Refugee Family Support Resident Visa

If you came to New Zealand as a refugee or protected person you may be able to sponsor a family member to get New Zealand residence.

Length of stay

Indefinitely

Number of visas

600

Cost

NZD $0

Processing time
Within
3 months
With this visa you can
  • Live, work and study in New Zealand.
  • Include your partner, and dependent children aged 24 and under, in your residence application – if they were first included in your sponsor's registration.
Things to note
  • We are currently only accepting tier 1 sponsor registrations.
  • If you’re invited to apply for residence, you’ll have 12 months to send us your application.

Changes help more refugee families unite 

What you need to apply

Check if you are eligible to apply for this visa and what supporting documents and information you need to provide.

View All Evidence

Your sponsor must be a New Zealand citizen or resident who was granted residence on the basis of being a refugee or protected person, or as an Afghan interpreter, or Afghan evacuee (under the Afghan Emergency resettlement category).

Your sponsor must also meet other tier one or tier two requirements.

Refugee Family Support Category Sponsorship Requirements

Tips

If your sponsor doesn’t meet the requirements, they won’t be able to sponsor your residence application.

Your sponsor must complete a ‘Refugee Family Support Category Sponsor Registration Form’ and provide evidence of their immigration status, which can include any of the following:

  • a New Zealand resident visa
  • a New Zealand permanent resident visa
  • a valid New Zealand passport
  • a Certificate of New Zealand Citizenship
  • a recent official statement of citizenship from the Department of Internal Affairs

If your sponsor has changed their name, they’ll need to provide a statutory declaration certificate of their name change too.

Refugee Family Support Category Tier One Sponsor Registration Form (INZ1094) PDF 966KB

Refugee Family Support Category Tier Two Sponsor Registration Form (INZ1192)

Your sponsor should also attach photocopies of birth certificates for all family members they want to sponsor, if they are available.

Tips

Only tier 1 sponsor registration is currently available. Tier 2 sponsor registrations will be returned.

If birth certificates aren’t available, your sponsor can include identity cards instead.

For you to include your partner and dependent children in a later residence application, they must be included in your sponsor’s registration.

Your sponsor must also continue to make sure that your accommodation needs are met for your first 2 years in New Zealand. Settlement service providers available to help with accommodation plans for families:

Provider: Safer Ashburton/Mid-Canterbury
Location: Ashburton
safermidcanterbury.org.nz

Provider: Kāhui Tū Kaha
Locations: Blenheim, Dunedin, Invercargill, Levin, Masterton, Nelson, Palmerston North, Wellington
redcross.org.nz

Provider: Purapura Whetu
Location: Christchurch
pw.maori.nz

Provider: Hamilton Multicultural Services (HMS) Trust
Location: Hamilton
hmstrust.org.nz

Provider: Presbyterian Support South Canterbury
Location: Timaru
pssc.org.nz

If your sponsor’s registration is selected from one of the Refugee Family Support Category queues, we may invite you to apply for residence.

If we invite you to apply for residence, we’ll send you a letter detailing all the information you’ll need to provide.

Tips

If you’re invited to apply for residence, you’ll have 12 months to send us your application.

You don’t need to provide any evidence of your good health, unless we ask you to.

If you, or anyone else included in your application, are aged 17 or older you must provide a police certificate from:

  • all the countries you are a citizen of, and
  • any other country you have stayed in for 12 months or more over the last 10 years, even if it was not all in the same stay.

How to get a police certificate

Good character for residence visas

Tips

Police certificates must be less than 6 months old at the time you apply.

You don’t need to provide any Police Certificates until you’re invited to apply for residence.

To include your partner and dependent children in your residence application, you must provide evidence:

  • of your relationship with your partner and dependent children, like birth and marriage certificates
  • that your partner and dependent children meet the identity, health and character requirements for this visa.

Partnership
Dependent children

Tips

You don’t need to provide any evidence until you’re invited to apply for residence.

Process and costs

The information below will help you understand the process, timeframes and costs involved in applying for this visa, so you can plan ahead and have the best chance of submitting a complete application.

Notes

We cannot display any process or costs information until you have provided your country details. Enter your country details in the panel above to view information relevant to your situation.

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How to submit

Payment methods and receiving centre details if applicable.

Notes

We cannot display any receiving centre or payment method information until you have provided your country details. Enter your country details in the panel above to view information relevant to your situation.

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Conditions

These are the conditions that you must meet once you have your visa.

Entry permission

You must apply for entry permission when you arrive in New Zealand. You can do this by completing a paper arrival card or a digital traveller declaration. If you are completing a paper arrival card you will be given this on the way to New Zealand.

New Zealand Customs and Biosecurity also check that you meet their entry requirements.

Arriving in New Zealand

Notes

You can be refused entry permission if:

  • you don’t meet our character requirements
  • your circumstances have changed since you were granted a visa
  • you refuse to let us to take your photo, or provide us with your fingerprints or an iris scan, if we ask you for them.

Arriving in New Zealand

When we grant your visa, if you are outside New Zealand you and your family will have 12 months to come to New Zealand.

If you and your family are unable to come to New Zealand in this time, your visa will expire and you’ll have to apply for a new visa.

Notes

Your family must have been included in your resident visa application for them to come to New Zealand.

Keep your visa in a valid passport

If you want to travel, your visa must be in a valid passport.

If your passport expires, you must apply to transfer your visa to a new passport before you can travel.

Transferring my visa to a new passport

Notes

To transfer your visa, you must:

  • send us your old and new passports
  • complete an ‘Application for Transfer or Confirmation of a Visa’
  • pay a transfer fee.

Application for transfer or confirmation of a visa

Application for Transfer or Confirmation of a Visa (INZ 1023) PDF 375KB

Fees, decision times and where to apply

Travel

You can travel in and out of New Zealand as often as you like until your travel conditions expire — normally 2 years from the date you first arrive in New Zealand as a resident.

Alert

If you are outside New Zealand when your travel conditions expire, your visa will expire as well.

 

To travel in and out of New Zealand after your travel conditions expire, you need to apply for:

  • a variation to your travel conditions, or
  • a Permanent Resident Visa.

Extending the travel conditions of a resident visa

Resident to permanent resident

Notes

Your travel conditions will expire 2 years from the date you first arrive in New Zealand as a resident.

If you are outside of New Zealand when your travel conditions expire, your visa will expire as well.

Sponsorship

Your sponsor is responsible for making sure you have somewhere reasonable to live when you arrive in New Zealand. They must also continue to support you with your accommodation needs for your first 2 years in New Zealand.