Who needs to provide police certificates

You may need to provide police certificates to show your good character depending on how long you plan to stay in New Zealand and the visa you want.

About police certificates

Police certificates are official documents issued by the police or a government agency. Based on official records and checks, they provide information about any criminal record you have.

They are sometimes called criminal checks, police clearance certificates or penal records.

Note

Police certificates must be less than 6 months old when you submit your visa application.

Applying for a visitor, student or work visa

You must provide police certificates if you are:

  • 17 years or older, and
  • planning to stay for more than 24 months — this includes any time you have already spent in New Zealand.

Provide police certificates from any country you:

  • are a citizen of, and
  • have lived in for more than 5 years since you turned 17.

How to get a police certificate

If you have provided certificates before

If you are applying for a visitor or work visa, or for an Exchange Student Visa, you do not need to provide police certificates if:

  • you provided them to us with a previous visa application, and
  • they were issued in the previous 2 years.

If you are applying for a Fee Paying Student Visa you do not need to provide police certificates if you:

  • provided them to us with a previous visa application, and they were issued in the previous 3 years, or
  • are under 20 years of age and have held a student visa (or consecutive student visas) on and since the date you turned 17, and are applying for a further student visa.

If you are applying for an Essential Skills visa, or a visa based on your relationship to an Essential Skills work visa applicant or visa holder, then you do not need to provide another police certificate if:

  • you have provided a police certificate with a previous visa application, and either
  • you applied on or after 19 July 2021, for an Essential Skills visa application), or
  • you are applying for a visa on or after 5 August 2021 based on your relationship to an Essential Skills work visa applicant or visa holder (that is, you are their partner or dependent child).

Once you have made your application, we may come back to you and ask for police certificates or other documents if these are required to process your application.

Good character for temporary visas

Applying for a resident visa

You must provide police certificates if you are 17 years or older.

Provide police certificates from:

  • any country you are a citizen of
  • any other country where you spent 12 months or more over the last 10 years — even if that 12 months was not all in 1 visit.

How to get a police certificate

If you have provided certificates before

If you are applying for a Dependent Child Resident Visa or a Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa, you do not need to provide police certificates if:

  • you have provided them to us with a previous visa application, and
  • they were issued in the previous 2 years.

Good character for residence visas