Genuine intentions to visit, study or work in New Zealand

Before you can get a visa or enter New Zealand to visit, work or study we check that your reasons for coming here are genuine — in legal terms, bona fide.

Your intentions must be genuine

When you apply for a temporary visa or permission to enter New Zealand, we must be satisfied that you have genuine reasons for coming to New Zealand on the visa you apply for, and that while you are here you will obey the law.

We must believe that you:

  • only intend to stay in New Zealand temporarily
  • are coming to New Zealand for a lawful purpose
  • will comply with the conditions of your visa after you arrive
  • will not stay in New Zealand without a valid visa, and
  • are able to leave New Zealand at the end of your stay.

If we decide your intentions are not genuine

We may not grant you a visa or let you enter New Zealand if we believe that:

  • your reason for coming to New Zealand is different from the reason you gave in your visa application or on your arrival card
  • you may not comply with the conditions of your visa
  • it is unlikely you will be able to leave or be deported from New Zealand to your country of citizenship — this can happen if the New Zealand Government restricts deportations to your home country or you do not have the right documents to return to your home country.

If you are refused entry to New Zealand

What a lawful purpose is

The lawful purpose of your stay in New Zealand depends on the visa you are applying for.

If you have a visitor visa

If you are travelling on a visitor visa or visiting from a visa waiver country, lawful purposes for your visit include:

  • a holiday
  • staying with family and friends
  • playing amateur sport
  • getting married.

Evidence that you are a genuine visitor

If you have a special visitor visa, you must visit for the specific reason your visa was granted. For example, if you have a Medical Treatment Visitor Visa, you can only visit to get medical treatment.

If you have a student visa

The primary lawful purpose of a student visa is to undertake study. 

If you have a work visa

The primary lawful purpose of a work visa is to work in a legitimate job or run your own business — depending on the type of work visa you have.

How we assess your intentions

We consider:

  • the information you provide on your visa application or your arrival card
  • the documents you provide to support your visa application
  • any information we have about your personal circumstances
  • any information we have about your previous applications.

Provide supporting documents

You must provide documents that:

  • show you meet all the criteria for the visa you are applying for, and
  • support your reasons for spending time in New Zealand.

Your personal circumstances

When we assess information about your personal circumstances, we look at things like:

  • any family ties you may have in your home country or in New Zealand
  • any personal, financial, work or other commitments you may have in your home country or New Zealand
  • any circumstances that mean you may not want to return to your home country.

Your previous applications

Information from your previous applications and travel to New Zealand can tell us if you have:

  • stayed in New Zealand after your visa expired
  • breached your visa conditions
  • have a family member who is in New Zealand without a visa.

Give us truthful information

You must answer truthfully when you complete your visa application or arrival card. If we believe you provided any false or misleading information, you may not be able to get a visa or allowed to enter New Zealand.

Good character for temporary visas