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Thread: Work visa - Family stream confusion; in desperate need of some advice/help

  1. #1
    biokiwi is offline Junior Member
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    Jan 2010

    Question Work visa - Family stream confusion; in desperate need of some advice/help

    Im desperately in need of some advice/help.

    My situation:

    I am a Kiwi and she is an American.

    My partner and I have been in a relationship for 4 years, and in August of 2008, we finally met in person after over 2 years of communicating online. She was able to come to NZ on a visitor's visa for 9 months, sponsored by my mother (proof of funds/accomodation waived) (from Aug 08-May09), and when her visa expired, I returned with her to the USA for 3 months under the visa waiver program. I returned to NZ in August of 09 by myself (on account of her not being able to return to NZ after staying a maximum of 9 months on her VV). Since then, we have been living apart in separate countries, but we are still very much in love and communicate daily, spending all of our free time talking to one another, but do not have much "documentation" of this over the span of 5 months, as we did not know we would have to provide reasons for our separation/proof of communication.

    We have recieved a bit of misinformation from NZIS that has caused us a great deal of stress and confusion. . . We were told initially that we would be unable to apply for an extension on her visa while in NZ, as it would be viewed as "going back" on the initial intent of solely coming over to visit on the VV, and were lead to believe that it would be denied outright. We were also lead to believe that she would have to provide a medical exam/certificate in order to apply for the one-year work visa under the family stream, so she began going through that process and completed a good portion of the medical exam, but then developed bronchitis and was waiting for it to heal to have chest x-rays done. This caused a huge delay in our plans and is the main reason I had to leave the US without my partner.

    We are now trying to go about applying for a work visa based on our partnership, so that she may come back here to live permanently. I have been reading on here that it's required for us to be living together at the time our application is lodged, but we currently lack the funds to be able to do such a thing, and if we could articulate this to the NZIS, would this give us a good chance at getting a work permit for her? Other evidence we are able to provide are phone call details (we only have a handful of these since we have been apart(Aug09-Present), as we normally talk over voice connection on the internet because it is free), text/email messages, large sums of photos from our time together, and joint bank account from when she was in NZ. We also have a large sum of letters/documents addressed to us, showing that we lived at the same address during the timespan of the 9 months that she was in New Zealand, some of which have both of our names written on them.

    We are unsure of what to do from here; is our only option for one of us to fly to the other's country and lodge the application from there? Should we attempt to explain our situation to NZ immigration and hope they are understanding? We want to do everything possible to ensure that our application will be accepted, as this is the most important thing in both of our lives. We are both very confused and distraught over the situation and we would greatly appreciate any insight/advice that can be given to us in order to point us in the right direction.

    We thank you for reading this, sorry for the length, but we wanted to make sure to provide all the relevant information we could.

    EDIT: Assuming we could aquire the funds, would our best option be to have her fly to NZ using the visa waiver program and then lodge the visa application once she is here? How would this look to NZ immigration? Would we still be required to explain the five months we spent apart/would the time we spent apart effect the visa outcome even if we are living together at the time we send in the application? What would she tell immigration officers upon arriving to NZ when they question her intentions for being in NZ?
    Last edited by biokiwi; 02-01-2010 at 04:58 AM.

  2. #2
    MotherBear's Avatar
    MotherBear is offline The missing link
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    Jan 2005
    currently Ras al Khaimah, UAE, ex Wales, UK
    Blog Entries


    Hi Biokiwi, welcome to MTNZ. That is quite a story you have told and I'm not sure I quite follow it all.

    Quote Originally Posted by biokiwi View Post
    I have been reading on here that it's required for us to be living together at the time our application is lodged, but we currently lack the funds to be able to do such a thing, and if we could articulate this to the NZIS, would this give us a good chance at getting a work permit for her?
    I'm not sure what you mean by lacking the funds 'to do such a thing'. Do you mean you can't afford to live together, she can't afford to come back to NZ or you can't afford the application fees to apply?

    I assume that this is what your partner has already gone through and this is what you now want to do?

    I'm just trying to scrape your information together and sort out the logistics of the situation. Your partner could return to NZ around February 2010 time on a visit visa. You don't need to have been living together for 12 months to be able to apply for the work visa mentioned in the link above. She should be able to get a work permit if she returned to NZ and you applied to sponsor her once she was with you. After that you could progress onto a residency application. It seems straight forward but I'm obviously missing something if you feel you still can't move forward on this. The fact that you haven't lived together for some months shouldn't be a problem if you have a valid reason for the separation. Perhaps you could tell me where I've gone astray and why you can't follow this route.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

  3. #3
    kiaora!! is offline Senior Member
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    Dec 2007


    Hi Biokiwi~

    First of all, you do have most your information right!
    Just a few clear ups...

