By far the most stressful thing about moving to a foreign country is getting the Visa. Since Pete is a NZ citizen, I am able to apply for a partner resident visa which will allow me to work and doesn’t expire. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know for this visa…
What do you need to send
- They say that a copy of your passport is fine for the initial review and then you can send in the real one, but it just seemed easier to me to send in the real one from the get-go.
- Original Birth Certificate
- Visa Application
- This application is pretty straightforward, but can take some time to complete.
- Proof of good health
- You will need to see a New Zealand approved doctor for a chest x-ray and general medical exam. Living on the West Coast of the U.S. my options were Seattle, WA or Berkeley, CA. I ended up taking a day off work and driving up for my medical. This was time-consuming and one of the most expensive parts of the trip. However, one upside of applying for a partner resident visa is you only need to have a limited medical exam, which costs less because you don’t need to have as many blood tests run.
- Two Passport Size Photos
- This will need to be based on NZ passport size photos. New Zealand requires that the photo is taken on a background that is not white and they are very specific on how you should pose for the photo. I’ve included a guide below under “Useful Resources.”
- FBI Background Check Letter
- This needs to be sent in within 6 months of getting the background check to be valid. If you are an American citizen, you can get an accelerated background check and get your results within 24-48 hours. This is called “My FBI Report” and cost me $79.00 USD.
- Partner’s FBI Background Check Letter
- Since Pete has been in the U.S. for almost 6 years, he also had to get this done. Because he is not an American citizen he had to mail his in and the process took 2.5 months.
- Partnership Support Form
- A link to the form is included under “Useful Resources.” This form does need to be notarized so make sure to leave time for that before submitting your application.
- Proof Of Relationship
- They are pretty general about this, asking that you prove you are in a committed, long-term relationship and have been living together for over 1 year. I ended up printing out our past lease agreements, Venmo and bank transactions, proof of the joint bank account we created for bringing the dog over, a printed out Facebook friendship history, and letters from both of our moms vouching for our relationship. I had this bound at a local FedEx.
- Send original or certified documents. My case manager requested I resend our lease agreements as I had originally only included standard copies.
- She also requested physical mail showing we actually lived in the apartment, ideally save a few pieces addressed to both of you. I found that wedding invitations were super handy for this.
- The one other thing I learned was if you are using bank transactions (ex. chase quickpay transaction history to show rent payments) make sure you have documents proving ownership for EACH account. If you do all of these things you will save yourself a boatload of money trying to rush documents to New Zealand!
How much does it cost?
- Visa application, including the immigration levy – $1,423.75 USD
- FBI background check- $79.
- Passport photos – $12.99
- Medical Exam – $450
- Printing out and binding my proof of relationship booklet – $30
- Mailing the application paperwork from California to Auckland – $140
All together my cost came to $2135.74
Where do you send it?
Immigration New Zealand
PO Box 76895
How long does it take to process?
At the moment, it takes up to 4 months to process the visa. I sent mine in this June, so I’ll update this post once my passport has made it back to me.
Update: I got my passport back within a month of sending it to Auckland. They sent it back while they were still reviewing my application.
Please make sure to comment if you have any experiences or tips you’d like to share and if you are going through this process, good luck!
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