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What does, "subject to entry permission" mean?


A lot of our clients ask us what does “subject to grant of entry permission” stated on the visa sticker mean. This particular line is of great significance and should be properly understood. A person can be turned around at the airport and sent back if entry permission is denied at the airport. Let’s first examine the definitions of each of the above.

What is the effect of a visa?

As per the immigration Act 2009, the effect of a visa is defined as A visa (other than a transit visa) granted outside New Zealand indicates that the holder of the visa has permission to travel to New Zealand in accordance with the conditions of the visa (if any); and apply for entry permission; and at the time the visa is granted, there is no reason to believe that the holder will be refused entry permission if the holder’s travel is consistent with the conditions of the visa relating to travel; and if the holder is granted entry permission, the holder has permission to stay in New Zealand in accordance with the conditions of the visa (if any).

Entry permission

Under section 107 of the immigration act 2007, the effect of entry permission is defined as a person granted entry permission to New Zealand may enter New Zealand. The grant of entry permission has no effect unless the person also holds a visa. Entry permission is granted by the Minister or an immigration officer.

The effect of a refusal to grant a person entry permission to New Zealand is that any visa the person holds is cancelled; and if the person has arrived in New Zealand, the person is liable for turnaround.

How does it apply ? Let us examine some real life scenarios, the names have been changed

  1. Jasmine arrives in New Zealand from India, she is on a visitor visa, and the purpose of her visit is to help her elder sister who has just had a baby. She is taken for an interview by an immigration officer who asks her “will you be receiving any payments from your sister, for looking after her young child”. Jasmine who is 20, thinks that the immigration officer is referring to money given to her as a gift, “shagun” which is a cultural practice in India. She replies in affirmative, she is confused by the question and cannot distinguish, as a result her visa is cancelled and she is turned around at the airport.

  2. Matt who is from South Africa arrived in New Zealand. South Africa is a visa waiver country so he did not require a visa prioir to boarding his flight. In Auckland, he would have been living with his Son and daughter in law. Matt who was retired had recently become a grandfather and understandably very keen to see his granddaughter. Matt had a firearm charge and was sentenced. As the offence was of minor nature, the judge had determined the time spent in court as time served. Technically Matt had served a sentence, while he had not been formally incarcerated. Unfortunately for him, since there was no physical incarceration involved, he answered in the negative when asked to declare imprisonment, by Immigration NZ. Matt genuinely believed what he had declared, though he was technically incorrect. Matt was denied entry permission on character grounds and turned around.

  3. Jasbir is a tandoori chef who works with an Indian restaurant, he is on a work visa. He is stopped at the airport while arriving in New Zealand as he has been away to India for 4 months. Immigration officers determine that he has been away from his work for an extended period of time, which is in violation of his work visa conditions, and based on that he is not given entry permission and turned around. Jasbir had genuine reason to be away and had applied for leave, his employer had granted him leave to deal with a family realted matter in India.

What are the things I should watch out for ?

The key thing that one should watch out for is "visa conditions" and if there is any doubt, please seek advise before you board.


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