Request a visa if you're unlawfully in New Zealand

You’re not allowed to stay in New Zealand after your visa expires. If you do this, you’ll be unlawfully in New Zealand, under a legal obligation to leave New Zealand and liable for deportation. If there are very special reasons you’re still in New Zealand, we may be able to grant you a visa under section 61 of the Immigration Act 2009.

Your options if you are unlawfully here

If you are unlawfully in New Zealand, the best thing to do is leave, because the longer you remain, the higher the risk you run of being deported and of being declined visas in the future. However, if you believe that your case is special, you may request that a visa is granted to you.

Our discretion in decisions on visa requests

A request from a person who does not hold a visa is not assessed like a visa application. An immigration officer handling a request:

  • has no obligation to consider the request
  • does not have to provide any reasons for their decision to approve or decline the request (if they do consider it)
  • is not obligated to make any enquiries about the information the person has provided in support of the request, or about other information INZ may hold about the person independently of what was provided
  • is not obligated to grant a visa of the type or length requested (for example, they can grant a visitor visa instead of a work visa), and
  • is not obligated grant a visa even if the person requesting it appears to meet the criteria for a visa under a certain category.

Each request is handled by a senior immigration officer at the INZ Manukau Area Office.  There are no processing timeframes for requests.

How to make a request

You should request a visa in writing and explain your circumstances as fully as possible. You should also provide any appropriate evidence to support your request. There are no mandatory documents or fees required to make a request, but you should consider providing the following:

  • your personal details such as your name, date of birth and Immigration New Zealand client number so that we can identify you
  • why you remained in New Zealand after your visa expired, any reasons you can’t return to your home country, or another country and apply for a visa from there
  • any information about your personal circumstances, such as family and employment, that support your reasons for wanting to stay in New Zealand, and
  • any information about how your presence in New Zealand can contribute to our country, particularly if you intend to stay here on a long term basis.

Send your request together with your supporting documents to:

Immigration New Zealand
PO Box 76895
Manukau City
Auckland 2241

If we approve your request in principle, you must pay NZ $365 to have a temporary visa granted, and NZ $870 for each resident visa. The fee is incurred for each person granted a visa (temporary visas for a family of four people would cost $1460). If we decide to approve your request in principle and you have not given us your credit card details, we will contact you to request the fee.

If we refuse your request, you must leave New Zealand as soon as possible. If you do not depart voluntarily, you risk being served a deportation order and being deported.

See also

Deportation liability and appeal rights