This article will discuss making a UK spouse visa application from New Zealand in 2024.
Among other things, this article will discuss the following:
UK spouse visa from New Zealand Overview
#1 New Zealand nationals and those who hold any type of long-term residency in New Zealand (“applicants”) are eligible to apply for a UK spouse visa to enter and stay in the UK with their UK partner (“sponsors”) for 33 months initially.
“Will we be making the application from outside or inside the UK?”
If the applicant does not have any UK visas, an application must be made from outside the UK (either in their country of nationality or country where they hold any type of long-term residence).
If the applicant has a UK visa which has been granted for more than six months (which is not a visitor visa), an application can normally be made from inside the UK.
If an applicant is currently in the UK as a visitor, they will be expected to leave the UK and then apply outside the UK from their country of nationality or residence.
Those in the UK on a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partnership visa are an exception here, as these 6-month visas permit an application to be made from inside the UK.
#2 The applicant will eventually be able to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British Citizenship via the UK spouse visa route.
Usually, applicants who have lived with a partner in the UK for five years on spouse visas can obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
When Indefinite Leave to Remain is granted, applicants will have lawful immigration status in their own right. This means they will no longer rely on their relationship with their partner (the sponsor) to live in the UK.
#3 The applicant will be able to work in the UK on a UK spouse visa.
As discussed in our UK spouse visa processing times in 2024 article (which we update monthly), the current UK spouse visa from New Zealand processing time is now 2-3 months (on average).
Once you’ve clicked the above link, the next step is to click the link “apply online from outside the UK”, as shown in the screenshot below:
A UK spouse visa application from New Zealand will cost 3,855 New Zealand dollars in 2024. This figure is based on the conversion rate at the time of writing (1 GBP/2.09 New Zealand Dollars) and the Home Office application fee of £1,846.
UK spouse visa applicants from New Zealand also must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The IHS fee amounts to 6,489 New Zealand Dollars. This figure is based on the above conversion rate and the IHS fee of £3,105. The IHS is a mandatory fee which permits the applicant access to the National Health Service (NHS).
Please note that, as we discuss in our UK spouse visa fees in 2024 article, the amount applicants are required to pay will depend on the exchange rate being used by the Home Office at the time. The conversion rate used is not very efficient, and as a result, applicants sometimes have to pay up to 5% more or less than the exchange rates listed on popular currency exchange rate platforms.
Another cost you may want to consider is paying for assistance from a qualified immigration lawyer.
As an OISC-regulated immigration law firm specialising in UK partner visas, we help our clients via two main services.
Firstly, our most comprehensive service, full legal representation, involves us helping you with your application from start to finish. This service is provided by our advisors, Ed Lowe, Wendy Foy & Matthew French, all of whom have worked in the Home Office (the UK government department which will process your visa application).
Secondly, we offer a unique spouse visa DIY Application Pack Service for partners who want to prepare the application themselves but would like additional written help to ensure the requirements are met.
There are 4 VFS visa centres in New Zealand.
It is these visa centres which applicants have to attend after submitting the online application as part of the UK spouse visa process.
|Auckland -Standard applications
|VFS Services New Zealand Ltd
Immigration New Zealand, Level 5, MIT Building 25 Davies Avenue, Manukau, Auckland
|Business hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 – 14:00.
|VFS Services New Zealand Ltd
Level 7, Big Albert Building, 87-89 Albert Street, Auckland CBD, 1010
|Business hours: Monday to Friday, 09:00 – 15:00.
Passport collection: Monday to Friday, 09:00 – 15:00
|VFS Services New Zealand Ltd
Immigration New Zealand, Grand Central Building, Level 2, 161 Cashel Street, Christchurch
|Business hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 13:00 – 15:00.
|VFS Services New Zealand Ltd
Immigration New Zealand, 7 Heriot Drive, Porirua, Wellington
|Business hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10:00 – 14:00.
Please note that the above is subject to change at any time. Applicants are advised to check the current availability of the centres on the VFS website.
How do we book the visa centre appointment in New Zealand?
Firstly, applicants should complete the UK spouse visa online application form in 2024.
Once the online application form has been submitted (when the Home Office fees are paid), applicants are then redirected to the VFS website.
On the VFS website, applicants can book an appointment at one of the locations above and pay for additional, optional services (such as the priority service).