    1. It does not matter that you have not been together for the past 5months, for the work permit they just want you to be together ideally when you apply and then definitely for the period of the work permit.
    2. Re being together at the time of application. Many things happen in peoples lives and immigration knows that, if you have a reason for not being together, in your situation being her visitor visa for NZ ran out and then your visa for the states ran out, simple as that. If you are going to apply while you are separated then you should state that, plus some proof that you have already been together for about 1 year (note that this is not usually something you have to provide for your first work permit! but if you do then at least they know that you have met before etc which is quite important for them! )
    So all up, yes you can apply while you are separated, make yourself a good case without being too full on and hope for the best!
    3. Yes she can come over on a visitor visa and then apply for the work permit right away. The intensions thingy is right, if she came in and they asked her at the airport she d just have to say that she s here to visit her boyfriend and then planning to go back to the states!

    So, if she can come over on a visitor visa then yes, that would be your ideal situation simply because there is not much that can possibly go wrong.
    Don't worry too much! the partnership route is really quite simple, they give you a fair chance to comply with all their rules and regulations as they greatly support family/partnership!

    And don't worry about the 5months you have been apart, they really do not matter at all !!!

    Good luck!
    WHV submitted 20/11/07 approved 15/01/08
    arrived in Auckland 23/03/08
    Work permit under partnership submitted 21/05/08 APPROVED 29/05/08
    Work permit extension under partnership submitted 06/03/09 APPROVED 23/03/09 Expires 23/03/10
    Residence permit under partnership submitted 06/03/09
    Immigration Officer assigned 30/04/09
    Residence Permit APPROVED 29/06/09
    Our Baby Boy is due 01/04/10 "whoopwhoop"

  4. #4
    biokiwi is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010


    Thank you both for your quick replies. As to the lack of funds thing, we dont really have alot of money, so spending money on a two way plane ticket and supporting her while she is here on the visitors visa might prove to be more than we can afford. Having said that we are working on it and it just may mean it may take more time for her to be able to come back if we decide to have her come over on the visitors visa.

    The first visa she came over on originally was purely a visitors visa, and had no connection to our relationship as I was lead to believe that we would be unable to get it based on our partnership as we hadnt met in person at the time.

    If she did come over on a visitors visa, would it look bad if she told them she was here visiting her boyfriend, would they likely get suspicious that she wouldnt want to leave the country or something like that?

    Again thank you for your help and words of encouragement

    EDIT: Sorry for all of the questions, but I would just like to make sure I understand you correctly: Are you saying that our best route would be for her to apply for another 9-month visitor's visa, and move foward with the work visa once she is here? Or would she simply fly over on the 90-day visa waiver program? And would it look bad coming on a visitors visa then applying for the working visa when she arrives?

    Also would it be fine if my mother was to sponsor her stay in new zealand again for the visitors visa/visa waiver?
    Last edited by biokiwi; 02-01-2010 at 05:23 PM.

  5. #5
    Jennish's Avatar
    Jennish is offline Junior Member
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    Jan 2010
    Tauranga, New Zealand

    Default Very similar situation

    Reading this literally freaked me out as it is a nearly indentical my situation. I'm an American and my now-husband is a Kiwi, we've been together almost 5 years, married since Nov 2009. We met online playing MMORPGs together and spent all of our time on webcam and voice chat using Skype and MSN. He came to the states to see me first back in Aug-Sept 2008, then I came here on a Visitor's Visa from Dec 08-Jan 09.

    To get back to New Zealand I applied for a Working Holiday Visa. The requirements were really easy to fulfill and there's no fee for applying. I was able to stay here for 12 months on that visa, but now we're struggling to keep me here. From what I've been told, it takes a full year for them to grant us a Sponsorship permit for residency, so we're doing all we can to extend my stay as my Working Holiday Visa expires on March 21st of 2010.

    I'm applying for the Family Stream work permit but I'm not sure I'll be accepted as I have no qualifications or relevant job history to include. I do, however, have a job offer in NZ and we CAN afford to pay the fees as his parents are comfortable enough to give us a loan. I documented our trips, kept ticket stubs and mail but I can only prove we've been together since at least 2008; as I don't know how well they'll receive skype chat logs and World of Warcraft billing cycles as proof of communication.

    I wish you the best of luck. Kinda freaky how alike our situations are, huh? Any advice from anyone would be great.

    United States of America Working Holiday Scheme
    Temporary work requirements ? family stream
    Fiancee, Partner and Marriage Visa Services -
    Last edited by Jennish; 22-01-2010 at 09:07 AM. Reason: date

  6. #6
    KC3448 is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009


    I have a reply to both!

