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Bring your family to New Zealand on a temporary or permanent basis. Partners, dependent children and parents can join you in New Zealand

Objectives of the Family Categories are to strengthen families and communities, and contribute to New Zealand’s economic transformation and social development. Helping a family member, whether it is your spouse, fiancé, child, parent or grandparent, to come to New Zealand may seem straightforward, but there are many nuances in each type of family-based visas. Please read our website carefully, and if you have any questions, please contact us for more information on family-based immigration.

Partnership Visas

Within the immediate relative or family sponsored visas, some of the most popular ones are the visas for spouses and partners. The visas allow your loved ones to come to New Zealand and settle here for the duration of your stay.

Visas available for the partners are:

  • Visitor Visa
  • Work Visa
  • Resident Visa

Which one fits your family better depends on the requirements and whether you can fulfill them. Generally, to apply for a temporary visa (Visitor or Work), your sponsoring partner should hold a student visa (studying a postgraduate course), work visa (some terms and conditions apply), a resident visa, or hold a New Zealand citizenship. To sponsor a resident visa, your partner can only be a resident or a citizen themselves.

All partnership visas have specific requirements for recognition of the union. Your partnership should be genuine and had been entered into on a long term and exclusive basis, and you also should be living together at one location. The cohabitation requirement is different for temporary and resident visas. There is on minimum timeframe you have to meet when applying for a temporary entry visa, but to be successful in your residence application, you have to be living together for over a year.

Dependent child visas

Your dependent children can apply to join you in New Zealand. INZ only consider children who are single to be dependent, but other rules apply too, depending on whether you are applying for:

  • a temporary visa, like a visitor or student visa (dependent children aren’t eligible for work visas)
  • a resident visa.

Resident visas

If your child is aged… INZ will consider your child is dependent if they…
17 or under
  • are single
18 – 20
  • are single
  • don’t have any children of their own
21 – 24
  • are single
  • don’t have any children of their own
  • rely on an adult for financial support


If your children don’t meet the criteria for dependent children, they may still be able to join you in New Zealand if each child applies for a visa in his or her own right.

Temporary visas

If your child is aged… INZ will consider your child is dependent if they…
17 or younger
18 or 19
  • are single
  • don’t have any children of their own
  • rely on you and/or your partner for financial support


Children aged 20 and over aren’t eligible to be included in their parents’ visitor visa applications or are able to apply for a visitor or student visa based on their relationship to their parents. But they still may be able to join you in New Zealand if each child applies for a visa in his or her own right.

Parent Visas

The Parent Category is being temporarily closed to new applications. Immigration New Zealand will not make selections from the Parent Category Pool until further notice.

The Government previously set the total number of places for the Capped Family categories (the Parent Category, and the now-closed Sibling and Adult Child Categories) across the 2014/15 and 2015/16 years at 11,000 visa approvals. This number is being reduced to a total of 4,000 visa approvals across the 2016/17 and 2017/18 years.

Why has the Parent Category been temporarily closed?

INZ makes selections and invites applications in sufficient numbers to fill the cap set by the Government. As the cap has been reduced, there are already sufficient numbers of people who have applied or been invited to apply. With a cap of 2,000 visas that can be granted per year, it will take until after the end of the 2017/18 financial year to clear all the applications already in the system.

What are the options?

At this stage, parents may come to New Zealand on temporary Visitor Visas, such as a normal visa for tourists or a Parent/Grandparent visa which is granted for 3 years allowing visits of 6 months from each date of arrival.


Disclaimer: information on our website is presented for general guidance only and may not reflect the latest changes in immigration law (though we always aim to update it as soon as practically possible). Please refer to Immigration New Zealand website for official immigration instructions.