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.

Overview

What genuine intentions are

Evidence to include with your application

How we make a decision

If we decide your intentions are not genuine

What genuine intentions are

When you travel to New Zealand on a temporary visa you must have genuine reasons for coming that match what you tell us in your application.

We use all the information we have, including the information you give us in your application to confirm that you:

  • plan to stay in New Zealand temporarily
  • are coming for the reason you gave in your visa application or New Zealand traveller declaration
  • will comply with the conditions of your visa
  • will not stay in New Zealand without a valid visa, and
  • can leave New Zealand at the end of your stay.
Alert

You must answer truthfully when you complete your visa application or New Zealand traveller declaration.

Visitor visas

If you are travelling on a visitor visa or visiting from a visa waiver country, your reasons for coming to New Zealand can include, but are not limited to:

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

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, your reason for visiting must be getting medical treatment.

Student visas

If you are travelling on a student visa, you must have genuine intentions to study in New Zealand.

To be granted a student visa to attend a programme of study that will last at least 3 months, you must:

  • have an offer of place, or confirmation of enrolment if you are a returning student, from a New Zealand education provider
  • be able to pay your tuition fees or be exempt from paying fees
  • have enough money to support yourself while you are in New Zealand
  • have a travel ticket or enough money to buy a ticket to leave New Zealand after your studies end
  • have medical and travel insurance for your stay, unless you are a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) student or have a New Zealand scholarship administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

If you are under 18 years old, your offer of place must include confirmation that your accommodation complies with the ‘Code of Pastoral Care for International Students’.

Code of Pastoral Care for International Students — New Zealand Qualifications Authority

Work visas

If you are travelling to New Zealand to work, you must have a visa that will let you work in New Zealand.

Unless your visa will let you work in any job, you must intend to work in the specific occupation, for the employer, and in the location listed in your visa.

Evidence to include with your application

Here are some examples of evidence that you can include in your application, that help show you have genuine intentions for your time in New Zealand.

Evidence of your travel history

Provide a copy of your current and recent passports, including:

  • the photo page, and
  • all pages with visa records, and entry and exit stamps.

If you live in a different country to your citizenship

If you live in a country that is not your country of citizenship, provide a copy of the visa allowing you to live in that country.

Declined visa applications

If you have ever had a visa application declined by any other country, provide:

  • a copy of the letter from that country's immigration authority declining your application, or
  • a letter explaining why your application was not successful, if the original letter is not available.

Evidence you are visiting family or friends

If you plan to visit family or friends in New Zealand, provide their:

  • names
  • contact addresses and phone numbers, and
  • their New Zealand visa or citizenship status.

Evidence of your travel plans

Provide evidence of your plans while in New Zealand. This could include copies of:

  • hotel and accommodation bookings
  • attraction bookings, or
  • transportation bookings.

Evidence of your study plans

If you plan to study in New Zealand, you must provide:

  • your offer of place or confirmation of enrolment in an approved programme of study with a New Zealand education provider
  • evidence you have enough money to live on while you are in New Zealand
  • evidence how you have paid, or will pay, your tuition fees.

If you do not need to pay tuition fees, or if you are eligible to pay by instalment, you must provide confirmation from your education provider.

You can also write a cover letter or statement of purpose explaining why you want to study in New Zealand. This will help us decide if you are a genuine student. If you are using an education agent or licensed immigration adviser they cannot write the letter for you.

Examples of things you could write about in your letter or statement include:

  • what your study plans are and why you chose this course
  • what you want to do after you finish studying, for example applying for a different visa or returning to your home country
  • how you are paying for your study
  • any gaps in your recent education or work history.

If you plan to apply for another visa (for example, a work visa) after your studies are finished, include this in your cover letter or statement of purpose.

Student visa application information sheet – first-time international students PDF 527KB

Student visa application information sheet – continuing international students PDF 461KB

Evidence of your home country circumstances

Provide evidence of your work, study and living arrangements. This will help us decide if you are likely to return to your home country at the end of your trip.

Depending on your circumstances, you could include:

  • evidence of your employment, such as a letter from your employer approving your leave and confirming your return to work, and financial evidence of your employment
  • evidence showing you are a student in your home country, such as a letter or student identity card from your school or other education provider
  • evidence of your relationships with close relatives in your home country
  • evidence of assets you own in your home country, such as your home or a business
  • a retirement certificate or evidence you receive a pension.

Provide good quality evidence

Include all the evidence that you want us to consider. We decide each case based on the information and evidence provided. If you do not provide enough evidence it may take us longer to process your application, or we may decline your application.

You must provide genuine evidence. If you or your agent provide counterfeit evidence or false information, we may decline your application.

If your evidence is not in English, you should provide a translated copy, as this will help us to process your application faster.

Providing English translations of supporting documents

If you are applying online make sure your evidence is in an acceptable file format.

File formats for uploading documents and photographs

False, misleading or withheld information in visa applications

How we make a decision

To decide if you have genuine intentions, we look at:

  • the information and evidence you provide with your visa application
  • the information you provide in your New Zealand traveller declaration
  • any information we have about your personal circumstances
  • any information we have about your previous applications.

Evidence you provide with your application

We look at evidence you provide with your application to check it:

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

Your personal circumstances

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

  • the strength of family relationships 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 showing you may not be able to return to your home country.

Your previous applications

We look at information from your previous applications and travel to New Zealand. This 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.

If we decide your intentions are not genuine

We may not grant you a visa or allow you to enter New Zealand if we:

  • do not believe your intentions are genuine
  • believe you gave false or misleading information, or withheld relevant information.

If you are refused entry to New Zealand