    I'm an American in a relationship with a Kiwi. We met in 2007 when I was studying here and after doing the long distance thing for almost 2 years I was finally able to move here upon completion of my studies. I was on a Working Holiday and in Nov I applied for a work visa based on our partnership. I was approved within 11 days! If you include all that you can to prove how you sustained your relationship even while apart you should be fine. I included screen shots of my Skype history showing how many times a day we spoke. I also included a screen shot of the calling card website I used while in the states showing the transactions. Of course I also included photos, tickets of events we went to, invitations to parties with both our names on it, and we live together now so we had bills in both our names. Also, I included screen shots of our facebook accounts showing we're in a relationship. If you can have a few friends or family write letters of suppport of your relationship it should help you prove "public recognition of your relationship". It sounds like you should be fine to be approved. I'd also suggest writing a cover letter to sell yourself even more -- saying anythign about how you're also contributing to NZ society and you've started to make a life for yourself could give you a leg up (maybe not but I wrote one and was approved very quickly). My visa was then granted for 2 years which gives me plenty of time to think about and apply for residency.

    Is your partner between the ages of 18 and 30? If she is then I would strongly suggest she apply for a Working Holiday Visa. Direct her to New Zealand Now Home. This is an Immigration New Zealand website created to help potential migrants.
    There she can learn more about a Working Holiday, how to apply and if she registers she'll receive free information about finding a job etc. Then, after about 6 months of being here she can start thinking about applying for a Work visa/permit based on your partnership. just make sure she leaves enough time to send out her fingerprints to the FBI for "Character" clearance and enough time to do her immigration medicals. Applying for the working holiday visa costs nothing as Jennish said. However she'll be required to show proof of NZ$4200. To be honest, I've had to go through customs twice while on a Working Holiday and have yet to be asked for proof of funds. Sorry if she's not under 30 because then this would have been a waste of time reading. But it's a great option.

  7. #7
    Jennish's Avatar
    Jennish is offline Junior Member
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    Jan 2010
    Tauranga, New Zealand

    Default Ty

    Thanks so much for the tips! I've already started collecting letters from friends and relatives and will also take screenshots of skype and facebook like you suggested. I've got photos from our trips to eachother's countries as well as wedding photos and photos of us with eachother's families. The cover letter is a great idea as well. I might make a table of contents too, so they can sort through all this communications proof by year. I'm HOPING that the easier I make this for them, the easier they'll make it on me. Maybe I'll even add a photo of our 10 month old kittens and caption it "Please don't take our mommy away! :( <3" haha.

    Any idea how long it takes for a police certificate from the FBI to be sent to NZ? I'm hoping it doesn't hold me up but I'm waiting to hear back from the lawyers we've begun working with re: xrays and police reports. Seems kinda silly to ask for a rap sheet from the FBI for them to send back an report saying "uh, what rap sheet?".. but I suppose you can't blame them for being thorough. Wish they could bypass me and ask for it themselves though. x_x


    As far as the Working Holiday Visa goes; I wasn't asked to provide proof of funds either. Nor was I asked for a medical report, police certificates or proof of travel insurance. I had a whole packet of information for them as well! All they asked for was my passport, the customs paper I filled out on the airplane and the address where I was staying. I was all ready for a big investigation and it probably took all of 5 minutes. :)

    Thanks so much for the help, we really appreciate it!
    Last edited by Jennish; 23-01-2010 at 10:44 PM. Reason: typo

  8. #8
    KC3448 is offline Junior Member
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    Oct 2009


    No problem Jennish! And just so you know I made a table of contents as well, I went in with the same logic. The easier I made it for them the easier they'd make it for me. All the extra things you listed sound perfect and I honestly don't think youll have any problems. Also just make sure your partner includes a letter of support (i remember the application check list and application of support from the partner didnt mention needing a letter of support from my partner. it wasnt until i got a checklist from the auckland branch i was submitting my app to that explicitly said you need a letter form your partner). Just keep in mind they provide large brown envelopes to put everythign in to drop off. I had put everything in order in a small filing folder and had to take it all out and put in the brown envelope. Just so you dont waste your time being extra organised like me haha

    I sent out my finger prints from Auckland to the FBI on October 12. I didn't receive my clearance letter until November 21! So I'd say it takes about 4-6 weeks to receive them back. You can call the FBI and they can tell you the progress of your record request which was kind of good to keep track. But if you make sure everything else is ready to go, you can just submit everything the day you get your fingerprints. But i do agree, it's somewhat ridiculous to go through all the trouble just to get a sheet of paper saying "no record was found".

    I'm not sure if youve gotten your medicals done yet but if youre in the auckland area I'd suggest using CityMed. It's on albert street downtown. It's a clean, modern looking facility and they specialise in immigration medicals. So they have everything on site. in about 45 minutes I had my blood work, xrays and exam done. three days later i picked up my results. It cost $365 (somewhere around that i think) but that's about how much youll pay anywhere from what ive heard.

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