Bona fide 'Genuine intent'

When you apply for a visitor, student or work visa, even if you’re travelling visa waiver, we’ll assess if you’re bona fide. This means we’ll look into your reasons for coming to New Zealand and whether you intend to leave New Zealand at the end of your stay.

About bona fides

Bona fide means to be genuine and to act in good faith

When you apply for a temporary visa, we must be satisfied that you are genuine about your reasons for coming to New Zealand and about what you will do while you’re here. We must also be satisfied that you won’t stay in New Zealand without a visa and that you can leave at the end of your stay here.

To consider you’re bona fide, we must believe that:

  • you genuinely intend a temporary stay in New Zealand
  • you’re coming to New Zealand for a lawful purpose
  • you’ll comply with the conditions of your visa once in New Zealand
  • you won’t remain in New Zealand unlawfully
  • you’ll be able to leave New Zealand at the end of your stay

Lawful purpose

The reason you are coming to New Zealand must be consistent with the visa you are applying for.  A reason that is consistent with the visa you have been granted is a lawful purpose.

If you are applying for a... Lawful purposes for your visit include…

Visitor visa (including a visa waiver visitor visa)

  • holidaying
  • sightseeing
  • visiting family and friends
  • amateur sports
  • getting married

Special category visitor visa

the specific reason for which your visa was granted

Student visa

studying

Work visa

working

Assessing bona fides

When we assess if you’re bona fide we’ll look at:

  • the information you provide on your visa application or, if you’re travelling visa waiver, your arrival card
  • your visa application and the documents you provide to support it
  • any information we have about your personal circumstances
  • any information we have about your previous applications.

Your visa application

You must answer truthfully when you complete your visa application and/ or arrival card. If we believe you have provided any false or misleading information about your situation or reasons for coming to New Zealand you may be declined a visa or entry permission on character grounds.

Your supporting documents

You must provide documents that show that you meet all of the criteria for the visa you’re applying for.
If you wish, you can include extra information that supports your reasons for spending time in New Zealand.

Your personal circumstances

When we assess the information we have about your personal circumstances, we’ll look at things like:

  • any family ties you may have in your home country or in New Zealand
  • any personal, financial, work or other commitments you may have in your home country or New Zealand
  • any circumstances that might mean you may not want to return to your home country.

Your previous applications

When we assess the information we have about your previous applications, we’ll look at things like whether:

  • you’ve ever stayed in New Zealand longer than you were allowed
  • you’ve ever breached your visa conditions
  • you have a partner or child who is in New Zealand without a visa

When you’re not bona fide

We won’t consider you’re bona fide, if we believe that:

  • your reason for coming to New Zealand is different from the reason you gave in your visa application or arrival card
  • you’re likely to breach the conditions of your visa
  • it’s unlikely you’ll be able to leave or be deported from New Zealand to your country of citizenship. This can happen if the New Zealand Government restricts deportations to your home country, or you don’t have the right documents to return to your home country.