekers | Turkish PDF 215KB

Christchurch

Services for asylum seeker | English PDF 323KB

Services for asylum seekers | Arabic PDF 426KB

Services for asylum seekers | Chinese PDF 616KB

Services for asylum seekers | Farsi PDF 211KB

Services for asylum seekers | Tamil PDF 295KB

Services for asylum seekers | Urdu PDF 1MB

Services for asylum seekers | Turkish PDF 215KB