Character Requirements To Move To New Zealand


Have you been convicted of any crimes in the past?


Individuals who apply for a New Zealand visa must exhibit 'good character' and should not present a threat to the security of the country. All applicants who are 17 years old or above and are included in residence applications or those who are applying for a temporary visa for a duration of 2 years or more will undergo character checks.

How are character checks done?

In order to perform character checks, we may require you to obtain a police certificate from your country of citizenship as well as any other countries where you have resided for a certain period of time (depending on the type of visa you are applying for). Obtaining these certificates may take several weeks to several months and may involve a fee, which could potentially delay your visa application. The specific requirements for obtaining these certificates can vary between countries, but we will provide you with clear instructions and recommendations to ensure that your application process is carried out smoothly and correctly.

Police certificates


Is it necessary for you to obtain police clearances from overseas?


Applicants for a New Zealand visa are required to demonstrate good character by having no criminal convictions or pending charges in any country. Police clearance certificates from overseas may be required for most visa categories, whether temporary or permanent.

Determining the Need for Police Clearance Certificates

Your personal adviser at Derrick Jones Immigration can help determine if you need police clearance certificates based on your citizenship, the duration of your stay in another country, and the type of visa you are applying for.

Importance of Timing and Working with an Adviser

Timing is crucial as delays in obtaining police clearance certificates may jeopardise meeting visa application deadlines. Working with a licensed immigration adviser can help you plan ahead and mitigate any potential delays.

Obtaining Police Certificates through INZ Tool

The Immigration New Zealand website offers a tool explaining how to obtain police clearance certificates for most countries.

Handling Prior Convictions on Police Certificates

Prior convictions on your police certificate may prompt additional documentation or even hinder your ability to apply for certain types of visas. Working with an adviser can help you overcome any difficulties and take the necessary steps.

Requesting Character Waivers or Special Requests to the Minister

If you do not meet the character requirements defined in New Zealand immigration policy, your personal adviser can request a character waiver or special request to the Minister, depending on your situation.

Assistance from Derrick Jones Immigration

If you are facing difficulties related to character issues, Derrick Jones Immigration may be able to help. Contact us today for assistance.

Individuals who are not deemed to have good character

If you have certain convictions, committed certain offences, or taken certain actions that violate immigration laws (such as breaching visa conditions, being deported, or being excluded) in any country, you may not be eligible to apply for a New Zealand visa. Additionally, if the Minister suspects that you are likely to commit certain offences in New Zealand or pose a threat to security or public order, you may also be ineligible for a visa or entry permission.

Character waivers and special directions

In certain cases, if the character issue is not too serious, a character waiver may be required. However, in more severe situations, a special request to the Minister may be necessary, and this will be granted at their discretion.‍

Character waivers

Character waivers are submissions that your adviser prepares with supporting evidence and surrounding circumstances to explain any character issues.The decision to grant a waiver is at the case officer's discretion.
A character waiver may be necessary if you have:

  • Omitted or provided misleading information in a previous New Zealand visa application
  • Been convicted of immigration and citizenship offences in any country
  • Any conviction involving physical or sexual violence, illegal drugs or dishonesty
  • Ever been imprisoned
  • Been convicted of dangerous driving or driving under the influence within the last five years
  • Publicly made a racist statement or belonged to a racist group

Special Directions

If you have serious character issues, you may not be eligible for a New Zealand visa unless granted by a Special Direction. This is a Ministerial decision to grant you a visa as a special case, despite the seriousness of the character issue. You may not be able to apply for a visa if:

  • You have been imprisoned for at least 5 years;
  • You have been in prison for 12 months or more within the last 10 years;
  • You have been removed, excluded, or deported from any country.
  • However, if you are facing such a difficult situation due to character issues, our team may be able to assist you. Contact us today for more information.