The following are the various methods applicants from New Zealand will generally be able to choose from:
#1 Upload the documentation via the self-upload portal on the VFS website.
Supporting documents can normally be self-uploaded on a home computer.
This can be done after the following:
- The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) has been paid; and
- The spouse visa UK fee in 2024 has been paid.
It is this document submission procedure that we generally recommend.
#2 Post the documents to a specified address in the UK.
Applicants can generally post their supporting documents to be scanned at the VFS scanning hub in Birmingham. An additional fee is charged for this service.
The documents may also be taken in person to the scanning hub and two other VFS offices in London and Edinburgh.
More information about these document-submitting procedures, if available, will be provided to you as you progress through the process.
#3 You can submit the documents at the visa centre in New Zealand using the assisted scanning service.
VFS staff will be available at the visa centre to scan the documents. Please note that there is an additional charge for this service.
The UK spouse visa requirements from New Zealand in 2024 require the following to be satisfied:
- The relationship requirements
- The English language requirements
- The accommodation requirements
- The financial requirements
- The suitability requirements
It should first be noted that applicants submitting applications from New Zealand do not generally have to take a Tuberculosis (TB) test.
#1 The applicant and sponsor must have a genuine and subsisting relationship.
Home Office caseworkers will decide whether the relationship is genuine and subsisting by considering your application as a whole.
In a minority of instances, the applicant’s immigration history can also be relevant here.
Caseworkers are instructed to take cultural considerations into account.
#2 The applicant must be married, in a civil partnership or have lived with someone for two years who is British, has settled status, has refugee leave or humanitarian protection or has settled status under the EU settlement scheme.
Alternatively, the partner may be a person from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein with pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (& started living in the UK before 1 January 2021);
Applicants applying as a married or civil partner must show that they entered into a marriage or civil partnership that is lawfully recognised in the country where the marriage or civil partnership took place.
Applicants applying as unmarried partners (who will have cohabited for two years before submitting their application) can find more detailed information about the evidence requirements in our unmarried partner visa UK 2024 guidance.
Applicants who have plans to enter into a marriage or civil partnership in the UK can consider applying for a UK fiancé visa or a proposed civil partnership visa.
#3 Any previous legally recognised relationships of either the sponsor or applicant must have broken down permanently (unless the relationship falls within a small number of exceptions).
#4 The applicant and sponsor must have met in person.
#5 The applicant and sponsor must be 18 or older on the date the online application is submitted.
#6 The applicant and sponsor must intend to live together permanently in the UK.
Applicants from New Zealand who hold New Zealand nationality automatically meet the English language requirement.
Those applying who don’t hold New Zealand nationality can satisfy the English language requirement in several ways. These are:
#1 By being 65 or over when the online application is submitted.
Such applicants are technically exempt from the English language requirement.
#2 By having a ‘majority English-speaking nationality’.
The majority English speaking nationalities are Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, The British Overseas Territories, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA.
#3 Applicants with a disability (a mental or physical condition) which prevents them from satisfying the English language requirement (or applicants with exceptional circumstances) could be exempt from the English language requirement.
This is discussed in more depth in our List of Home Office Approved Secure English language tests (SELT) in 2024 article.
#4 A Bachelor’s, Master’s, or PhD degree taught in English can also be used to satisfy the English language requirement.
Applicants with a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree certificate from an educational institution in the UK can normally use their qualification to meet the English language requirement.
Applicants who have an English-taught Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree certificate from an educational institution in New Zealand or any other country outside the UK will need to submit their certificate alongside documentation from ECCTIS (previously UK NARIC) stating the qualification meets or exceeds the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s degree in the UK.
For qualifications awarded outside the UK by an institution not in a majority English-speaking country (excluding Canada), ECCTIS will also have to provide documentation to confirm that the qualification was taught or researched in English at or above A1 level.
ECCTIS charges an additional fee for their services.
With the above being said, partners often sit an English language test instead as they find it more convenient and straightforward.
#5 By sitting an English language test.
Applicants should know the following if they plan to take an English test.
i) Partner visa applicants must book an English test at least A1 level of the CEFR.
Our article “A1 English test for UK spouse visas in 2024” discusses the best A1 tests to take (& a few you may wish to avoid).
