Criminal Convictions and Character Waiver for New Zealand residency

Queen City Law immigration lawyer Rita Worner QCL-MEDIA-final_4804-ritahas prepared more information on when criminal convictions can effect an application for residency in New Zealand. To read more about Rita click here.

If you have a criminal conviction or negative immigration history but want to get residency in New Zealand, you can request a character waiver during the application process.

In brief, everyone entering New Zealand must be of be of good character and not pose a potential security risk.

So when is a Character Waiver required?

Applicants will not normally be granted a residence visa if they have been:

  • convicted at any time of any offence against the immigration, citizenship or passport laws of any country
  • convicted at any time of any offence involving prohibited drugs
  • convicted at any time of any offence involving dishonesty
  • convicted at any time of any offence of a sexual nature
  • convicted at any time of any offence for which they were sentenced to a term of imprisonment
  • convicted at any time of any offence involving violence
  • convicted at any time during the last five years, of an offence involving dangerous driving, driving having consumed excessive alcohol (including drunk driving and driving with a blood or breath alcohol content in excess of a specified limit) or driving having consumed drugs
  • in the course of applying for a New Zealand visa has made any statement or provided any information, evidence or submission that was false, misleading or forged, or withheld material information
  • in support of any application by another person for a New Zealand visa, has made any statement or provided any information, evidence or submission that was false, misleading or forged.

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Applicants with convictions that have resulted in lengthy prison sentences or who have been deported from any country may fall under Sections 15 or 16 of the Immigration Act 2009. This means they are prohibited from entering New Zealand, unless granted a Special Direction.

As the list above shows, it is extremely important to be upfront and honest with Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and to take care while completing visa application forms. Even a small error can cause major problems later on if INZ determine you intentionally made a false declaration or withheld information.

The character requirements apply to temporary visas as well as residency, although the standards differ slightly.

At Queen City Law we can help you present your request for a Character Waiver or Special Direction in the best light. A strongly presented application can mean the difference between success and failure.

To download or view this document as a pdf click here. To visit our immigration law library for more documents on immigration and New Zealand click here.

For more information on immigrating to New Zealand and excellent representation of your case do not hesitate to contact us.