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Good character for temporary visas

To get a work, student or visitor visa you must be able to show you are of good character. If you have a criminal history or could be a risk to NZ 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 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:

Issues you must tell us about

You must tell us if you have been involved in criminal or racist activities, or have provided false or misleading information to us in the past.

Issues preventing us giving you a visa

We will decline your application for a residence visa if you have serious character issues. We will not grant you entry permission or a visa if you have been:

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

If you still want to come to New Zealand, your only option is to apply for a special direction. We grant a visa through a special direction only in exceptional circumstances.

Issues we can consider for a character waiver

When we assess your application we consider the information we have about your character. Depending on your circumstances, we may be able to waive our good character requirements.

Depending on how serious your character issue is, we may grant you a character waiver if you have been convicted of an offence:

We can consider a character waiver if you:

We can consider a character waiver if you provided false or misleading information, or withheld important information when you:

What to explain when you apply

When you apply, provide:

When we make a decision about a character waiver we aim to be fair and take into account things like:

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:

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

If we decline your application

If we decline your application because of a character issue and you believe this is unfair, you can request a special direction.

How to request a special direction

Submit your application again. You need to include:

Fees, decision times and where to apply

We only grant a visa by special direction in exceptional cases. We do not have to consider your request for a special direction or give you any reasons if we do not grant you a visa.