Character Waiver – Do I have to disclose my historic charges?

It is not uncommon for some applicants to have an old drunk and disorderly conviction, or a drunk driving conviction, or even an old conviction for the possession of recreational drugs.

Sometimes these convictions are from over 10 years ago and it can be confusing as to whether you need to disclose these charges to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) or not. The confusion may be partially due to your country’s clean slate law.

You may be wondering whether an old dust-covered charge will affect your application or whether you should even tell INZ Lauren Qiuabout the charge. The short answer is: Yes, tell INZ. If you have ever been charged, convicted and/or sentenced in any country you should disclose this to INZ upfront. It is better to deal with these issues immediately as if you have good evidence and a good explanation, INZ may take note and still grant you a visa. If you choose not to disclose and INZ discovers your previous convictions later on, you will have an additional character issue for providing “false and misleading information”.

We understand that it can be a bit daunting for you, as often these historic charges bring up a lot of unpleasant memories and chances are – you are now a completely different person. Do not worry, as depending on your conviction and sentence, it may not mean that your visa will be declined. You may not even need a character waiver! If you are found to be not of good character and your conviction triggers the need for a character waiver, then let us assist you with your application. Like with all life stories, each conviction has a different backstory and occurred under varying circumstances. Contact us with your information and let us give you an initial assessment so you know where you stand.

If you are reading this now and have just realised that you have forgotten to tell INZ about a previous charge, do not worry – contact us immediately so that we can assist you with this matter.