What is a Genuine Relationship in the Eyes of Immigration New Zealand?

Visas for Partners and Children

A genuine relationship is defined by Immigration New Zealand as having been entered into on a long term and exclusive basis, and likely to endure. 

Partnership is defined by Immigration New Zealand as two people of any gender (over the age of 18 (or 16 with parental consent) living together in a genuine and stable relationship. This could be in the form of a marriage, civil union or de facto relationship.​

But what does that mean for you, and how can you prove it? 

I’m sure you would like a bit more information and guidance than that. We are here to help. Malcolm Pacific Immigration has worked with people from all walks of life and most parts of the globe, to get New Zealand Partnership visas approved. 

We have an abundance of experience and knowledge to share. We know what people get declined for, what evidence is preferred and what is going to count in the eyes of Immigration New Zealand. Give us a call on 0800 800 612 to see how we can help with your specific visa situation, and advocate for you if Immigration New Zealand raises an issue or asks for more. 

For more information on Partnership Visas and what is required please see our ‘Comprehensive Common Sense Guide to New Zealand Partnership Visas’.

Shouldn’t my visa be approved if my relationship is real? 

While your feelings may be very real, and you may have every intention to continue the relationship with your partner in New Zealand, you’re not proving it to yourself. Your audience is an Immigration Officer who will be looking for solid evidence. 

We have defined REAL a little differently to help you out and expand on what Immigration New Zealand sees as real. We created this memorable anagram to keep you focused on the main points to prove throughout the application process. 






What we mean by this is that both partners share responsibilities. The main type of evidence Immigration New Zealand will be looking for is financial interdependence. You share financial responsibilities like rent, bills, car payments, childcare payments etc. But as well as that you are expected to share responsibilities like household tasks and looking after the kids.

It is however harder to prove your shared responsibilities in the home on paper. A photo of you doing the dishes one time is not going to hold as much weight as documents showing you both pay some of the bills personally, or better yet from a shared account that both of your salaries go into. A shared bank account is always a wise move for showing a genuine and stable relationship, it shows trust and long term commitment, whereas separate money and responsibilities mean it's easier to separate from the relationship at any point. 

Evidence of shared responsibilities can include:

  • Bank statements showing a shared bank account which both salaries go into 
  • Utility bills (internet, power) sent to the same address in both/each of your names
  • A joint rental agreement or home loan
  • Joint debt (credit cards or hire purchase in both your names)
  • Mail sent to you both/each of you at the same address at the same time 
  • Birth certificates of your children 
  • Owning a pet together, with shared responsibilities for care and vet bills etc


Your relationship must be built to last. A new relationship is going to be harder to prove than one that has been ongoing for years. However, even those that have been together 20 years can run into issues with visas if they don’t have the right evidence. If you are applying for partnership-based residency you will need to prove you have been living together for at least 12 months. You can still get a temporary visitor or work visas based on your partnership if it is genuine, but you have not been together for 12 months. You can then apply for residency once you have sufficient time and evidence of the relationship to do so.

The team at Malcolm Pacific Immigration can help you through each step from visitor to work to residency. We can assess your situation and tell you which visa you are most likely to be approved for and how to proceed to get the outcome you want. We can also help you pre-prepare for residency while working on your work visa application, so it’s easier and faster when the time comes to upgrade. You should be gathering evidence for your next steps right from the start. You may not need as much for temporary visas,  but being thorough from the start will make the whole process a lot less stressful and more likely to succeed.

To read more on what to look for in an immigration adviser see our Auckland and Wellington guides to find the best adviser for your needs. 

Evidence that shows your Relationship is Enduring can Include:

  • Joint debt (credit cards or a home loan that you are both obliged to pay)
  • A marriage certificate (although this is not a requirement it shows long term intent)
  • Future Plans (Holidays booked. A regular savings account you both add to for holidays, a house or large bills coming up like school fees or council rates)
  • Recognition of the relationship from family, friends, employers & your community
  • Cards, letters, emails or social media conversations to each other over a period of time
  • Evidence that you spend leisure time together (photos of activities together over time)


Your relationship must be well known and accepted by your family, friends and community.  It must be a public relationship that is clear to see, regularly talked about and proven. If your employer or your grandmother doesn’t know you are in a serious relationship that can raise red flags with an immigration officer. If it’s real, and you love someone, you should be shouting it from the rooftops so to speak.

It also needs to be known by government agencies. If you are on a single parents benefit through WINZ while applying for a partnership visa that raises red flags too, and can even result in a declined application. You should be declaring you are in a partnership on any forms or documents that ask it of you. 

We will help you check through these things before you apply. We can go through all of the places an ImmigrationOfficer might look to see if you are telling the truth on your application, and about the length of time of the relationship. 

Evidence that Shows Your Relationship is Accepted: 

  • Photos of you and your partner with you families and friends (and at work functions)
  • Christmas cards and emails to (and from) both of you as a couple
  • Invitations to work functions, weddings or events addressed to both of you
  • Facebook/Social Media posts showing when the partnership publicly started, and how it has continued over time with others recognising and responding to it


Your application must read well and make sense, without any inconsistencies or contradictions. We can help you ensure it’s all streamline and accurate, and check for any inconsistencies, incorrect dates or aspects that are likely to be red flagged by immigration. 

What you say has to be proven and easy to follow. It may help to have a printed timeline (adding photos to it is nice too), to show the progression of the relationship. Then you can order your evidence in line with the times written there, to prove each stage or event mentioned. Things such as the start, trips together, the dates from different rental properties and major events like your marriage or the birth of your child. Keep your evidence clear.

Additional Tips for Getting Your Partnership Visa Approved

On top of proving your relationship is REAL using the anagram, it has to actually be real in the usual sense of the word. Immigration New Zealand has multiple ways of finding out if you are lying about any aspect declared, or if your relationship is purely for immigration purposes. If they see any red flags they can interview each of you, check with other government agencies and even come to your house to see if you are living a shared lifestyle.

Our experienced Licensed Immigration Advisers at Malcolm Pacific Immigration can help you avoid the lengthy and difficult process of ‘issues’ being raised by your Immigration Officer. 

If you find yourself already in that situation part way through the process, we can still advocate on your behalf after your application has been submitted. We will work to resolve any issues, and help you provide any additional evidence needed to back up your claims. 

When we speak to your Immigration Officer on your behalf, we do so armed with the background knowledge of similar cases and how they were remedied and approved. We know what to say, and what they want from you. Your chances of a quick, problem free approval are significantly increased when you choose to use the services of a reputable Licensed Immigration Adviser. 

You can get in touch with us through our Contact Form, by calling 0800 800 612 or by popping in to one of our offices in Auckland or Wellington during business hours.

Get started with a free assessment today

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