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Good character for residence visas

To get a residence class visa you must be of good character. If you have a criminal history or could be a risk to New Zealand we can decline your application.

Being of good character

Applicants for all visas must be able to show they are of good character. When you apply you must tell us about current issues or activities in your past that may affect how we assess your character when we process your visa application.

Depending on the issue we can:

We may do this if your issue is minor. If a waiver is approved, it means we can still grant you a residence visa if your application meets all our other requirements.

Character issues you must tell us about

You must tell us if you have been involved in criminal or racist activities, or if you have been removed or deported from another country.

Issues preventing us giving you a visa

We will decline your application for a residence visa (unless a special direction is given) if you have been:

We may not grant you a residence visa if we have reason to believe you may be:

If any of these situations apply to you and you still want to come to New Zealand, you can ask for a special direction. We can grant a visa through a special direction in exceptional circumstances.

Other issues which fail our 'good character' test

You will not normally be granted a residence visa if you have been convicted of an offence:

You will also not normally be eligible for a residence visa if you have:

If any of these situations apply to you, we can consider granting you a character waiver. This will depend on:

What to explain when you apply

When you apply, provide:

If we need more information we will contact you.

Character issues can delay processing your application

A decision about your application for residence can be deferred for 6 months if:

If the issue is not resolved within 6 months, we can delay deciding your application for longer.