Non-principal applicant eligibility for permanent residence

People who were included in someone else's residence application, such as their parent's or partner's, can sometimes be granted a permanent resident visa without that other person becoming a permanent resident first.

For non-principal applicants to be eligible for a permanent resident visa, the principal applicant must hold a permanent resident visa. In some circumstances a non-principal applicant can be granted permanent residence on their own.

Eligibility for partners of principal applicants

If you were the principal applicant’s partner when you were included in their residence application, you may be eligible for a variation of travel conditions or a new resident visa if one the following apply to you:

  • You and the principal applicant have separated or divorced.
  • You have a protection order against the principal applicant.
  • The principal applicant has been convicted of an offence against you or a dependent child.
  • The principal applicant died.
  • The principal applicant is a New Zealand citizen now.

Evidence to support eligibility

You’ll need to provide evidence to support your eligibility, which may include:

  • a certified copy of your divorce decree or dissolution order
  • evidence of your separation
  • a certified copy of your protection order
  • evidence of a conviction for an offence against you or a dependent child
  • a certified copy of a death certificate.

Eligibility for dependent children

If you were included as a dependent child in a residence application, your eligibility for a permanent resident visa, variation of travel conditions or new resident visa is the same as if you were still a dependent child.

If you’re under 16 and parents are no longer together, we’ll assess your eligibility based on the parent who has custody of you.

If you’re 16 or over, we’ll assess your eligibility based on the parent you live with. If you don’t live with either of your parents, we’ll assess your eligibility based on the parent who was the principal applicant at the time your parents applied for residence.

If the parent who was the principal applicant dies or becomes a New Zealand citizen, we’ll assess your eligibility based on your other parent.

We can assess you in your own right if one of the following applies:

  • Your other parent wasn’t included in the application.
  • Your other parent died or became a New Zealand citizen.

Evidence to support eligibility

If you want to have your application for a permanent resident visa, variation of travel conditions or new resident visa based on the eligibility of a non-principal applicant, you have to supply evidence that supports your eligibility, eg custody arrangements.

Additional Exceptions for non-principal applicants

You can be granted a permanent resident visa, even if the principal applicant doesn’t have one if either of the following apply:

  • You were granted a resident visa or permit before 30 October 1995.
  • You lawfully arrived in New Zealand to live permanently before 2 April 1974 and held a residence permit under the Immigration Act 1987.