As discussed in our UK spouse visa English test requirements 2024 article, some applicants should consider taking a higher level test (either A2 or B1 level).
This is because these tests can usually be relied on in later applications to extend leave to remain in the UK, for Indefinite Leave to Remain and for British citizenship.
Additionally, the English test must be on the list of Home Office-approved Secure English language tests in 2024.
For your convenience, the list of Home Office-approved test centres in New Zealand is provided here from this link.
English Tests for UK Spouse Visas in New Zealand
|Name of test centre
|Skills for English UKVI
|Ace Training – Auckland
|Level 3, 46 Brown Street, Ponsonby, Auckland 1021
|LanguageCert International ESOL SELT
|Auckland Institute Of Studies, 3Rd Floor, 28A Linwood Avenue, Mount Albert, Auckland, 1025
|CD IELTS for UKVI
IELTS for UKVI
|Level 2, 10-14 Lorne Street, Auckland
|PTE Academic UKVI
|Level 2, 50 Queen Street, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
Applicants will have to show that adequate accommodation is available for themselves, their partner and any other family members residing at the same address when the online application is submitted.
Please be aware – as we discuss in part 3 of our 3-part free video series – the accommodation cannot be prospective.
Therefore, applicants must show suitable accommodation is already in place when submitting the supporting documentation.
Please also be aware the accommodation cannot be classed as ‘overcrowded’.
The financial requirements are extensive here.
Since the financial requirement is the most common cause for UK spouse visa refusals, we discuss this in detail in our UK spouse visa financial requirements in 2024 article.
Only a minority of spouse visa applicants from New Zealand are likely to be affected by the suitability requirement, but it is essential to be aware of the details since the suitability requirements must be met.
An application will be refused under the suitability requirement if any of the following apply:
An application will normally be refused under the suitability requirement if any of the following apply:
Please also note that an application may be refused if the applicant has failed to pay litigation costs awarded to the Home Office or if there are outstanding NHS charges amounting to at least £500.
FREE UK Spouse Visa Video Series
CLICK HERE to watch our free video series.
In this free video series, we discuss the following:
- Dependent children requirements
- The English language requirements
- The unmarried partner visa requirements
- The financial requirements
- Document translations
- The adequate accommodation requirements
- The online application form
- Other partner visa requirements
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we book the visa centre appointment in New Zealand or submit the documents before we apply?
No. The first step will be to submit the online application by paying the Home Office fees. It will only be until after this is done that you will be able to book the visa centre appointment and submit the supporting documentation.
Will we get a refund of the Home Office fees and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) if we withdraw the application?
If the applicant has not attended the visa centre appointment, you will get a refund of the Home Office fees and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). If, however, the applicant has attended the visa centre appointment and then you subsequently withdraw the application, you will only get a refund of the Immigration Health Surcharge.
What is the date that we must show that the requirements are met?
The relevant date is normally the date that the online application is submitted – not the date that the applicant attends the visa centre.
What is the biggest cause of refusals for UK spouse visa applications from New Zealand?
The biggest cause of refusals is the financial requirement. The reason for this is that you are required to provide not only evidence showing that you satisfy the minimum income threshold (or adequate maintenance test for those who receive a permitted benefit), but the documents that you submit must each comply with the document-specific requirements.
Are you applying for a UK spouse visa from New Zealand?
As an OISC-regulated immigration law firm with 750+ 5-star reviews, we have helped hundreds of UK spouse visa applicants from New Zealand obtain their UK spouse visas.
Not only do we specialise in UK spouse and partner visas, but most of our team have worked in the Home Office (the UK government department which will process your visa).
If you would like us to assist you from start to finish, you may be interested in our full legal representation service, which is primarily offered by Ed Lowe, Wendy Foy and Matthew French (all of whom worked in the Home Office).
Among other things, we will:
- Help you gather the required documentation
- Write a legal cover letter stating exactly how the Immigration Rules are met
- Complete and submit the application
- Book the visa centre appointment
- Submit the supporting documentation
- Deal with Home Office correspondence
If, on the other hand, you are prepared to spend a rather substantial amount of time learning the Immigration Rules whilst taking responsibility for the application, you may be interested in our DIY Application Pack service. This service involves us providing you with tailored written guidance (including a detailed document checklist and letter templates), which will help you ensure that your application satisfies the Immigration Rules.